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Re: ILL & Licenses

Todd Kelley writes:

> For the future, (sometime beyond next year, but I don't quite know
> when), ILL as we know it in a (virtually) all-electronic "journals"
> world doesn't necessarily make a lot of sense, but in this period of
> transition, the print ILL from the e-journal seems to be a very
> reasonable accommodation by all sides.

Let me paraphrase Hal Varian again. ILL provides the product with
substantially less (100% less) revenue to the vendor than that
provided by a subscription.

If a product is offered for different prices to different buyers,
it is common to offer different levels of service or quality at the
different prices. And if the service or quality at the lower price is
sufficiently close to what is offered at the higher price, then very
few people will pay the higher price.

Now ILL of most any sort has less value than instantaneous access over
the net (e.g., through links in other electronic publications). But
how much less value depends on the length of time needed to obtain the

And marketing in the electronic environment is full of unanswered
questions. How much degradation of service is needed to keep
subscription revenue at desired (or needed) levels? No one knows. It
depends, in part, on who is making the decisions (a local variable)
and on pattens of influence on the decision-making process (also

If direct access over the net becomes a luxury, we may all be the

So let me redirect the question: What does it take to motivate
libraries to subscribe for direct net access of journals? For any
journals with important articles, this is precisely the form of access
that will benefit faculty the most. 

And how influential will the net-using faculty members be in making
this decision?

Mark Steinberger        |
Dept. of Math. & Stat   | Nonlinear similarity begins in dimension six.
SUNY at Albany          |
Albany, NY 12222        |     |
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