Bibliographic Databases in the Sciences and Engineering: Are They Going to Survive?
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In light of the increased cost of purchasing library materials in academic institutions in the United States, many institutions are canceling subscriptions to journals and databases from commercial and society's publishers. This paper will discuss the collection management policies at the University of Maryland, College Park (UMCP), give examples of how the recent cancellation is affecting the teaching and research at the University, and the innovative ways librarians are trying to circumvent this difficult period, by discovering and advertising free resources, using pay-per-view models, etc. Special emphasis will be given to resources in engineering and physical sciences. For example, at UMCP, a University with a well-known physics program (ranked #13 among graduate programs in physics by US News and World Report, 2009), since July 1, 2008, faculty and students no longer have access to current INSPEC, the premier physics database (UMCP purchased the INSPEC Archive and access to it will remain intact). This was a very hard decision and the effect will not be known immediately. Will the free Scitopia, Google Scholar, and the like be a good substitute? Participants will be invited to discuss their own experiences.
Invited talk at ICoASL 2008 (International Conference of Asian Special Libraries), New Delhi, India, November 26-28, 2008.