[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: E-journals in the era of print cancellations

Peter says:

> But, don't limit it in the other direction.  The electronic version 
> should contain more than you can put on paper.

I say:

Actually, this is an issue that I think bears some discussion.  I agree
that the electronic version ought to offer "more" than the paper version
does, but more what?  Of the several added features that Peter suggests in
his last message, there are at least two that I think have potential for
increasing the sexiness of an electronic product without increasing its
actual research utility, and I'm concerned about the danger of trends in
that direction.  Machine-readable data tables and links to corrigenda
would probably enhance the online versions of most journals, but color
plates, for example, are probably more useful than B&W in relatively few
fields (though color illustrations are certainly essential in some of
those).  Same with video clips.

It's not that I have anything against the accretion to electronic titles
of cool and sexy features, but I am a little concerned that some of those
accretions may end up costing us scarce money in the the future without
adding significantly to the usefulness of the products.  This doesn't have
to be the case, of course -- new electronic features can be nifty and
useful both.  But in making particular purchasing decisions, I think it's
important to make sure that they are before we get caught up in the
coolness of them.  In other words, if a publisher says "Yes, we've
increased the journal price by 45%, but you now have access to the
electronic version which features video clips," we need to make sure that
those video clips actually add research value to the product.  Our patrons
don't need more of whatever we are offered by publishers;  they need more
help doing their research.

Rick Anderson
Head Acquisitions Librarian
Jackson Library
UNC Greensboro
1000 Spring Garden St.
Greensboro, NC 27402-6175
PH (336) 334-5281
FX (336) 334-5399

"Metaphor is... in complicity with what 
it endangers... to the extent to which 
the de-tour is a re-turn guided by the 
function of resemblance (mimesis or 
homoisis), under the law of the same." 
             -- Jacques Derrida

"Derrida would not be Derrida if he just
left it at that."
              -- James Drake