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Friday, July 14, 2006

The beginning of the end for academic library collection development? Rice University Revives its Press in Digital Model. Henceforth all RUP titles will be open access, freely available online. Maybe it's time to for me to start looking for ESL positions in China. Or am I being too pessimistic?


Blogger Felix said...

As a reader and sometime researcher, I'm excited by this prospect. But I share your concerns about the effect on libraries. Perhaps we should repackage ourselves as research instructors and/or consultants, to help the Great Unwashed find their way through the electronic thickets?

Ironically, abusive copyright law and discriminatory content-control by internet service providers may end up justifying the existence of libraries. Just remember that practically nothing published since about 1926 has entered the public domain for free legal online distribution, and with Congress openly for sale, it's unlikely that that will ever change.

Furthermore, by killing Net-Neutrality, the ISP's and telecom companies have indicated that they intend to strangle any content-delivery service that competes with their own content-providing businesses and fails to pay them a fee. What's the point of having Project Gutenberg, or the Rice U. Press, or any other service out there, if your ISP blocks access to it so that you'll have to subscribe to their "premium service" that repackages its content for a fee?

5:47 PM  
Blogger Carlos said...

I hope you're right that we librarians will continue to play a role in the digital era. BTW, I forgot to mention in the post that I attended a session at ALA on the "Future of University Presses" at which one editor said her press (Duke, maybe, I can't remember) was working on a timeline for the elimination of print. (She didn't say anything about open access, though.)

10:47 AM  
Blogger Felix said...

Did she talk about how Duke reneged on their commitment to Project Muse and yanked all their journals with "substantial library subscriber bases" from it a year or two ago because they thought they could make more money selling them as a proprietary package, while still expecting Project Muse to continue propping up nine of their moneylosing dogs?

As far as I'm concerned, if libraries are going to subscribe to journals electronically, they should support projects like Project Muse and JSTOR first. Hypocritical, moneygrubbing, cherrypicking backstabbers like Duke can go freeze alone in the dark.

9:34 AM  
Blogger Carlos said...

Only in passing, just to say that the decision had been "misunderstood" or "misrepresented" or some such. Doesn't directly affect us since we can't afford Project Muse in any case.

11:57 AM  

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