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Re: PDF request
Speaking from personal experience, I find tracking down a reference in
an actual library to be much more satisfying. Plus you have the option
of looking up additional papers that are referenced by the one you
wanted (and finding an unexpected gem in the same journal issue that you
didn't even know existed). It's only in the case of very rare or
hard-to-get papers that I'd resort to begging for a PDF. Certainly for
such common journals as Gaia or JVP I'd head to a library first...
I agree on most of your points, but PDFs have a few important advantages
over paper copies: lots of them together don't take up more physical space
than a USB key or at most a laptop, and they are searchable.
And no, Gaia is not a common journal. Let alone the English edition of Acta
Geologica Sinica (perhaps uniquely in Europe, the huge library of the Museum
of Natural History in Paris has the Chinese edition, which is an entirely
different journal, but it still doesn't have the English edition which
describes all the dinosaurs). And that goes twice for The Cycad Newsletter.