Issues of Electronic Journals


  1. What is an electronic journal (with thanks to Stan Lyle)

    1. Individual publication online

    2. Publisher's collection - individual titles directly accessible, e.g., Project Muse, IDEAL

    3. Aggregator's collection - content tied to indexing information, titles submerged, e.g., InfoTrac, ProQuest

    4. Integrators - links indexing to full text at publishers' sites

    5. Document delivery services - some full text available for network access

  2. Costs

    1. General problem of rising journal costs (SPARC/ Highwire vs. Elsevier/Kluwer/etc.)

      Create Change - (initiative to fight rising journal prices sponsored by ARL, ACRL, and SPARC).

      Rising costs during subscription period (no fixed price).

    2. Costs of adding/accessing e-journal

      1. online version free with print subscription

      2. online extra 5-30% of the cost of print

      3. online only

      4. Note the many "costs" of free e-journals or free access (cataloging, indexing, advertising, web maintenance)

    3. Costs of printing online fulltext articles within the library (ARL SPEC Kit 254).

    4. Required to buy "bundles" (that may include unwanted journals) rather than purchasing specified journals?

    5. Cancel print to save costs?

    6. Elsevier Model (ScienceDirect) removes control - no reductions in total subscription costs allowed.

  3. Journal Features

    1. Full text: plain text

    2. Full text: HTML, SGML

    3. Full text plus images: graphics, multimedia

    4. Full images: JPG, TIFF, PDF

    5. Persistent identifiers, e.g., DOIs

    6. Archiving

    7. Hyperlinks to other E-Journals

    8. Printing/Downloading/E-mail

  4. The Future

    1. What is the future of print journals - cancel? - no longer published? --- Note print journals may not disappear in the near future as e-journal advertising has failed to produce much revenue.

    2. Longevity, stability, and accessibility of electronic journals.

    3. Long term access to archives - what happens if the library must cancel its subscription? - what happens if the vendor disappears? - what happens if the publisher disappears? - if the journal ceases publication? - JSTOR.

    4. Mergers, buyouts --> monopolization.

Implementation Issues

  1. Licensing Issues

    1. Who will be responsible within the library?

    2. Must licenses be cleared with a higher authority on campus?  (Note ISU & U of I vs UNI).

    3. Learning curve for librarian responsible for licenses:

      1. listservs help

      2. websites help

    4. Must often deal with sales people who do not understand legal aspects or software/hardware aspects of the products they sell.

    5. Time consumption!

    6. Many different licenses for many different publishers & aggregators.  

      Solution?: give a third party - vendor - the power to write contracts.

    7. Uniformity/predictability and clarity of license agreement (at this time varies from state to state and from publisher to publisher).

    8. Potentially contentious issues

      1. Which state's laws govern contract?
      2. Number of simultaneous users
      3. Walk-in users
      4. Remote users
      5. Use in ILL
      6. Use in E-reserves

        Why worry about copyright?

        "In the United States, a straightforward copyright case can cost as much as US $250,000 (ATS 3,800,000); a complex one will cost much more"

        (Cox, 2000, Serials Review vol. 26 no. 1)

    9. Ease of compliance

    10. Patron Education (see MIT site - e.g. MIT VERA:Virtual Electronic Resource Access)

    11. Library Staff Education

    12. Role of consortia

    13. Renewal process: changes in conditions and contracts

    14. Ownership of archives if cancelled?

  2. Presentation and Retrieval

    1. Indexing/searching:

      1. Access Vendor Lists

      2. Download and manipulate vendor lists for local use

      3. Create lists of ejournals on Web site for browsing

      4. Create local database with Web search interface

      5. Search External Database

      6. Add ejournals to OPAC -- Cataloging Issues (CONSER Cataloging Manual)

        • If the ejournal titles are represented in the catalog in their print format, should URLs be added to existing records?

        • Or should new records be created or imported into the system?

        • Should entries be made for titles which link to a different bibliographic entity, such as an aggregator's database?

        • How can libraries make it clear what users are connecting to when they follow the links?

        • Should there be extra note fields that describe the scope of the electronic versions of the resources?

        • Should there be links to associated information, such as the entries in a Jake database or explanatory information at a service provider's site?

        • Should the OPAC use one record or seperate records for multiple versions of an item?

    2. Ejournal searchability: Is it possible to search more than one e-journal at a time by author, keyword, title, subject from a single sophisticated search engine?

    3. Patron education - library staff education

    4. Resource integration

      1. Links from catalog to full text (856)
        (some UNISTAR examples: "Africa Today," "Arethusa")

      2. Links from indexes to catalog ("hook to holdings")

      3. Links from indexes to full text (SilverLinker)

      4. Links from full text to full text (CrossRef)

Comments: Jerry V. Caswell or Chris Neuhaus
Rod Library, University of Northern Iowa
1227 W. 27th St., Cedar Falls, IA 50613-3675
Revised: 21 May 2002