Re: Electronic archiving and IIS talk

From: Steve Hitchcock <sh94r_at_ECS.SOTON.AC.UK>
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2000 22:27:01 +0100

At 17:53 09/09/00 +0100, Chris Armstrong wrote:
>At 15:11 08/09/00 +0100, Steve Hitchcock wrote:
> >Authority is fine, and can continue to attach to papers
> >in various ways, but in the electronic environment
> >notions of stability will change... I believe authority
> >will attach to an instance of a work at a given moment,
> >but the authority will have to be maintained and updated
> >to be useful.
>But what is the single moment? The moment of publication
>or of discovery?

Chris, It is the moment of access, the only moment that matters to the

>And how are users to judge whether the
>authority is extant or out-of-date? Or whether the
>version they are viewing is as accurate as it was when

The user has to make some choices, and choosing an authority is one. If you
can't trust the authority, choose another.

> >So the knowledgeable build services for the naive...
>And do the naive use them blindly?

No. In choosing an authority the user is exercising some judgement, and
will continue to do so as they use the service. Any publisher, producer,
editor knows this.

>(Yes, at the minute)

At the minute, to be fair, in the electronic environment the user has few
services of the type I have in mind from which to choose. But note, a good
eprint archive is an authority because it provides a service that is
clearly labelled. Recognising this may not be sufficient for some, e.g.
lack of peer review, other services can supplement the archive, and this is
what we are lacking. This is the basis of the Open Archives initiative. If
you have access, the scope for supplementing the content is much, much
greater than if you don't.

>or should we teach them to judge/recognise quality?

Of course. Users may have more choices than in the past, but otherwise
nothing has changed in this respect.

> >I'm still uncomfortable about this persistent idea of
> >control.
>Perhaps I should define bibliographic control for you. It
>is not control of users or filtering or censorship in any
>form. Rather it is a form of facilitating access through
>recording the existence, details and location of an item
>- metadata, if you will. In order for this to work in an
>electronic environment some stability of location (or a
>DOI route) is necessary; similarly "bibliographic"
>details such as authorship, publication date (and
>version) would be necessary.

Let's remove the brackets from 'and version', recognising that the notion
of stability must change in a time-based medium, and there is little to
take issue with here.

>I think that it comes down to site security and
>recognition. When an archive has attained sufficient
>status, users will know that a paper published on it is
>"safe" - much as they do now if they visit a known
>scholarly electronic journal. Of course this will take
>time (and money at the archive publishers end), and the
>very status gained will accord the archive much the same
>role as an electronic journal. And probably by this time,
>they will start charging for use ... and may even start
>calling themselves a meta-journal!!

Not sure what 'safe' means. If it applies to the mechanism, maintenance and
storage reliability of an archive, yes, users need to take care. But if you
mean, is it peer reviewed, this isn't the role of the archive, but of
services that supplement the archive. If this service incurs a cost it can
be a separate cost centre that doesn't impact on the function of the
archive. You are assuming that the one evolves to become the other, e.g.
the archive becomes an ejournal. There is no need for this to happen
because you will have both - in fact, a lot more than mere ejournals as we
know them today.

>on the other points:
> >Clearly misuse and clearly not accidental. I suspect
> >this type of incident is more often the result of
> >ignorance rather than willful malevolence. How
> >did your colleague become aware of the misuse?
>yes, I think it was ignorance too. They actually mailed
>him asking permission to "link" to his paper and he went
>to their site later to see what kind of place it was!
> >does it consider how good these students might be at
> >evaluating Web content for themselves, not relying
> >solely on the authority of sources?
>There is a lot written on evaluating web resources and
>not much of it lingers on the intuitive! Authority is
>only one measure. We saw very little evidence of any
>judgement being applied to found resources other than
>whether or not it appeared to answer the current
>"anomalous state of knowledge" or query. Whether the
>answer was likely to accurate, current, complete, biased,
>etc did not seem to come into it: it was published
>therefore it was OK.

This is such a dim view of users that the Web should surely have been
doomed by now. Let's be generous and accept that maybe the knowledgeable
have not done enough in the scholarly Web to help the naive.

Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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