40.2 NASIG ANNUAL CONFERENCE REPORT, Beverley Geer-Butler
40.3 INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT OF UNIVERSITY PRESS PUBLICATIONS, Janet Fisher
40.4 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS, Chuck Hamaker
Marcia Tuttle, TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET or Marcia_Tuttle@unc.edu.
Because the newsletter's "new series," requested by ALCTS when we parted company, has outstripped the "original series," I am dropping the designation "NS" from the issue numbering, beginning with this issue.
40.2 NASIG ANNUAL CONFERENCE REPORT
Beverley Geer-Butler, Ohio State University, BGEERBU@OHSTMVSA.BITNET.
The 1992 North American Serials Interest Group conference (18-21 June, University of Illinois at Chicago) offered many provocative and interesting programs and workshops that ranged in subject from cataloging serial computer files to transforming scholarly communication to higher education in the 90s. The conference also included joint sessions with the Society for Scholarly Publishing.
The first plenary session featured four speakers: Clifford A. Lynch (Director, Library Automation, University of California), James J. O'Donnell (Professor of Classical Studies, University of Pennsylvania), Julia Blixrud (Program Officer, Council on Library Resources), and Anita Lowry (Deputy Head, Butler Reference Dept. & Director, Electronic Text Service, Columbia University).
Lynch's topic was transforming scholarly communication and libraries in the age of networked information. The modern research library has developed in many ways as a direct result of the structure of today's system of scholarly communication and reflects that system in its collection development policies and in its use of information technology to provide patron access to library collections and other published information. Lynch focused on the changing relationship between scholarly communication and libraries in an age of networked information and scholarly communication and on how adoption of these technologies by each sector may alter the objectives, mandates and strategies of the other.
O'Donnell's topic was access to knowledge and how it has changed from classical times to now. He impressed on the audience that as a new age begins, it is important to know what age it is that draws to a close. As we move to networked communications, it is not the age of writing that is ending, nor the age of the printed book. It is rather the end of the lifespan of the "codex" (the artifact that is printed, stitched at the left, read left to right and up and down). Consideration of the modes of storage and access in the age of the manuscript (e.g., margin annotations, concordances) will lead to reflections on what is likely to reside in the new forms of information processing (e.g., hypertext) and what is likely to pass away.
Blixrud spoke about evolving standards for a networking age. Her premise was that a strong but flexible infrastructure is fundamental to the process of building the library information delivery systems that will support scholarly communications in the future. Technical standards are an integral part of our current information infrastructure and must be a part of our future. Standards can provide structure, links and direction. Although the complexity of systems and rapid evolution of technology make it difficult to develop standards for the networking age, specific needs are identifiable: standards for data content, structure, display and transfer and standards for access, connection, navigation and tracking.
Lowry asserted that in a world of electronic networks and of digital information seemingly liberated from the confines of the concrete physical object, the nature of our control over that information is changing. She examined the shift from symbiotic roles of publisher and libraries in the shared control of electronic information. Her discussion included observations about copyright and licensing, ownership, access and use.
The joint plenary session with the Society for Scholarly Publishing was addressed by Charles B. Reed (Chancellor, State University System of Florda). Reed discussed the survival of universities and their libraries in these times. He observed that universities have fallen under scrutiny due to research fraud, misappropriation of grant funds, and athletic scandals. Many universities are looking for new leadership because they suffer from low esteem in the eyes of the public and a loss of credibility. At the same time the cost of materials has risen, but library budgets have decreased. Libraries respond with subscription cancellations, thus driving the cost of the materials up again because of loss of revenue to publishers. Reed believes there are solutions or remedies: employ more technology to communicate scholarly information and supply more money for libraries so that they can afford the technology. He questioned the amount of publication being done. Is more being published than society is willing to pay for? Should we stress quality over quantity rather than rewarding scholars merely because they published something? He believes that the velocity at which information is delivered will become more important than how much we own or keep. He asserted that universities and their libraries must move in the direction of change and that they must be their own advocates. He believes that the public is only willing to fund adequately, but to fund outstandingly, we must seek outside resources.
The final plenary session featured talks by Karen Schmidt (Head, Acquisitions Systems, University of Illinois) and Gary Brown (Regional Manager, Faxon Company). Schmidt addressed the impact technology is having on the direction and definition of librarianship. Technology is forming a schism in librarianship that is visible in recent discussions about knowledge and information, library science and information science, the role of librarians in working with new technology and how technology might change specificjobs, particularly in technical services. She stated that we must keep our eyes on our mission and adopt and develop tools to achieve that mission. Technology has become a technical requirement of our work, but our future worth is not governed entirely by technology.
Brown stated that spiraling costs of publishing will force users to consid- er new channels of scholarly communication. But will ease of access and communication lead us to better scholarly communication? He believes that innovative methods of delivery and distribution, issues of cost and copyright, and the process of knowledge acquisition and development will affect the answer to his question. The scholarly communication system is being transformed by electronic technology and the viability of the library is being affected by the new technology. Knowledge and the infrastructure by which it is conveyed are evolving. Brown put forth several challenges that must be met: embrace changing information needs; cooperate and collaborate to link sources and users of information; become central to the research and knowledge formation process; and provide information conveniently and creatively.
Eighteen NASIG workshops addressed such topics as the role and responsibilities of the professional serials cataloger and collection development assessment for biomedical serials collections. There also were 8 concurrent NASIG/SSP sessions on various topics including price studies, preservation, and Z39.1 (the standard for periodicals format and arrangement).
Proceedings of the NASIG 1992 Conference will be published by Haworth Press in _Serials Librarian_.
40.3 INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT OF UNIVERSITY PRESS PUBLICATIONS
Janet Fisher, Journals Manager MIT Press, FISHER@mitvma.mit.edu.
I would like to add my voice to Sandra Whisler's regarding institutional support of university press publications. Within the last year there have been an increasing number of journals losing some or all of the support they have traditionally received for their editorial offices. As money gets tighter at universities there appears to be less willingness to support journal editorial offices in the form of equipment and supplies, clerical support for the editors, and in some cases release time for the journal editor. This is a significant problem for the publisher since they are expected to make up the lost support or risk losing the journal (either through death of the journal or to another, richer publisher).
At a time when some are calling increases beyond the rate of inflation as unjustified under any conditions (such as the item from Maureen Pastine in NSPI #31 called _SMU Acts to Control Subscription Costs_), it is very difficult to see how to resolve these problems. In addition publishers face the need for increased purchasing of new technology (as do librarians), mandated salary increases from their universities (if the universities are lucky enough to give any increase). To hold price increases to 4% is very difficult if not impossible in the face of these, not to mention production and mailing cost increases.
University presses need more support from their institutions, as Tony Stankus mentioned in NSPI #38. They need to be adding journals programs. They need to be doing more journals. They need to be able to support more financial risk in order to compete successfully against the larger houses. All of these require funding and support. Universities must realize that when they cut support for a journal's editorial office, or support of their university press (either in terms of money or in terms of limitations on growth), there are negative impacts to other sides of their budget, particularly in the library's budget.
I appreciate the librarians' support of our publishing program. In the past two years we have been investing heavily in new publications in response to the needs of the market. This has put financial burdens on all our publications. I hope we can all take the long view during this stressful time rather than resort to black-and-white judgements and recriminations.
I would be happy to respond directly to your concerns about our journals. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
40.4 HAMAKER'S HAYMAKERS
Chuck Hamaker, Louisiana State University, NOTCAH@LSUVM.BITNET.
Early word on prices for European serials for 1993 is disastrous for American libraries which are only this year beginning to recover and react fully to 1990-91 price increases.
US currency rates are about 22% weaker than a year ago against the Dutch Guilder and the Pound Sterling (compared to the exchange rate used last year for Pergamon). The Pound is about 15% below last year's "general" rate of 1.70 and the German Mark is off about 21%.
Elsevier, the largest commercial STM publisher in the world plans to increase guilder prices in the range of 10% to 12% for 1993. Compounded by the dollar's fall, this suggests an overall increase in the prices of Elsevier journals of 30% to 34%. There is some indication that European and Japanese central banks have decided the dollar has dropped low enough. The 19th of July a number of them intervened, buying dollars to slow any further erosion. Hopefully things won't get any worse.
This level of price increase is disastrous, but Elsevier is compounding this carnage by announcing a 25% decrease in their discount rate to vendors. That is, they are dropping their generous 10% discount to 7.5%. This discount is only on the base rate, and excludes postage from the calculation. In additon, they have extended their "cap" on discount so that the maximum discount for any Elsevier title is 620 dfl and 120 pounds for Pergamon titles (which have a maximum discount of 6.5%, down from 7.5%).
Of particular concern in the decision to cut the discount rate to vendors at this time of the year is the fact that most vendors have already negotiated service charge levels for customers for the coming payment period and will be hard pressed to maintain satisfactory profit levels of their own given the 25% drop in discount. This is even more critical this year as library cancellations are coming in fairly steadily right now and not only will there be a drop in discount revenue there will be additional effects from cancellations. This is not a good or enviable year to be a vendor. The bottom line on discount reductions is that they add ultimately as a "hidden" cost to libraries. The decrease in discount should be considered as an additional increase in the cost of Elsevier journals, as that is where the cost will land. Discount rate deterioration is an almost direct pass-through to libraries.
Elsevier titles, I predict, will be a focus for targeted review when prices are finally announced. Vendors should receive those prices in the first or second week of August. That gives enough time to get the titles reviewed for response to rate hikes before the end of the calendar year and certainly should permit review before the October dates we traditionally use for finalizing serials lists. Although cancellation sequences normally take 12 to 24 months, these journals may undergo a much faster review turnaround than normal.
I have wondered over the last few weeks if Elsevier understands the cancellation cycle effect of price increases. It takes 12 to 24 months for the effect of one wave of price increases to work its way through the system. Thus, although 1992 price increases in dollars from Elsevier and other European based companies were generally (with the exception of Pergamon) quite low, 1992 and 1993 cancellations are the result of 1990-91 price increases. With high 1993 rates of increase, Elsevier and other publishers will force cancellations for 1993, 1994 and 1995. The market responds slowly but the long wave effect is very real and may not factor in calculations of the effect of increases in price. On the short short term side, companies almost never see the immediate effect of price increases.
Many libraries have wrung out the non-essential titles on their lists and now must find other reasons and means to target for cancellation. This is not a year libraries can expect "bail-outs" from strapped university budgets. Princeton's reaction to Pergamon increases in 1992 may become a model for us all.
Readers of the NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES are encouraged to share the information in the newsletter by electronic or paper methods. We would appreciate credit if you quote from the newsletter.
The NEWSLETTER ON SERIALS PRICING ISSUES (ISSN: 1046-3410) is published by the editor through UNC-Chapel Hill's Office for Information Technology, as news is available. Editor: Marcia Tuttle, BITNET: TUTTLE@UNC.BITNET; Internet: Marcia_Tuttle@unc.edu; Paper mail: Serials Department, CB #3938 Davis Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill NC 27599- 3938; Telephone: 919 962-1067; FAX: 919 962-0484. Editorial Board: Deana Astle (Clemson University), Jerry Curtis (Springer Verlag New York), Charles Hamaker (Louisiana State University), James Mouw (University of Chicago), and Heather Steele (Blackwell's Periodicals Division). The Newsletter is available on BITNET/Internet and Blackwell's CONNECT. EBSCO and Readmore Academic customers may receive the Newsletter in paper format from these companies. Back issues of the Newsletter are available electronically free of charge through electronic mail from the editor.