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I humbly disagree with the suggestion that the publishers are aiming to do
away with libraries. Yes, it is more profitable for publishers to offer
digitized publications and charge per use. They have financial control over
usage, whereas they lose that control when the library purchases a print
text for a one-time fee.

However, the article mentions the concern about access to electronic
information by low-income people. The primary role of libraries is to
provide access. I believe publishers continue to recognize this role and
they know they need us.

Fee-based digital libraries such as netLibrary are here to stay. Regardless
of the mission of the institution--public library vs. academic and/or
hospital library--subsidizing electronic access costs is an issue that must
be on planning agendas. The role of collection development librarians will
[or already does] include assessing electronic textbooks for a digital
"collection". They will be asking, Should they invest $100 in one printed
text book that gets 20-30 uses a year, or subscribe to the same textbook
online and subsidize the access to it? Should they charge for use of their
printers, whereas they now charge for use of their photocopiers? Will they
shift their budget from book processing to online subscriptions?

The larger concern should be, not the survival of libraries, rather their
relationship with publishers. This is not a new concern: we are constantly
discussing the rising costs of publications. However, in an age of
priceline.com where people can name the price they are willing to pay for
any commodity, we should be negotiating with the publishers from a stronger
position.

Other concerns are the longevity, or archiving, of the digital format, which
has been discussed on this list;  the selections for the digital library, as
mentioned in the article; and the assurance that the peer review process
will not be circumvented.

Jonquil D. Feldman, MLS
Assistant to the Library Director
Briscoe Library, U Texas Health Sci Ctr at San Antonio, MSC 7940
7703  Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX  78229-3900
(210) 567-2400   FAX: (210) 567-2490
mailto:[log in to unmask]       web: http://www.library.uthscsa.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: Kleinmuntz, Dalia [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2000 10:31 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Reply to: interesting NY Times article - implications


We all know it is possible - but how much does it cost? ( and I am not
interested in the question, just the issue of doing away with the library
which is what publishers might be aiming for all along -?)

Dalia Kleinmuntz


-----Original Message-----
From: Silver, Janis I [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Thursday, June 15, 2000 8:02 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: interesting NY Times article


Today's NY Times has an interesting story on companies which digitize books
to create electronic libraries so researchers won't have to
go-to-the-library to do their research.
http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/06/circuits/articles/15book.html
<http://www.nytimes.com/library/tech/00/06/circuits/articles/15book.html>

Jan Silver, MA, AHIP
Health Sciences Library
Southern NH Medical Center
8 Prospect St/ PO Box 2014
Nashua  NH 03061-2014
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