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Re: "The age of information"

Last post from me on this: Evidently the situation has
been partially rectified (recently) locally in that
walk-ins can now access "most" databases, so I feel
better. Also see below.

--- Phil Bigelow <bigelowp@juno.com> wrote:

> On Fri, 25 Feb 2005 07:51:34 -0800 (PST) don ohmes
> <d_ohmes@yahoo.com>
> writes:
> > 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.

I suggested that a "tuition fee" for a not-for-credit
free-lance "student" status be charged that allows
distant access...was told "they (Elsevier, et. al.)
won't let us do that". I'm going to try again soon,
higher on the food chain.
> 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.

A paranoid and hopefully unnecessary thought
experiment: What if throughout history critical
documents (say, the Constitution) had been stored in
one location, and accessed remotely...further imagine
that if the document were altered no could detect,
prove, and/or rectify the situation as no other copy
exists...no need to burn all the books if you can hack
a central database?
Peace, and a return to dinos...


> <pb>
> --