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May 12, 2005

Article on How Open Access Will Affect Libraries

"Kathlin Smith, Preparing for Universal Access, CLIR Issues, May/June 2005. Summarizing the presentations from the CLIR symposium, Transforming Libraries (Washington, D.C., April 18, 2005). Excerpt: 'The Google announcement was much like a Rorschach test for the library community," observed CLIR Program Director Abby Smith as she introduced the day's first panel... The [Google] project deals head-on with the grand challenge to digital access-copyright- by including many works not in the public domain. "The questions [about digitizing copyrighted material] have changed from whether to when, and from how to what effect," [University of Michigan provost Paul Courant] said. This is an important development. "The current IP [intellectual property] framework is inimical to scholarship. Many people have become more concerned with protecting IP than conveying what they know. Access will drive progress on IP and the orphaned-work problem. We must create general demand to make change," he emphasized... "In the future, information will all be available in digital form - it will not cost too much, will be used by more people, and will be enriched through better display, context, and integration," said Stephen Rhind-Tutt, chief executive officer of Alexander Street Press. The Google deal, he said, promises to deliver to end users 30 times the content currently delivered by EEBO [Early English Books Online], ECO [Eighteenth Century Online], Evans, Shaw-Shoemaker, and similar initiatives, and it will do so at no charge. The question is not whether "a colossal amount of information will become available...but how we are going to react."...Meeting the growing demand for digital content - in particular, data sets and serials-- is expensive and has caused budgets for information resources to increase more rapidly than overall university budgets have, said David Shulenburger, provost and executive vice chancellor at the University of Kansas. This situation, he said, is unsustainable. Meanwhile, storing digital scholarship that faculty produce will require that institutions invest in digital repositories (a cost that can be reduced by collaborating with other institutions). Such archives may include work never intended for publication or early drafts of published work. Shulenburger predicts that authors will increasingly cite from the archived source, rather than the primary source, because archived material is free and easily available. Thus, published work will cite more material that has less-than-full authority behind it. "To alter the forces that lead to this vision of the future, we must accept two notions - first, that scholarship is a public good; second, that refereeing must be preserved," Shulenburger said.'"

Source: Peter Suber. More on how OA will affect libraries. OA News (11 May 2005) [FullText]


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