Re: Recent Comments by Albert Henderson

From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Thu, 25 Jan 2001 23:19:42 -0500

on Thu, 25 Jan 2001 David Goodman <dgoodman_at_Princeton.EDU> wrote:
> Al may have missed a key point:
> The faculty (and even more the students) do not want to go the the
> library to get their material. They want it on the computer in their
> office. (I have worked physically in a library for 20 yrs, so for _me_
> it's easiest to get things in the library; if I worked elsewhere on
> campus, especially on a large campus like Davis, I would be much less
> inclined to prefer that approach.)

I didn't address this in my posting, however your observation
is absolutely correct. The problem would have been overcome
long ago if library spending encouraged the kind of investment
by publishers needed to achieve solutions. I believe Andrew
Odlyzko pointed out some time ago that home shopping and
pornography would provide sufficient economic basis to
develop the technnology.

The library would be more attractive if anyone thought they
would find what they were looking for. The gold standard for
service is "what they want when they want it." Unfortunately
while technology advocates promise this -- and I believe that
it is probably as technically feasible for science and scholarship
as it is for law -- they seem to believe that source or sources
unknown will take responsibility.


> This said, Al, if you want your ideas to have the impact you desire,
> Greg is correct that you should post your writings on the internet and
> supply links. Your purpose in writing articles is to communicate and
> bring about change; and this is now the best way of doing it, certainly
> on this subject.

One larger publisher that has provided online access to my writing is the
AAAS. You will find my editorial, Information Science vs. Science Policy
(SCIENCE. 289:243. 2000) supplemented with charts and figures at the
following URL:


You help make my point by suggesting that I, as author, must
supply links and copies that should be provided by information
services and libraries. Science Policy, if it exists, should
provide resources that free authors from such drudgery and supply
information to readers without red tape. As a matter of fact, it
once did.

Best wishes,

Albert Henderson
Received on Wed Jan 03 2001 - 19:17:43 GMT

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