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Re: E-journals in the era of print cancellations

	I would like to add my concern in this area.  Databases in the new
World Wide Web versions are selling to libraries faster than hamburgers at
McDonalds.  But many of them have such advanced features as having only
one search step to conduct your search.  They may permit printing or
emailing very small numbers of documents at one time.  They may permit the
use of the search operator "or" only twice in one complete search.
Distance education and the ability to "use" these tools at home are taking
precedence in the libraries that subscribe to such products over the
software power to conduct a complex search that will find useful citations
rather than a large group of materials that contain a couple of words
somewhere in the document that say something about the topic being
searched.  The further we get from the quality level of tools like DIALOG
and BRS and other complex search tools in what we provide access to in
libraries, the further we will regress in our ability to provide accurate
relevant information retrieval for researchers at all levels.  
Information science may be one place where a picture is worth far far less
than a thousand words.

David Dillard
Temple University
(215) 204 - 4584

On Mon, 26 Oct 1998, Rick Anderson wrote:

> 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
> rick_anderson@uncg.edu
> http://www.uncg.edu/~r_anders