E-Journals: Presentation & Access Issues

E-Journals: Presentation & Access Issues ...

The Palatable Electronic Journal:
Serving Out Access to End-Users

(or: Now That You Have Them, What Do You Do With Them ?)

Presented by:
Birdie MacLennan, Coordinator, Serials & Cataloging
Bailey/Howe Library, University of Vermont
e-mail: bmaclenn@uvm.edu
at the
ACRL-New England Chapter, Serials Interest Group - May 14, 1998
Gutman Library, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

Introduction: A Cultural Perspective on Information Technology and the "Electronic Age" / A Stroll Through the Literature

E-Journals in the broader context of information technology and the electronic age ; comparative cultural perspectives from the past twenty years. Social and psychological views of computers, information technology and civilization. A stroll through the literature (late 1970's to the present)

Book Titles:

Late 70's/Early 80's Late 80's/Early 90's Present
  • World of the Computer
  • Cohabiting with Computers
  • Digital Delirium
  • Computer Power and Human Reason
  • Connection, Community, Content
  • Silicon Snake Oil
  • Human Interaction with Computers
  • Race to the Intelligent State
  • Lost in Cyberspace
  • Living with the Computer
  • Toward an Information Society
  • High Noon on the Electronic Frontier
  • Man and the Computer
  • Between Communication and Information
  • Slaves of the Machine
  • Is the Computer a Tool?
  • Technology 2001
  • Data Smog: Surviving the Info. Glut
  • World that Could Be
  • Metaphysics of Virtual Reality
  • Future Does Not Compute
  • Social Issues in Computing
  • Digital Mantras
  • Moths to the Flame
  • Trapped in the Net
  • etc. ...
  • Falling Through the Net
  • Overview of E-Journal Offerings

    So ... What is an E-Journal ??
    Several categories of electronic serial literature can be identified (adapted from the Introduction to the Vanderbilt report on Access to Electronic Serials and Databases):
    1. Individual e-journal titles -- either free or fee-based.
    2. Internet-accessible sites (aggregates of individual journal titles), either made available on a subscription basis by individual publishers (such as Project Muse and SpringerLink) or made freely available by other entities (often by other libraries, such as the CIC E-Journals Collection).
    3. CD-ROMs that aggregate titles, often with common subject matter, such as some of the UMI/ProQuest CD-ROM databases (citation indexes, with links to full-text).
    4. Web-based databases of journal literature, such as Ovid Technologies' full text aggregation of STM journals or UMI's ProQuest Direct, which link references to full-text article databases. Individual journal titles are not easily identifiable as discrete entities with separate URLs. Some matter from the print edition, such as book reviews and letters to the editor, may be omitted. Title content fluctuates, as titles are added and dropped.
    5. Online databases -- Web-based or not (such as LEXIS/NEXIS). Title content fluctuates.
    Characterized by an abundance of experimentation and few standards, the current market includes commercial and non-commercial offerings from a wide-range of publishers, aggregators, individuals.

    Some Examples:

    (these sources are adapted from an article by George Machovec, "Electronic Journal Market Overview--1997", Serials Review 23, no. 2 (Summer 1997):31-44, or click on the sources that are listed below for additional details):

    Academic Press IDEAL Blackwell Science Chapman & Hall Reed Elsevier
    Highwire Press Project Muse SIAM - Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics Springer-Verlag

    Third Party Aggregators:
    Backwell's Electronic Journal Navigator DIALOG@CARL EBSCO FAXON
    Information Access Company Institute for Scientific Information The JSTOR Project LEXIS/NEXIS
    OCLC Electronic Collections Online Ovid Technologies, Inc. SwetsNet University Microfilms International

    Noncommercial Websites Offering Access to E-Journals: (free, though some restrictions may apply at some sites)
    ARL Directory of Electronic Journals and Newsletters Australian Journals (National Library of Australia The CIC E-Journals Collection E-Journal (WWW Virtual Library e-journal listing)
    The Electronic Journal and Learned Societies Project (Queen's University, Belfast, in association with ALPSP - the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers) E-Zine List (compiled by John Labovitz) Library of Congress Lists of Newspapers and Periodicals NewJour: Electronic Journals and Newsletters
    University of Pennsylvania Library Electronic Journal Listings Serials in Cyberspace - includes websites with e-journal collections. Les journaux sur le web, a Swiss source for newpapers and magazines from around the world. University at Buffalo Libraries Electronic Journals

    Policy Issues

  • At the national and local levels (licensing issues as they pertain to access and restrictions to access; presentation and training/orientation issues for users)
  • Web sites and online catalogs -- maintaining two sources or one? (connection between cataloging & systems; both areas may be responsible for providing various access points to e-journals). Some examples:
  • Other Access Issues:
    • Infrastructure for support: Hardware and Software (Z39.50 compatability for seamless navigation; CD-ROM drives; Web browser; Adobe Acrobat software for (.pdf - Portable Data Format - files); quality printers (color resolution) and/or mechanisms for downloading data.
    • Perpetuity of Archives for electronic journals

    Thoughts on the Future

    More questions than answers:
  • Serials literature will evolve with an increasing trend toward seamless navigation of citation sources to full-text materials. The definition of "serials" will evolve and change. Are there metadata solutions, such as the Dublin Core evolving standard, for bringing electronic resources under some kind of bibliographic control?
  • Librarians will have a stronger role to play as educators and information mediators in instructing users to discern quality information sources from less than quality information sources. Are there standards that can be applied to teach users such skills? (or: How should one know if Bobbi-Sue's web page, retrieved from the Excite search engine, is just as viable a source as an article retrieved from a citation database (such as Expanded Academic Index) with a reference that points to the full-text source?)
  • As "effective users of electronic resources, we must learn to surf the networks with ease and, on occasion, to swim in information, without drowning in data" -- and all the while, protecting the rights of our constituents in their access to information as the basis to knowledge, research and learning.

    Selective Bibliography

    Useful Discussion Lists