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Serials happenings: the information industry in transition

James T Stephens, President, EBSCO Industries Inc, USA

EBSCO Information Services' representative presents a view of the changing currents from manuscript author to information consumer within an information industry transitioning to print information dissemination paralleled by online information dissemination. Observations of possible impacts on the various agents within the process . . . libraries as agents for information users, publishers as agents for manuscript authors, and intermediaries as agents for producers and users . . . are offered.

The next five years: a publisher's ambition

Robert Kiernan, Chairman and Chief Executive, Routledge Publishers Holdings Ltd

The next decade will establish whether there is to be revolution or evolution in scholarly communications. Technology, economics and human factors are combining to change the way academics write and read their scholarship and research. It is conceivable that the result will be a complete upheaval, forcing both librarians and publishers to the sidelines. The alternative is an evolutionary process in which publishers and librarians establish new ways of managing the information flow, using the skill sets each profession has developed over many decades.

In planning the future, all publishers are faced with the challenges of increasing investment, and managing a publishing process, in several media simultaneously, in a market that is strapped for cash. But the skills deployed by publishers, and the value they add to the literature, especially in relation to managing and certifying the quality of published output through the peer review process, remain at the core of an authoritative, organised and readily accessible scholarly literature.

The traditional cost structure of journal publishing will be described. That cost structure and the subscription pricing mechanisms publishers have established since the 1950s, have failed to respond to the inability of library budgets to keep pace with the growth in research literature. The historical reasons for this will be addressed, and the factors driving fundamental change will be analysed.

The principal issue facing publishers is how to maintain the viability of their activities, and the role they play in scholarly publishing. Publishers are nothing if they are not part of a dynamic academic community. Strategic partnerships are likely to develop. New business models are under development. The journal is evolving as a 'brand'. A more complex world, full of opportunity, is being established, in which both print and non-print media will have their place.

Signposts to the future: the librarian's direction

Alan MacDougall, Director of Library Services, Dublin City University, Ireland

This presentation will identify the major changes in the marketplace that affect the provision of service and the challenges for librarians in the ways they position themselves to provide a service and develop their own career. The talk will challenge some perceived notions about the future direction of the profession and signal some of the key issues that need to be addressed.

Managing information as a corporate asset

Nigel Horne, Director, KPMG IMPACT Programme

Nigel Horne describes the work done under his leadership in the IMPACT Programme (a business research organisation within KPMG) into information management. He argues that there can be no corporate knowledge without good corporate information management. Most organisations today, despite recognising that information is important and, despite being 40 years into the information age, do not manage their information effectively. The IMPACT Programme has developed an agenda for directors and managers to use in addressing good information management - the essence of which is to treat information as an asset and manage it like everything else. This has been followed by the first management tool to measure status and progress - the Information Health Index of IHI, the first results from which are being obtained. Finally, Dr Horne describes what practical steps can be taken by businesses today to start the process of implementing good information management and how IMPACT is addressing a series of related issues which will provide the keys for management to open the gateway to knowledge.

Sharing expertise in practice: the way forward for knowledge management

Jacqueline Cropley, Consultant, formerly of Clifford Chance

This paper looks at different styles of knowledge management, with some pointers as to where they may be appropriate. Knowledge resources are viewed by some people as a collection. Knowledge may be spread by changing working practices and the way that people�s contribution to an organisation is assessed. Many organisations are setting up technology solutions with the aim of facilitating access to expertise. Some of these projects are doomed to failure because they are not properly thought through. Fast-moving organisations need to concentrate on methods of communication rather than capture, and ensure that their knowledge keeps pace in an atmosphere of rapid change. Picking the right elements of knowledge management is important to allow the organisation to move forward rather than to load it down with outdated thinking. A number of examples are given of ways to encourage information sharing. This includes making it as easy as possible for people to spread their knowledge and dealing with concerns about proper use.

The long road to information integration: suggestions for the way forward

Suzie Alexander, European Sales Manager, Ovid Technologies Ltd

Within the current context of the world of information it is widely accepted that information professionals on a daily basis, by necessity not desire, are concerned more with the management of information, in all its shapes and forms, and less with its integration. Integrated information, and consequently increased ease of access to information resources, is what all of us in the information industry, be it librarians, publishers, subscription agencies, database vendors or software houses, hear information users asking for; and yet that is not what they are getting now nor for the foreseeable future. The question is how long will they have to wait.

There are three models prevalent today for access to electronic information, all three of which are almost entirely Web-based: publisher-centric; aggregated, and distributed.

In addition to a discussion of the key characteristics and differences among the above-mentioned electronic information provision efforts, this paper will attempt to address the following considerations: whose information is it anyway?; is there anything to be learnt from the 'Foyle's' model?; after journals come books, audio-visuals, c-rays etc: why information integration is a technology issue; the determining role of the information professional.

Acquiring electronic products in the hybrid library: prices, licences, platforms and users

Peter Leggate, Keeper of Scientific Books, Radcliffe Science Library, University of Oxford

Academic libraries are now hybrids of electronic and paper products and associated services. There is a need to organise these hybrid libraries in a manner which offers the user (and library staff) a coherent approach to both.

Issues in the acquiring of electronic products are: costs, licences, cataloguing and registration, and access. The same information product can be available with different software platforms at different prices. Licensing conditions can determine who can use a resource and where, and the number of users. There is a need for common licensing conditions such as those proposed by the CIC (the Committee on Institutional Co-operation) in the United States and currently being discussed by a JISC/PA working party. Electronic products require cataloguing and registering alongside paper equivalents with the option for direct links from the electronic catalogue (or bibliographic database) to the product. User perception of the product can be influenced by the functionality and ease of use of the software platform.

The user requires guidance in locating electronic resources of the virtual library. An entry level hypertext menu system, BRIAN (Bibliographic Resources Interface for Accessing Networks), has been developed in Oxford and offers subject and title indexes to databases mounted locally and remotely, with links to electronic journal and newspaper listings.

Dataset purchasing options: united we save, divided we pay

Mike Johnson, Director of CHEST and NISS

No abstract provided.

Developments in the UK Pilot Site Licence Initiative

John Fielden, Director, CHEMS

The paper summaries the findings of the second report from the team commissioned to evaluate the UK Pilot Site Licence Initiative. The report, due to be published by HEFCE, focuses on the impact within institutions and makes recommendations concerning the next stage of the Initiative.

Users of electronic journals in the scheme were very frustrated by the different ways of accessing the journals; there was a clear preference for one simple gateway to all electronic journals with as few levels in the menus as possible. Some university libraries had organised a Web site for all such journals grouped by subject and this was clearly popular. A university's approach to making Acrobat software available on its network had a big impact on the scale of use made of the journals.

The evaluation tried to get data on the usage made of electronic journals in the PSLI. The publishers were very co-operative, but even so the study could only report on the 'top ten' institutional users and give approximate figures for the total access made nationally to typical journals. It was found for instance that only one or two journals had more than 750 users each month in the scheme.

This paper will be followed by a presentation from Fred Friend, Director of Scholarly Communication, University College London, updating delegates on the new National Electronic Site Licence Initiative - NESLI.

Consortial purchasing: the US experience with electronic products

Julia Gammon, Head, Acquisitions Department, University of Akron, USA

Rising costs and diminishing purchasing power have forced libraries to share resources to meet the informational needs of their students and faculty. The incorporation of new technologies has enabled the creation of consortia across large geographic areas, and these technical advances have provided a robust basis for greatly expanded access to and use of library materials for users. Discussion will focus on the US experience, specifically with the OhioLINK statewide academic consortium of 56 libraries. In addition, the ALA Principles for Licensing Electronic Resources will be examined.

Switching on serials: the British Library's Electronic Serials in Public Libraries project

Margaret Evans, Loughborough University

This paper reports the interim findings of 'Electronic Serials in Public Libraries', a research project based at Loughborough University. The key findings to date are presented, including: the results of a questionnaire survey which was sent to all UK public library authorities; and, the initial findings of four in-depth case studies. The survey data reveal the current trends for the provision of serials in electronic formats, the measurement of electronic serials use and future plans for these resources by the UK's public libraries. The case studies take an in-depth approach, the data collected offering an insight into: the problems public library managers encounter when providing electronic serials; and, the management of these resources in four public library authorities. The paper summarises the key lessons to be learned from, and the keys to success suggested by, an examination of the data collected so far and it goes on to describe the forthcoming research stages and the intended outcomes of this research project.

MagNet and EARL: Internet access to newspapers and journals in public libraries

Hugh Marks, Technical Services Manager, Westminster Libraries & Archives, and EARL Serials Task Group convenor

EARL (Electronic Access to Resources in Libraries) is a consortium of public libraries, currently numbering over 130, established in 1995 to develop the provision of networked public library services. Much of its development work is carried out by 16 Task Groups whose aim is to develop prototype networked services. One of these, the Serials Task Group, has produced MagNet, a public libraries serials database and location finding device.

Work on MagNet started in August 1996 and was facilitated by the EARL consultants Peter Stone and Frances Blomeley. Implementation was further assisted by the example of SALSER and the availability of shareware software. MagNet started with the serials holdings of 4 public libraries and has now grown to 24. The ultimate goal is to feature the holdings of all UK public libraries. Newsplan for the LASER region is also available.

MagNet features Title, Keyword and Subject searching plus links to BLDSC current journal holdings, OCLC and journal websites. Its address is

An additional possibility is customising MagNet for a specific public library.

Along with the continuing push to add more and more library holdings, future plans include developing MagNet as a document delivery service.

Scientific publication and the UK Research Assessment Exercise: an assessor's view

W F Vinen, University of Birmingham and Chair of the Physics Assessment Panel

Every four years all university departments in the UK are invited to submit evidence of the quality of their research, which is judged by peer review in subject panels appointed by the Councils that are responsible for the distribution of basic government funding to the universities. The panels give each department a rating, and the ratings are then used to determine the distribution of the element of the funding that is intended to support the infrastructure required for research. The most important component of the evidence relates to the quality of publications. The way in which the panels carry out their assessments will be described, and the possible effects (justified or not) on patterns of publication will be discussed.

Journals: what makes the added value

Griffith Edwards, Editor-in-Chief, 'Addiction' and Emeritus Professor of Addiction Behaviour, University of London

This talk will seek to address the issue of whether journals add any significant good to the raw material of submitted manuscripts. Sequentially the following questions will be addressed: (i) the fundamental question of whether a journal is to operate largely as a rather passive agent of its particular scientific field, or whether alternatively it should seek actively and purposively to interact with and influence its field; (ii) if a journal is to be an active influence what are the types of impact it may legitimately seek to exert on, for instance, scientific quality, encouragement of new ideas, ethicality, social relevance and social responsibility, and by what means may such influences be exerted; (iii) can journals aspire singly to such ambitions or do they need to form consortia? Journals, it will be argued, will add value only if they work together for the common good and are individually, collectively and actively committed to adding value.

SuperJournal: the publishers' perspective

Michael Mabe, Director, Material Science Publishing, Elsevier Science Ltd

What do authors and readers really want from journals? Do these desires differ when the journals are electronic? Do they really use the features they say they want? How do readers actually use the journals they say they read? Surprisingly, many of these questions, so important to publishers and librarians, remain unanswered or unclear, despite the efforts of many to determine them. Electronic journals offer a unique and relatively non-invasive way to find out. The SuperJournal Project of the Electronic Journals division of the Electronic Libraries programme (eLib) does exactly this. It is a unique collaboration between publishers, universities and libraries which has developed a multiple electronic journal application covering both the sciences and the humanities on which the behaviour of users at a dozen UK universities can be assessed. Four clusters of journals in political science, cultural and communications studies, molecular genetics and proteins, and materials chemistry are now operational and results are already coming in from the first ones launched. In addition to showing how users actually use electronic journals (and the barriers that exist to use), the data also reveals the different patterns of scholarly activity in the humanities and the sciences.

HEDS: accessing for the future, preserving the past

Simon Tanner, Digitisation Consultant, Higher Education Digitisation Service

Journals are one of the most important information resources in the UK and their value increases with ever wider and easier access. There are several projects underway in the UK at present that will enable wider access for teaching, research and leaning to many journal resources. The aim of the Higher Education Digitisation Service (HEDS) is to establish a range of core and value-added services available through a single point of contact to support the conversion of materials into electronic formats. This paper will describe some of the projects that HEDS is carrying out or advising on in the area of journal materials converting into electronic formats. Further discussion of the techniques and issues involved in the digitisation of journals will be included. The paper will end with the author's personal view on the way ahead for digitisation in the UK.

[Full text available from HEDS - PDF File]

Hanging on to what we have got: economic and management issues in providing perpetual access in an electronic environment

Malcolm Smith, Director, British Library Bibliographic Services & Document Supply

Libraries today face a feast of choices brought about by the electronic revolution. Every day brings announcements of new e-journal titles and new services. After more than three centuries of experience with print on paper journals, librarians are having to cope with a wide range of new issues affecting the practical management and exploitation of electronic material alongside existing paper-based collections.

This paper will address the central challenge of maintaining access in perpetuity to electronic journals and, in particular, will tackle licensing issues and related drawbacks, together with the difficulties of maintaining long term archival stores, as well as more specific problems to do with claiming procedures and changing URLs.

The world of Hello!

Sally Cartwright, Publishing Director, 'Hello!' Magazine

No abstract provided.

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