Survey on problems with accessing electronic journals in the context of academic libraries

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Purpose: Academic libraries are increasingly collecting many electronic journals and their collections are shifting from printed versions to electronic versions. Unfortunately, it is difficult for academic libraries to properly keep their own electronic journal collections, because the collections can generally be accessed only from the delivery platforms provided by each publisher. In order to enable academic libraries to improve access to electronic journals for end users, this study surveyed the ease of accessing information across the platforms. The reasons why appropriate information was not provided were also identified. Methods: First, bibliographic data of electronic journals published by 15 major publishers were collected. Second, the author chose 302 electronic journals for which special measures have to be taken due to a change such as change of title, transfer to other publisher, consolidation with other journal, cessation of publication, and so on. Next, the websites of delivery platforms were manually checked to identify whether appropriate measures for each change had been taken. The target period for changes was 2006 to 2007, and each website was checked from September through October 2007. Results: The main results were: 1) the websites of 23 electronic journals had lost the full text; 2) the websites of 208 electronic journals had some problems with access, though they had the full text. Main causes were that a) a publisher stopped providing services for a ceased electronic journal, and b) transferring publishers and receiving publishers failed to take measures after electronic journals had been transferred from one publisher to the other. Some of the problems will be improved by the TRANSFER Project and electronic journal archives. If academic libraries throughout Japan were to create a union catalog of electronic journals, access problems might be improved.




Yokoi, K. (2010). Survey on problems with accessing electronic journals in the context of academic libraries. Library and Information Science, (63), 61–79.

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