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Perpetual Access

At 08:26 AM 8/28/97 -0400, you wrote:
>Consider this - if my library subscribes to the Journal of XYZ for ten
>years, then we decide to cancel this subscription, does the publisher
>require that we return or destroy our ten year accumulation of the
>Journal of XYZ?  Because we are now dealing with bytes instead of pages,
>does that mean libraries relinquish the right to retain data for which
>we have paid a usually significant sum? 

Consider this:

        If you subscribe to 1,000 journals for ten years, accessing them
from central databases maintained by vendors and then you decide to cancel
the subscriptions, how are you going to provide access to these ten years'
worth of journals?  If vendors continue to give you access to the central
remote database(s) for the journal issues you once subscribed to, they
will have to somehow cover the costs of providing such access in
perpetuity.  This involves a pretty complex pricing model.  Even if they
did guarantee such access, some of them are bound to go out of business,
so what's your assurance?  Another possibility is for the vendors to give
you digital copies of the backfiles.  What will you do with them,
particularly if you are a smaller library and don't have substantial
equipment and staff?  Are you prepared to mount them locally, deal with
the variety of formats of records, provide database management and search
tools, and provide access to your constituents in perpetuity? 

Martin Runkle
University of Chicago Library
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