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Re: Electronic availability

David, I hesitate to respond but I can't let your comment go:

Columbia's selectors can differentiate between good and bad but I am
commenting on the enormity of the problem.  We have 30,000 plus journals.  
Some of those journals are better than other -- but still not totally
great.  Some of those journals are less than great, but we have them for a
multiplicity of reasons -- and some articles in these journals are
excellent.  Many articles simply perform the function of helping scholars
get tenure so that they can do more research on another day.  Elsevier and
all publishers all have journals in both categories.

At the same time, with many thousands of researchers and tens of thousands
of students, we can have only an incomplete picture of their needs.  Our
scholars need information -- their job is to sift through it to find that
which helps their research.  Librarians cannot play the part of an
informational deity who, knowing all, can pick journals which will hold
only the good articles.  We do the best we can -- but let's not take
ourselves too seriously.  Researchers like big libraries because they get
to sift through more information. Actually, most would like to own it all
themselves but they are happy to come to us when their own collections,
and those of their friends, fail.  Tony


David Goodman wrote:

> I am certainly prepared to say and demonstrate  that (at least in my
> academic field and related ones) some Elsevier journals are good and some
> are poor, and also that  some non-Elsevier journals are good and others
> are poor. I know as well that for the research needs of my University
> some journals, both from Elsevier and other publishers, are good but
> not relevant.
> The general and continuing excellence of Columbia's collections makes it
> hard to believe that Tony actually cannot tell good from bad, or relevant
> from irrelevant.
> David Goodman, Princeton University Biology Library
> dgoodman@princeton.edu            609-258-3235
> ________________________________________________________
> On Fri, 1 Oct 1999, Tony Ferguson wrote:
> > 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
> >
> > ______________________