Re: Priorities: OA Content Provision vs. OA Content Preservation

From: Brian Simboli <brs4_at_Lehigh.EDU>
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 2004 21:50:06 +0100

I wish to dispel any illusion that the views discussed below, esp at the
end, reflect some sort of first world arrogance.
In saying that individuals in the first world have it pretty good with
respect to access, given interlibrary loan, I am *not *suggesting that
the third world does not have quite profound needs for access to
knowledge that will advance the common good. (As someone trained in
philosophy, I have views on what constitutes the common good, but that
is for another venue.) My point is simply: let us not be hasty in
assuming that immediacy of access should trump other
considerations--considerations, attention to which will guarantee
/long-term/, stable access, for anyone anywhere.
I've consumed enough bandwith for one day!

Brian Simboli
Science Librarian
Library & Technology Services
E.W. Fairchild Martindale
8A East Packer Avenue
Bethlehem, PA 18015-3170
(610) 758-5003

Brian Simboli wrote:

> **Responses in asterisks**
> I don't pretend to have all the answers in these issues; I just want
> to point out concerns that will no doubt occur to any working librarian.
> Brian Simboli
>>>Let us say that one is concerned with the good of preservation and places it at
>>>least on par with the good of open access, and perhaps even trumps the latter.
>>Hard to see how preserving content can trump providing content: One cannot preserve
>>non-existent content...
> **Well, sure, one cannot preserve non-existent content, but that is
> not the point. Let us cut through the sophistics,
> which are interminable, and ask the question: in deciding how to
> dispose funds for digital initiatives on a campus, should a library
> manager devote money to the green approach or to a gold or to a TA
> approach, assuming that they must make some sort of decision? The
> typical academic library does not have huge resources, nor does it
> have much staff time available. It is a continuing saga of triage. I
> am not speaking of CDL, or of Harvard, or MIT, though librarians at
> such large places may also face this dilemma**
>>providing immediate access
>>to all would-be users now increases rather than decreases the probability
>>of eventually finding a way to guarantee that that access will last forever.
> **Not clear on why this is the case.**
>>>This to me is a quite significant speculative leap about the future
>>>behavior of thousands of institutions and individuals.
>>It is speculative to assume that people will want to hold onto
>>a good thing, once they get used to having it?
> **The point is rather that they may not be interested in holding on to
> a good thing once it is no longer
> immediately gratifying (a negative feature, incidentally, and by
> analogy, of social behaviors in our larger culture).
> Because while we wait for OA content provision, research impact is
> being needlessly and cumulatively lost, daily, weekly, yearly.
> **Interesting. However, pursuit of self-archiving does not guarantee
> the sort of long-lasting and stable
> preservation of the scientific record that, in the long term, will
> promote impact of research. /Green solutions are dependent on the
> largesse of big publishers that are not charitable institutions, and
> who at any point can hem in or overturn their green provisions./ Why
> not, right now, set up the infrastructure for universities to own
> their own output in a long-lasting and stable fashion, rather than be
> continually hostage to whatever new pricing scheme is dreamt up by
> marketers at the big publishers? Again, it gets down to where to put
> the bucks--in training faculty how to self-archive, or in developing
> publishing alternatives that will much more so guarantee longevity of
> access, whether open or TA?**
>>Fulfilling immediate needs surely trumps waiting for guarantees that that
>>fulfillment will last for ever.
> **I'm not so sure about this. Small universities don't have much money
> to spend on digitization efforts, whether staff time or outlay for
> infrastructure.
> I think that the library community should be more concerned with
> preserving the scientific record, rather than focus on immediacy of
> access--/access which is already being provided, at least in the first
> world, via highly efficient interlibrary loan operations, and ability
> of individuals in the public to walk into university libraries and use
> public terminals./ I cannot speak for the third world**
Received on Tue Oct 05 2004 - 21:50:06 BST

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