Electronic vs. print journals

Tue, 14 Jun 1994 15:06:12 -0700

As both an anthropologist and a librarian, I have followed with great
interest the recent thread on electronic journals as an alternative
to print. While I agree with most of the comments on the potential
benefits of electronic journals, I can think of one problem that no
one has mentioned. What happens to our colleagues, especially in the
third world, that do not have access to the Internet? One response
might be that they will have access sooner or later. But is it
proper to leave them in the dark until that time comes? Given that
many countries have a telecommunications infrastructure that barely
supports an antiquated telephone network, let alone the "information
superhighway," that time will probably come later than sooner. And
what will happen if (when?) Internet access is based on a user fee?
How many of them (and us) will find it difficult or impossible to
stay connected.

One might argue that such inequity already exists with our print
based system, especially for those journals with obscenely high
subscription rates. But for print sources at least there is the
possibility of old-fashioned interlibrary loan via photocopiers and
snail-mail. Perhaps we will need a similar system even in the age of
the electronic journal!

What do you think?

| Wade Kotter |
| Social/Behavioral Sciences Bibliographer |
| Adjunct Faculty--Anthropology |
| Stewart Library |
| Weber State University |
| Ogden, UT 84408-2901 |
| Voice: 801-626-7458 Fax: 801-626-6057 |
| EMail: wkotter@cc.weber.edu |
| wkotter@library.weber.edu |