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RE: Interlibrary loan and electronic journals

Hello. This thought-experiment thread is fascinating!

Paul Gherman writes, 

>Now many may say that buying articles by the drink will never happen, 
>but I think the day may come then buying articles by the drink may 
>cost less than buying them as we have been, when you add in the 
      infrastucture costs of our current libraries.

Hmmm. I think to some extent, articles-by-the-drink is already the case
(though not exactly as envisioned here). Commercial or fee-based
document delivery is obviously a big and growing part of the scene; and
ILL reporting is a significant portion of the total in CCC's
Transactional Reporting Service.  Isn't this a form of customized
content aggregation?  Assuming that the copyright and licensing
considerations can be worked out (and it seems to me that they will,
since it is in the interest of all parties- creators, users, aggregators
and providers- that a working process is constructed)  these trends will
most likely continue into the digital environment, wouldn't you think? 

My own opinion is that the licensing model (the core topic in this
forum) is a crucially important one, since my guess is that the
technologies of 'faster, better, cheaper' will keep pushing us all
onwards faster than laws or regulations, or cooperative practice models,
may be able to keep up. Recall that 'Inter-Library-Loan' as a model has
been stretched, in practice over time,  to include 'non-returnable'
copies (stretched, that is, from the original concept of lending a
mongraph, which was certainly expected to be returned). Can it be
stretched again to include non-returnable digital copies? 

Myself, I don't think so. Not en masse or without major exceptions for
more hightly-valued content. In a future environment where digital
'lending' becomes common practice, I would expect to see self-degrading
software objects embedded in the digital copies; or locked and embedded
passwords (already available in PDF). That would be a market-based
response, in an environment where folks will still be asking "What are
you doing with my stuff?" and "When do I get paid?"

Of course, people get 'paid' in various ways (for instance,
'publish-or-perish', or being cited or simply famous or thought of as
wise, these imply forms of remuneration, correct?). And a more digital
environment could better support micropayments, in increments under a
cent- creators, etc., could 'make it up on the volume'. Or count
citations. But I'm getting off topic, so enough already. ;-)

Dave Davis. 
CCC Program Coordinator       Voice: (508) 750-4283 x-2217

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