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Re: When is a Journal a Journal (Was Biomed Aggregators)

I think Mary Kay's discussion of what we get when we use an aggregator
that breaks down the sense of the individual journal broaches a
useful question:  Are we in the information business or the journal
collecting business.  I suggest that when the collecting of journals
gets in the way of collecting information, we need to reevaluate our
collecting practices.

To answer Ann's question concerning the capability of browsing by journal
titles in Lexis/Nexis, Dow-Jones, Ebscohost and Periodicals Abstracts,
yes, that capability is available on all these services.  But I'd agree
that the net effect of aggregating articles on fulltext services is to
break down the sense of the individual journal, since layout and some of
the particular features such as letters may be lacking.  

Probably the effect for the publisher of participating in these services
will be to ensure the individual subscription base, since the professional
in the field will need to continue to have access to the whole
publication, while teaching needs at the comprehensive university
probably can be satisfied by online text cum graphics for articles.  The
one subscription dropped by the library may well translate into several
individual ones placed by researchers.  This would certainly match the
pattern of increased sales following digital full text access experienced
by a few hardy publishers such as National Academy Press.  

Anthony W. Ferguson
Associate University Librarian
514 Butler
Columbia University Libraries MC1103
535 West 114th Street
New York, NY 10027
Tel. 212-854-7401  
Fax. 212-854-9099 (new fax number!!!!!!!!!!!)
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