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Re: Perpetual Access

Martin touches on what should be the direction of discussion on this 
topic. The problem, so far, is that we continue to define the problem 
with reference to a product that is print. Consider the descriptive 
features of a print product:

   - It is static
   - It is subscribed to by the customes, and resides at the customers 
   - The customer is purchasing availability, not necessarily use.
   - Along with the subscription goes Fair Use, First Sale rights, and 
     long established copyright privlidges and requirements.
   - Any further researchpublished on a given area is disconnected from 
     previous research that has been purchased. If the customer wishes to
     get  access to the new material, the customer purchases it, generally
     via subscription or purchase of a book.

Now consider the characteristics of electronic media.

  - It can be static, or dynamic.
  - It is generally licensed, not"sold"
  - It is still mostly based upon availibility, but has a significant, 
    and growing element of economics based upon use.
  - Storage of the material can be joused at the customer site, or at 
    the vendor site.

   - New research can be more easily attached to previous documents than 
     in the print model.

Perhaps what we should be thinking about is not saying that an electronic
document should, or should not fit the print model, but that there are
several new features that can have economic value, and benefit for the
customer. For example, a customer could realize the benefits of access
with storage being supplied by the vendor, access with indication, or
links to continued research. This is in addition to the emerging ability
of electronic "documents" to provide sound, graphics, movement as well as
text to greatly enrich the potential of documents. 

In sum, we need to look past defining this "perpetual access" issues by 
restricting the definition of the documents involved. What could 
materialize is a rich array of licenses that benefit the users, as well 
as return necessary revenues to the producers, distributors, and 
maintainers of these electronic "documents."    

*********Original Message 

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

*********End of Original 
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