Friday, November 09, 2007

Transitioning to Electronic Only Journals Collections

On Monday Rollins is hosting a new workshop from Ithaka on "Transitioning to Electronic Only Journals Collections." Six institutions are sending teams to the workshop: Birmingham Southern, Furman, Hobart & William Smith, Macalester, St Olaf, and of course Rollins.

This is the first of three such workshops that we are hosting here at Rollins this year. The other two are a pair of NITLE workshops on social networking softwares: "Social Software for Education: Collaborative Learning and Research Practices" and "Emerging Technologies and the Liberal Arts Campus." But more about those two later.

It will be interesting to see what comes out of Monday's workshop. We are not planning to go "electronic only" in terms of journals any time soon. We see the future as a hybrid of print and digital, albeit increasingly weighted towards digital particularly in terms of mainline peer-reviewed scholarly journals. But this will not be a clean process. In some cases the move from print to digital will so change the journal that the word journal (see sense B I 6) will no longer be relevant. In the others the move may never take place. I am not sure, for instance, that small literary magazines will ever stop being published in print even though they may also have quite well developed web-based versions.

In any event this will be a tough transition for most libraries and the communities they serve. One recent example of how tough this could be comes from Sandia National Laboratories. I am not sure of the whole story of what they are doing with their library, but the library profession is abuzz with opposition to what is described as closing the physical library and moving to online only library services and collections. Sandia announces this move here. Here are the Special Library Association and the American Library Association responses. Obviously, this concerns more than just journals, but my guess is that online journal access is a big part of this.

No comments: