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Re: Perpetual Access

First, let me thank David for his excellent comments below. Attempts to
divide the world into "true" e-pubs vs. "false" e-pubs will not help
anyone. I do not consider any of these approaches to be "mature" at this
point in time, and therefore we have too much to learn from each other to
squander it through internal conflict. Let's face it, competition between
formats is good, and it is made better when all formats reach their full

Second, although I would like to continue this discussion, perhaps this
list is not the appropriate place for the direction it has taken? Could we
consider moving the discussion to DIGLIB?

Greg MacGowan
University of Cincinnati College of Law Library

[MOD NOTE:  If/when we think the topic has strayed too far from the
purpose of this list, we'll try to deflect it to more appropriate forums.
Meanwhile ... it seems just within the bounds of liblicense-l though
perhaps cross-postings to other lists would be appropriate?  For my part,
I see the notion of "perpetual" access (or even any kind of access that's
longer than about a year or three) to be a key issue not only for licenses
but for the entire information society. The licensing communities --
producers, users -- are trying to do right by the access idea and most of
us are codifying it in the language of our licenses.  However, so far this
laanguage feels like a set of good intentions not realistically backed up
by the ability to provide the actual access.]


On 9/5, David Carlson wrote:
>Peter Boyce, Pete Goldie and others have expressed their opinions recently
>on the distinction between "true" electronic journals and the facsimile
>representation of pages, such as that provided by the Adobe Acrobat PDF
>format. There seems to be an assumption in these remarks that the
>"facsimile representations" (such as PDF) are at best inferior and at
>worst a nefarious mis-representation by the vendor inhibiting true
>e-journal progress. I do not agree.
>This perspective comes from such characterizations as "true electronic
>journals" (versus the false ones, I assume) and that other representations
>are "SIMPLY electronic delivery of page images" (my emphasis). Mr. Goldie
>warns of "short-term expeditious e-pub solutions." I agree with the
>distinctions that have been made between these different type of
>representations, but I think PDF type resources provide -- and will
>continue to provide -- a very useful base of communication and format.
>I do not think that to be considered a "true" e-journal a publication must
>have "links to referenced and citations and other data," integration of
>multimedia and dynamic interaction with the reader. The PDF type of
>representation is a bridging kind of strategy between the very strong
>advantages of the print world and format with the very strong advantages
>of the electronic world and format. The two representations are not
>exclusive and to call one a "true" e-journal and the other "short-term
>expeditious e-pub solutions offered by publishers" is short-sighted and
>electronically provincial, in my opinion.
>Whether or not PDF representation moves from a bridging strategy to a
>*transitional* one is a more interesting discussion. I tend to think it
>will not because I think there will always be useful print publications
>where the electronic format will be secondary (or even unavailable). For
>the applications and many others (such as the archival representation of
>older print resources) I think there will always be a useful role and
>value for a PDF type of representation.
>An even more interesting notion is whether or not we will ever reach the
>point where the electronic format is so central and ubiquitous that we
>find it necessary to develop PDF in reverse -- one that will produce a
>"true"  print publication from an electronic one where it is required for
>some reason. Such a format would be more than just a simple printing of
>the electronic from a browser but would supplement and include print type
>formatting and page breaks as well as the printing of HTML links for later
>reference and use online, etc.
>Final thought: the issue reminds of the wails and warnings that Nicholas
>Negroponte used to express (and, I assume still does) about the
>destructive rise of the fax machine and its pernicious assault on the
>future progress of the digitization of all things. The value and the goal
>is not some strict adherence to digital processes; the value and goal is
>effective and efficient communication between people and organizations.
>Fax machines do this remarkably well in many situations; the PDF format
>does this remarkably well in many situations. That "true" digitization has
>advantages over a fax image (or a PDF image) may be true. But its value
>must be considered in its effectiveness and its application; its value is
>NOT its inate electronicness...
>(While I may disagree with them, my thanks to Mr. Boyce and Mr. Goldie for
>their comments. These are interesting issues to think about and discuss.)
>David Carlson
>Director of Libraries
>Bridgewater State College  Bridgewater, MA 02325
>V: 508/697-1256  Fax: 508/697-1349

Greg S. MacGowan
Internet Publications Division
University of Cincinnati College of Law Library
Cincinnati, OH  45221-0142

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