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Hypermedia Online Publishing: the Transformation of the Scholarly Journal

9.4.3 Insights from case studies

As part of the detailed interviews carried out with members of these projects, a cluster of issues emerged that related directly to libraries and their changing roles in an evolving publishing ecology. These can be broadly defined as the nature of the core business of libraries. Themes arising from the interviews have been presented in an aggregated form without identifying the specific source of each comment. This is because it is the total picture that is important, not the source of each colour. These responses are probably not representative of the full diversity of views in the library community. They do, however, serve to provide useful pointers to some future directions.

The interview questions that related specifically to the libraries role were:

In the answers to these questions, the key theme was the role of electronic publishing in fulfilling the university library's mission to its community. As part of this, once again the questions of preservation and access loomed large.

A number of projects identified what they were doing as explicitly part of their mission to provide access to information or supply information to their community. A number of respondents also emphasized the role of the university library in furthering teaching, learning and research. Providing a service to users was a common thread in the responses.

Based on this service orientation, all of the projects saw what they were doing as a natural outgrowth of their mission to their communities. Comments like '(this project) is a way to provide access outside the library' were typical. Despite the reluctance of a number of projects to identify what they were doing as publishing, all felt it fitted well into their libraries portfolio of activities. A number also stated the need for more such initiatives from other libraries. One respondent explicitly stated the need for libraries to provide alternative models to existing publishers in the new field of electronic scholarly journals. Another talked about library-initiated or facilitated publishing as being one way for libraries to assist their users and take back the initiative from publishers.

All felt that there was no 'in principle' barrier to electronic publishing becoming part of the core business of all academic libraries, although this might depend on particular campus circumstances. One respondent put it best by stating that if it made sense for the library to do something and if users would expect this to live at the library, then the library should go ahead. Only one of the projects was based at a university with an existing press. This no doubt made it easier for the other projects to move into a new area without any precedent of ownership by another stakeholder.

Last modified: Monday, 11-Dec-2017 14:40:26 AEDT

© Andrew Treloar, 2001. * http://andrew.treloar.net/ * andrew.treloar@gmail.com