[linux-elitists] More sites targeted -- another view (fwd)

Ben Woodard woodard@redhat.com
Sun Nov 17 08:11:01 PST 2002

Thought: If it was so worthless why did the industry lobby so hard
against it?


On Sat, 2002-11-16 at 02:34, Eugen Leitl wrote:
> I notice you picked up the same article, here's a followup on a 1300
> strong list of librarians and (chemical) information professionals,
> including government and private sector.
> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Fri, 15 Nov 2002 08:16:02 -0800
>     <CHMINF-L@indiana.edu>
> Subject: More sites targeted -- another view
> Personally, I'm tired of both sides of the PubScience debacle coloring the
> facts and attempting to spin the issue.
> Although I expressed my support during the comments period for the
> continuation of PubScience, it was not a real research caliber database.
> The database did not provide subject indexing comparable to PubMed or
> INSPEC.  It did provide easy, free access to abstracts of journal articles
> from multiple publishers in one place.  Convenient -- absolutely.
> A couple of quotes in the FCW article Eugene Litl forwarded
> <http://www.fcw.com/fcw/articles/2002/1111/web-science-11-13-02.asp> are
> especially galling.  Emily Sheketoff, from ALA's Washington Office, is
> quoted:
> She predicted that the elimination of PubScience will have a "big financial
> impact" on research libraries.
> The financial impact on research libraries, in point of fact, will be ZERO.
> No research library, deserving of the "research" designation, was dependent
> upon PubScience for subject access to the literature.  The database didn't
> have the intellectual effort of a professional indexing staff behind it.
> (Neither do Scirus or the other free commercial sector "indexes".)
> The tragedy is a "tragedy of the commons"; the casual web surfer, the
> independent scholar, students at smaller institutions are the ones who will
> feel the loss most intensely.  Many public libraries, K-12, community
> colleges, 4-year colleges do not have the wherewithal to provide unlimited
> access to Compendex, INSPEC, and other major subject databases.  PubScience
> was a free utility to help bridge that gap.
> Susan Martin is identified in the article as a "Massachusetts-based academic
> library consultant".  Her contention:
> Closure of the site means that articles from several small scientific
> publications "that aren't available anywhere else will no longer be
> available," she said.
> is equally disingenuous and laughable.  None of the publishers contributing
> to PubScience, nor the DoE, were providing fulltext for free.  Pay per view
> access to the articles was not an option in the PubScience service, either.
> The articles were never available through PubScience.
> If the issue is indexing, or visibility, the small society publishers very
> likely did sustain a hit with the demise of PubScience.  The articles are
> certainly available through ILL, just as they always have been to
> nonsubscribing institutions.  The ability to identify these articles, at
> minimal expense to the enduser is what has been diminished.
> A truthful and honest discourse is the best recourse for librarians in
> combating what may indeed be the first salvo in a long battle to keep public
> sector information services in operation.
> George S. Porter
> Sherman Fairchild Library of Engineering & Applied Science
> Caltech, 1-43
> Pasadena, CA  91125-4300
> Telephone (626) 395-3409 Fax (626) 431-2681
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Ben Woodard <woodard@redhat.com>

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