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RE: Libraries and archiving

There are a number of important and valid points in David Goodman's
November 19th posting.  This is a new set of commitments for publishers,
ones they take on with some trepidation because most publishers have not
previously taken the archival responsibility.  Those of us doing this do
so because we believe:

1.  We have a responsibility to our customers -- authors, readers and

2.  So long as the files are in active use, it is more cost-effective for
the entire community for the publisher to maintain all of the links and

As has been noted on this list, Elsevier Science has recently announced
our commitment to perpetual archiving and our assurance that we will not
permit the database to be dismantled or otherwise taken down without
depositing copies in library-approved facilities.  We are already
investigating some of the options for deposit internationally.  
Fortunately, we have also offered an option for five years for any library
wanting to maintain their own archives to take the files and mount them
locally, so there can be no fear as to our insisting that we have the only
copy of the information.

My point is that this is new for everyone.  We are all -- librarians and
publishers -- trying, I think, to do the "right" thing.  I do not believe,
as has been said in some circles, that publishers are trying to usurp the
library's role.  Most publishers I know want and intend to continue to
work with and through libraries and want to support them, not compete with
them. One of the things we need to work out is how and when the hand-off
of the archive takes place.  Scott Bennett of Yale has noted in this
context that "publishers are in the business of making money and libraries
are in the business of losing money."  And, he says, what we need to
ensure is that if and when publishers no longer have an incentive to
maintain archives of electronic material, there is a plan for the smooth
transfer of those archives to libraries.  (Scott, I hope I have quoted or
paraphrased you correctly.)  I completely agree and think that is where
the focus of the discussion should be.

Karen Hunter
Senior Vice President
Elsevier Science

-----Original Message-----
From:	David Goodman [mailto:dgoodman@Princeton.EDU]
Sent:	Friday, November 19, 1999 6:16 PM
To:	liblicense-l@lists.yale.edu
Subject:	Re: Libraries and archiving 

The analogy between print and electronic is not complete.

In the case of print publishing, the two functions of initial distribution
and of permanent archiving are separate, and done differently. The
publisher produces a specific number of physical objects, and send them to
the customers. (He may retain a supply to send in the future, or not.) But
once they are distributed, that role is finished. (I am not now including
the functions involved in the maintainance of copyright.) The operations
of organizing, preserving, storing, and servicing the items are completely
unlike in the type of staffing and capital equipment needed. The publisher
does not maintain stacks, or provide for public intellectual and physical

For electronic distribution, the functions of current distribution and
permanent access are the identical in all basic technical aspects. A
server must be maintained; access connections must be maintained; backup
must be reliably achieved; a public access interface must be developed and
maintained. The same capital equipment is needed for permanent archival
access as for current access; the same type of professional and technical
staffing is needed.

>From all technical standpoints it is therefore rational for the publishing
sector to undertake provision of permanent archival access. The question
is organizational: Does a publisher have sufficient commitment to the
critical value of long term perpetual reliable access?

Libraries have this commitment--we are trained to expect it and provide
it, and we are funded on that basis by organizations that expect and
intend to have very long term existence. Universities and similar
organizations manage their affairs so as to make as certain as human
beings can that they will continue their scholarly functions until the end
of civilization. I do not think publishers--or scientific societies for
that matter--usually think in these terms, and archiving by definition
cannot rely on organizations with shorter range goals.

David Goodman 
Biology Librarian, and
Co-Chair, Electronic Journals Task Force
Princeton University Library 
phone: 609-258-3235            fax: 609-258-2627