|The wired world
is all caught up in electronic publishing, in its many forms. Regular people
can post stuff on the Web. Scholars can get their work published on the
Internet so it's disseminated more quickly. There are scads of scanning
projects that are making old information digital. Dot-coms are building
portals and trying to capture some market share of the surfing public.
Of course this
is affecting libraries too, in many of the same ways. You're publishing
on the Web, digitizing documents, and building portals and customized sites
like everyone else. But you're also dealing with the deeper electronic
publishing issues like copyright, archiving, e-books, and training. Oh,
and you're trying to organize it all too.
With all these
challenges, what state are libraries in today? Well, that's what this issue
is all about. As usual, our articles run the gamut. First, our cover story
is a good hard look at whether we should be digitizing at all. We have
an Oxford scholar asking the question, "Digitization:
Is It Worth It?" (p. 28). The time it takes to read this article is
OK, so once
all the content is digitized and available, what are the best ways to go
about building your collections? Jonathan Lord and Bart Ragon cover that
question by telling the stories of how two different libraries handled
the task. There are some good points and tips in this one, as well as a
handy "electronic resource evaluation checklist" (p. 43) that you might
want to use in your own work.
you have the collections in place, you have to maintain them and keep on
paying for them. Doesn't it seem like these journals are trying to take
more of your money all the time? Jeff Slagell feels your pain as he likens
electronic library resources to bandits (p. 34).
And we have
an extra treat this month, too--an Industry Report about the trend of migrating
from print to electronic journals. W. W. Hagerty Library at Drexel University
has made the change and lived to tell the tale. This story is a good example
of what's happening all over the country today. You'll find the interview
starting on page 22.
As always, our
columnists have come through with some top-notch commentary. Péter
Jacsó points you to lots of great sites where librarians are
being published. Janet Balas questions whether e-books really work for
patrons. And Scott Brandt asks the important question, How can we help
educators join our quest to get students to use the right stuff on the
Internet? He's put together a great page of explanations and tips, and
we've made it suitable for photocopying. You may want to distribute this
to anyone who assigns library work to students.
This ought to
be enough to keep you busy until next month, when we'll concentrate on
legal issues. Prepare yourselves!
Kathy Dempsey, Editor