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Re: Message from Pat Schroeder re: Librarians


When last I checked, for many disciplines, students can learn about
everything there is to learn by going to libraries and reading all the
same books that are read by students enrolled in colleges and
universities.  Yet, few students opt for that approach because their
efforts, no matter how successful, are likely not to be recognized by

The technology is there to share information -- indeed, much of what is
published has already been shared with the relevant others.  Yet, does
this mean we can do without publishers?  Publishing is being done to gain
the official recognition of the people in the fields in which these
materials are being published, to place them in the public record, and to
share the information with all of the people not included in the networks
of the authors.

The question is not should we have publishers, the question is how much
are their labors worth.  The let's do away with publishers dogma makes no
more sense than extremist Schroeder dogma.

Tony Ferguson
Columbia University


David Goodman wrote:

> The rights of the authors, most certainly. The rights of the publishers,
> also, provided they do not harm the rights of the authors or the public.
> It is an open question whether in scientific journal publishing the
> publishers have not used their role at the expense of the rights of the
> authors and the public.
> Now that there are ways of distributing research that do not depend upon
> conventional publishing, this changes the  position a good deal.
> I agree with Pat that a cooperative approach is to our mutual benefit, if
> everyone involved remains aware of the implications of technology change
> and does not insist upon maintaining obsolete solutions. This applies to
> the academic community as well, not just the publishers and librarians.
> Copyright exists for the benefit of the authors and the general public,
> not for the benefit of libraries, or publishers, which are only agents of
> distribution. Their existence depends upon being useful and economically
> efficient agents: there is no truly fundamental necessity for any of them.
> Personally, I think -- but cannot prove -- that the transfer of
> information will go much better with them than without them.
> Dr. David Goodman,
> Princeton University Library
> dgoodman@princeton.edu
> 609-258-3235