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Re: Interlibrary loan and electronic journals

But I think Wicks's point was:  ILL is a way of libraries helping each
other.  But when I help someone it costs me money -- in our case around
$35. The theory is I will spend money helping others and others will spend
money helping me.  Wick's point is since in the future we can all get
access why not just have everyone keep their own money and buy what they
need instead of asking others to spend processing money on our behalf? 

Anthony W. Ferguson
Associate University Librarian
Columbia University Libraries
Tel. 212-854-2270
Fax. 212-222-0331

Paul Gherman wrote:

> Scott Wicks asks a not so stupid question which I have been thinking 
> about for some time. 
> > I have never worked directly with any interlibrary loan people or performed
> > such activities.  What I am about to ask may very well display my
> > incomplete understanding of the issues of interlibrary loan.  Nonetheless,
> > the questions below do come to my mind when reviewing license agreements
> > and have been plaguing me for several months.  Perhaps I am not alone with
> > these questions.
> > 
> > The stupid question:
> > Should we still care about interlibrary loan for electronic products?
> Assume that the day comes when many of our journals come to us in
> electronic format. Interlibrary loan for the lending library will
> become much more efficient and less costly since it will simple be
> click, print and mail operation if the other library is not
> connected to the Internet. If they are connected, then is will
> simply be a click and send operation. I am sure the publishers have
> thought of this and fear the ILL could become too easy and cost
> effective for their own good. This is why they insist on not letting
> libraries send electronic Ill's. 
> But this assumes the same ownership system that the lending library 
> owns the subscription. What about the day when a library can 
> subscribe to a finite number of articles from any journal a publisher 
> publishes without regard to the journal title, (I actually think the 
> journal as we know it is at the end of its useful life.) I am hopeful 
> of the day when my library can subscribe to say 25,000 articles from 
> Elsevier for X dollars regardless of which journal they come from. In 
> this scenario, each article my library sends out on ILL will count 
> toward one of the 25,000 articles the library has purchased. Sending 
> that article may well cost less than the current ILL cost of pulling 
> the journal for the shelf, photocopying it, and mailing it. Should 
> Elsevier care if I give it away or use it? Their profit remains the 
> same. Right. But will my mind-set change? Will I still give away an 
> article ment for my students and faculty. How many articles will I be 
> willing to "lend" in this environment? I think Scott's question is 
> beginning to question the mind-set of lending libraries in a new age 
> where ownership may no longer apply.  
> 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. 
> Paul M. Gherman
> University Librarian
> 611B General Library
> 419 21st Avenue South
> Vanderbilt University
> Nashville, TN 37240
> Office: (615) 322-7120
> Fax: (615) 343-8279
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