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12 - 14 April 1999

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The coming together of the 22nd Annual Conference of the United Kingdom Serials Group and the 4th European Serials Conference highlights the impact that electronic journals are having on the international serials community: a breaking down of barriers.

Publishers are seeking direct contact with libraries, libraries are seeking to extend consortia activity beyond regional and national boundaries and subscription agents and secondary information services are collaborating in the all-important area of linking.

Despite this seemingly cosy and collaborative atmosphere, the barriers towards the universal adoption of electronic journals are still significant. As well as the technical, legal and environmental issues, partnerships are inhibited by the fear that a partner one day will be a competitor the next.

Many of the papers in this first ever joint conference reflect on barriers coming down or still to be overcome. A progress report on the National Electronic Site Licence Initiative, along with a report on consortia activity in Europe draw on collaboration, whilst papers on electronic legal deposit and digital archives generally are significant reminders of barriers yet to be overcome.

The technical issues favouring remote or local access to digital material are considered, as is the bewildering array of pricing models currently being put forward by publishers. Concurrent sessions ensure that there is something for everyone, including case studies drawn from the Corporate environment.

Supporting the main programme is a series of excellent workshops, which seek to offer the opportunity to exchange experience and obtain practical help on a wide-range of issues, ranging from authentication, to Internet search engines and the human impact of the new technologies.

A major exhibition of the latest product offerings from publishers, subscription agents, systems vendors and other intermediaries will once again complement the intellectual content of the plenary sessions and workshops, and give delegates plenty of opportunity to view specific products and services at first hand.