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61st IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 20-25, 1995

Archiving the Electronic Journal

Béla Hatvany
SilverPlatter Information



The origin of the journal is in the creation of knowledge - or consensus belief. It plays the role of taking academic conversations and discussions - via a panel of respected peer referees - to a wid er domain. It is therefore a centre piece in the knowledge creation conversation.

This model will also apply to the electronic journal. Electronic journals and the profusion of other electronic media are challenging the role of the information profession in making the body of know ledge available to society in an organised manner. This will continue.

In my view the development of the electronic journal will occur at the same time as the re-organisation and redefinition of the role of the information professional, the society they serve and the in formation industry, within which we all work.

For me the future of our industry is the creation of a worldwide library. In this library all of the digital sources in the world will be available in a well-organised context. The worldwide library will be available to all users, independent of location or computing platform and at utility prices.

Worldwide library through collaboration

The worldwide library will come about by collaboration. This collaboration will be between information providers, technology companies, hardware and software vendors, distributors, information profes sionals and the information users. Together we will expand access to existing content, create new content and build excellent navigation tools to organise the library.

One momentum behind the worldwide library is the expanding capability of technology. The continuing fall in the cost of technology and data storage will also play a significant role. The result of t hese collaborations will be to bring mass access to electronic information. Already we have begun to gain some experience of what this will be like with the growth of the Internet.

On many levels librarians are already playing a role in creating the worldwide library. For example, in May this year 15 of the largest research libraries and archives in the United States and the c ommission on preservation and access signed an agreement to implement a distributed open digital library. Their intention "to bring together from across the nation and beyond digitised materials tha t will be made accessible to students, scholars and citizens everywhere"

My own experience within SilverPlatter also proves that collaboration, not competition, is the way to build the worldwide library. Our goal is to make information available to everyone, everywhere, w hen and how they want it, both now and in the future. In order to do this, we now collaborate with four groups to organise our contribution to the worldwide library. Information partners bring intell ectual property; technology partners work with us to build excellent access tools; distribution partners ensure that these products are available globally; and librarians arrange and organise the con tent using the access tools to serve the information needs of the patrons.

Availability through increased content

This collaboration brings more value to our contribution than competition and has enabled an expansion in information availability. For example, we now work with Information partner organisations such as UMI, Information Access Corporation, Ei, ISI and the Institute of Electrical Engineers (IEE) to produce and distribute their electronic databases to the library community, where previously we competed.

Availability through better organisation

In the worldwide library the role of the information professional will be that of information navigator. They will organise the millions of sources in the library. As subject experts they will creat e and make available millions of navigation tools or sample searches to information users. This will occur on a global scale.

These information navigators will not only work in libraries. They will also work in independent quasi commercial companies and will contribute to the organisation, growth and validation of the sour ces within the worldwide library. Within their expert area the role will be dynamic, changing constantly as more and more content enters the worldwide library.

Availability through preservation

Making information available in electronic formats will also carry with it the responsibility for preserving it, and making it available in the future. The electronic journal will also be archived b y the publisher and available electronically to subscribers and also to non subscribers, for a fee.

Availability through improved technology

The continued developments of technology and standards will result in the technologies and content of the worldwide library being integrated. To some extent this is already happening. Important pr otocols like Z39.50, HTTPD the protocol of the WWW, SilverPlatter's DXP and IBM's System Object Model (SOM), are already ensuring that the technology platforms are becoming interoperable.

The electronic journal in the worldwide library

The electronic journal will have its place within the worldwide library. In my view four aspects will be critical to the success of the electronic journal. They are: content, access, navigation technologies and standards.

The subscriber list of a print journal defines a community of like interest engaged in the creation of knowledge. For the electronic journal, creative collaborations between new and existing publishe rs and new partners will create and maintain the electronic journal defining new communities of like interest engaged in the creation of knowledge.

The electronic journal will be flexible. Its content will change frequently, incorporating text, video, sound, motion and other features. The creation of content for electronic journals will require peer review as does journal publishing today. This will take place in a closed electronic forum and the electronic medium will allow this to happen at a much faster pace than traditional print. Once the content is agreed the journal will then be published in another electronic forum for subscribers. The electronic medium will facilitate the readers to communicate with each other - allowing annotation to the papers and circulation by e:mail.

As the electronic journal will be published daily, ownership and the royalty structures of the journal will differ from those of today. In the worldwide library more royalty revenue will be shared be tween a wider group of collaborators including, authors, publishers, referees, technology providers and service providers. The security technology of the worldwide library will ensure a safe and pro fitable environment in which to publish.


With all of the information sources available, excellent navigation tools will be required from information navigators. I believe the information profession will fulfil this role and continue to make the body of knowledge available to society in an organised manner.

As part of the worldwide library the electronic journal will be but one of the sources that the information navigator will use from the many others available. The onus is on us as participators in the information industry to ensure that the worldwide library is brought into being. Through collaboration we can all play our part in expanding and making available the body