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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship Summer 1997

Conference Reports

ACRL STS Publisher/Vendor Relations Discussion Group

Joe Galbraith
Co-Chair, Publisher Vendor Relations Discussion Group

Notes from meeting at ALA Annual, June 28, 1997
"Selection of Full-Text Online Resources: What You Need to Know"

The program, co-sponsored by the RUSA CODES Computer Based Methods Committee, was a panel discussion with Tim Jewell of the Univ. of Washington Libraries in Seattle, WA, Meryll Penson of the Libraries of Columbus State Univ., Columbus, GA and Robert McGeachin of Texas A&M Univ. Libraries in College Station, TX.

Following welcomes and introductions by Betsy Wilson of the RUSA CODES Committee, the overflow crowd heard the three speakers each address the subject from different perspectives.

Tim Jewell discussed the current state of e-journal publishing to date and some of the important issues: the relevance of content, importance of content, coverage, currency and stability, costs and licensing, ownership/archiving, and consortial pricing. He also spoke about technical and "hidden cost" issues such as PC's, technical support, and printing.

Next was Meryll Penson, who discussed the impact on reference and document collections. She offered a simple yet elegant formula:

Function + User + Budget = Reference Collection

When evaluating full text online resources, she recommends determining if they meet the established criteria for your reference collection in the categories of need, demand and quality. She spoke about the commitment to the electronic/digital/virtual library weighed against the commitment to more traditional reference and instructional services.

Rob McGeachin addressed some of the reasons for providing access to online full-text collections, such as user convenience and satisfaction, access from remote locations, and distance education. Rob also spoke about how these services can best be implemented, considering means of delivery such as Internet and CD-ROM (either stand alone or on a local area network). Any commitment to a service on a LAN or institution-wide server requires ready availability of user education and user support. Additionally, vendors of full-text resources want to be assured of access security. Rob mentioned some of the problems librarians face when trying to deliver services to users: Internet and Intranet traffic delays, archiving rights, planning for long term access to these materials, and issues surrounding the cataloging electronic resources.

Time was provided at the end of the presentations for questions from the audience.

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