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Re: A question of licences and Alumni members

Well, for an alumnus of a prestigious eastern college, it would be
absolutely wonderful if I could get access to all the things that my
college library subscribes to. I could find answers to all sorts of
questions which have absolutely nothing to do with the way I make my
living. Information for the sake of general knowledge is something we
should try to make generally available. That would be a plus.

On the other hand, and speaking as an academic publisher, it would be a
problem if everyone could eventually get access to our journals without
the libraries having to subscribe any more. The we could not afford to
make new information available, nor could we continue to make the old
material available without some means of support.

So, it is a problem. Yet, I think that the more information we can make
available, on a whole variety of subjects, the better off we, as a
country, will be. The mechanism by which we can make availability happen
will certainly evolve. But, our goal, as members of the academic
information chain, should be to enhance the availability of knowledge
while continuing to get enough income to support the continued
dissemination of knowledge.

No magic answers. And the paper-based structure we currently use will not
suffice for long. But, more access to information, in the long run, will
be better than our current situation where access is restricted to those
who have physical access to an institution's library.

At the last NASIG meeting, the head librarian of Hewlett Packard, Eugenie
Prime, said her goal is to own nothing, and to be able to access
everything. That should be the goal of every educated person. And, the
current mechanisms are not structured to make this possible.

We have our work cut out for us!
Peter B. Boyce    -   Senior Consultant for Electronic Publishing, AAS
email: pboyce@aas.org
Summer address:                                Winter: 4109 Emery Place,
33 York St., Nantucket, MA 02554        Washington, DC 20016
Phone:  508-228-9062                           202-244-2473