What's on the menu at the soup kitchen?

  • In this increasingly complex world of learned information delivery and discovery - is it possible that the "free lunch" the Publishing world worries about could come true? Although Open Access and Institutional Repositories have not (yet) created the "scorched earth" effect many were predicting, they are slowly and inevitably gaining momentum. Broader access to top-level information via Google (and others) does indeed appear to be "good enough" for many in their search for content. But you rarely get food for free in a good quality restaurant. You pay for the selection, preparation, speed and expertise of the delivery. At the soup kitchen the food can often be filling - but the queue will be long, the wait even longer and there is no chance of silver service or à la carte. If you are unfortunate enough to have little choice then this may be a great solution. Others will be willing to pay for a more satisfactory meal. As in all aspects of life, diversification and specialisation are fundamental forces. The publishing community in the years to come will continue to develop its offerings for a variety of needs that require more than just broth. To stretch the analogy, the ongoing presence of tap water in our lives has done little to halt the extraordinary rise of bottled water as part of our staple diet. Business reality will continue to settle these types of debate; my bet is that the commercial publishers see a role as providing information that commands an intrinsic value proposition to enough customers to remain economically viable for some time to come. Inspired by the comments and ideas expounded by Dr. James O'Donnell of Georgetown University on the liblicense listserv on 20th July this year, this paper will look to expand on the analogy and identify the good, the bad - but importantly the difference in information quality and access that will result in the radically changed (but still co-existent) information landscape of tomorrow.

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Author:Simon Beale
Parent Title (German):Vortrag am 5th Frankfurt Scientific Symposium, 22-23 Oktober 2005
Document Type:Conference Proceeding
Date of Publication (online):2005/10/28
Year of first Publication:2005
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2005/10/28
Page Number:19
Source:Vortrag am 5th Frankfurt Scientific Symposium, 22-23 Oktober 2005
Institutes:Zentrale Einrichtung / Universitätsbibliothek
Dewey Decimal Classification:0 Informatik, Informationswissenschaft, allgemeine Werke / 02 Bibliotheks- und Informationswissenschaften / 020 Bibliotheks- und Informationswissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoDeutsches Urheberrecht