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Re: "The age of information"

On Fri, 25 Feb 2005 07:51:34 -0800 (PST) don ohmes <d_ohmes@yahoo.com>
> Offtopic: I write this only because I believe many are
> unaware of this situation. So, FYI -
> I live in a state with several major universities and
> a state mandated open library policy. However, online
> databases cannot be accessed, even from library
> computers, unless you are a paying/paid member
> (student or staff) of the institution. Further, the
> libraries are cutting back on hard copies to save
> money/space. Also older (pre-late 1980's) books and
> journals are being relegated to "remote storage". So,
> ironically, in the "age of information", the general
> body of peer-reviewed scientific lit has become
> partially to largely inaccessible to amateurs and the
> unaffiliated, even to those willing to drive >100 mi.
> Making it nearly impossible to stay current... 
> Given the tendency of societies to evolve toward caste
> systems, will this situation ever improve? And is it
> good for Science, or the beginning of the end?
> Anyhow, kudos to "Dinosaur" and all involved for
> nurturing the flame of academic freedom...and giving
> me  a nice knowledge resource.
> Thanks
> Don

The situation is the same at  my local university.  My U. (with 10,000+
students) dropped the print version of the _Jour. of Paleo._.  Although
GeoRef, Sci. Cit. Index, and other on-line databases are still available
for all "walk-ins", off-campus on-line access to these resources is
limited only to faculty and students.  Even alumni are out of luck.

I don't know how the situation can be changed.  On-line databases and
on-line versions of journals are put out by companies that have every
right to charge a site license fee for access.  But you are correct that
it appears that the "information age" has actually made it tougher, not
easier, for certain subpopulations to access hard-to-find information.

Another "beef" I have with electronic versions of print journals is that
the photographic quality still isn't on a par with the print versions. 
But that is a separate issue.