Re: Electronic archiving and IIS talk

From: David Goodman <dgoodman_at_phoenix.Princeton.EDU>
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2000 10:56:09 +0100

I do not think Steve Hitchcock is altogether correct that

> > > ... It has never
> > > been the role of those who provide access to
> > > information, librarians or publishers, to FIX
> > > content, i.e. to select a particular version, but to
> > > enable users to MAKE SENSE of it.

Libraries do make an effort to collect the definitive version of documents
as defined by the academic system of scholarship. There are certainly
cases (literature, for example) where we try to collect all usable
significant edition and versions, but in general most of us I think do
consider it important to collect the version or edition that scholars and
students will need to quote.

Collecting and preserving working papers has in the past been a
job for the archivist, not the librarian, and they have been different,
though related, professions.

E-print does blur this distinction. It also extends the possibility for
keeping track of the versions. As a librarian I consider it up to the
scholarly community to consider whether it wants to continue the concept
to final published version. If it does, I will provide access to it
primarily, and secondarily and to the extent feasible and if it helps the
users, also to other accessible versions with appropriate indicators to
avoid misleading beginners. If the distinction disappears, I will provide
access to all that the users use; if this means organizing indexes so
they index each revision or variant, that is possible.

The practical current distinction is whether indexing and abstracting
services should now include documents present on the web in informal ways,
such as preprint servers. In my field of biology they generally don't.
Personally, I think they probably should start doing so.

David Goodman
Princeton University Biology Library
Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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