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Re: Electronic availability

Our job is to bring people and information together.  We do this by owning
some information, buying some on demand, and by showing people the way to
interlibrary loan for the rest.  E-journal packages that bring people and
information easily and quickly together are not a bad thing.  One would
have to have a lot more faith than I do in the scholarly screening process
to project that some Elsevier journals are poor and other non-Elsevier
journals are especially good.  We have authors whose careers are rooted in
publishing. The same authors publish in Elsevier and non-Elsevier
journals.  Librarian dreams of selecting only the best and presenting it
to their patrons are only dreams.  Journals are packages of hundreds of
articles, some great, some not so great, some will prove to be great only
with time.  We are taking ourselves too seriously.  tony


"Peter B. Boyce" wrote:

> David Goodman's post of Fri, 17 Sep 1999 raises an important point. By
> making things available, you are greatly influencing usage. A pair of our
> astute astronomy librarians, Sarah Stevens-Rayburn at the Space Telescope
> Science Institute and Ellen Bouton at the National Radio Astronomy
> Observatory, have written a paper entitled "If It's Not On the Web, it
> Doesn't Exist at All." (
> http://www.eso.org/gen-fac/libraries/lisa3/stevens-rayburns.html ) This
> points out the tendency, especially among today's younger scientists to
> only go to the Web for their sources.
> Of course, what this means is that if you sign up for, say, the full
> Elsevier set of electronic journals, you will ultimately be directing the
> usage toward the poor quality as well as the better journals -- probably
> to the detriment of other, better journals.  So, the choices which
> libraries make will have a large impact upon the selection of journals
> which get referred to by your end users. Perhaps, it is irresponsible to
> automatically accept such a complete package, even if it seems attractive
> >From the pricing standpoint. So, I urge everyone to consider the negative
> effect of your decisions. Sure, you get extra "free" access, but is that
> the best thing for maintaining the quality of scholarship in your
> institution?
> Another slant on this is to consider what the important references in a
> given field will be twenty years from now. They will be the things we
> actually have saved and can access easily, not the things that, from a
> quality standpoint, we should have saved.
> --Peter Boyce--
> _________________________________________________________
> Peter B. Boyce    -   Senior Consultant for Electronic Publishing, AAS
> email: pboyce@aas.org
> Summer address:  (until 10/25/99)
> 33 York St., Nantucket, MA 02554        Phone:  508-228-9062
> _________________________________________________________