Three vendors of electronic publishing resources from both the for-profit and non-profit world presented their Internet accessible products in a session at the APLIC annual conference in March, 1997. Advances in technology are enabling these suppliers to help libraries and academic institutions to solve problems of storage and access at a cost far less than that of traditional print media.
The World Wide Web offers the enduser not only the possibility of linking to a database to search for citations, but of downloading the cited articles themselves. The J-Stor Project (www.jstor.org) originally funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has the goal of making a core scholarly periodical collection available in full runs on the Internet to its member institutions, which pay a one-time database fee of $7500 to $40,000, plus an annual access fee ranging from $1500 to $5000. Any authorized user at a member institution can then search the J-Stor database, compile a bibliography, then link directly to the full text, with images, of the articles listed. Back issues will always be accessible immediately, requiring no shelf space and no handling. A variety of academic and scholarly institutions of all sizes, including approximately half of conference attendees' organizations, currently subscribe to J-Stor. APLIC members will probably be most interested in the six sociology and seven demography titles offered in the growing list. A free demonstration of a small number of titles can be found at J-Stor's URL.
Faxon, now owned by Dawson Company,
( www.faxon.com/Serials/Eltronmedia/electronicmedia.html) has been well-known for decades as a subscription agent, but has now expanded into full-text access to electronic journals through a Web-based user interface. Information Quest (IQ) lets the user search on any word within an article from the 6 million citations in over 12,000 journals in its database, which includes issues back to 1990. An alert service is also offered, and plans include future linking to library OPACs.
Cambridge Scientific Abstracts has the Internet Database Service ( www.csa.com/ijs-desc.html) providing subscribers, who pay a flat fee, unlimited access to more than 80 databases in the sciences and environment published by CSA and its partners, such as the National Library of Medicine and EMBASE. There are links to several document delivery companies. More than half of the institutions from which APLIC conference attendees come currently use CSA products. While the company is eager to expand its services among our membership, its offerings are slim in population and reproductive health. A personalized APLIC conference Internet Database Service Preview is on the CSA homepage ( www.csa.com/aplic/index.htm.)
These vendors gave live demonstrations of their services, all of which aim to solve some of the problems APLIC members undoubtedly face, from lack of storage space to lack of access to publications. In collaboration with electronic publishers they may help us, or at least those of us affiliated with universities, in our struggle with limited resources, provided we can afford the considerable cost of subscribing. The question of the future of interlibrary loan is unanswered in the face of fee-for-service document delivery systems and electronic publishing. Let us hope the benefits of web-based technology will trickle down to smaller libraries and information centers.