Excellent comments Mr. Hadden.  Many of us in the VA are equally
concerned with that organization's headlong rush down the yellow brick

Rich DeRosa
VA Medical Library
215 N Main St
White River Junction, VT 05009

I spend almost as much time figuring out what's wrong with my computer
as I do actually using it.

                         ~~~~~Clifford Stoll  "Silicon Snake Oil"

-----Original Message-----
From: FEDLIB: Federal Librarians Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On Behalf Of Hadden, Robert L ERDC-TEC-VA
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 3:59 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Print v. Digital

	The library discussion group, LIBRef-L, discussed this topic
recently. See one of the messages at their archives at:
	Virtual media have their place, but so do traditional media.
After all, SOAPBOX=ON a virtual only library is a "pervirted library"
and their librarian proponents are all pervirts. ;-) SOAPBOX=OFF
	Actually, I'm more interested in reading reports of why "virtual
only" libraries have failed, and why they most often end up buying books
and paper journals as well as electronic media. Alas! Most negative data
are not maintained, in either paper or electrons.
	This topic often comes up since 1995, and I'm curious why.
Eventually the virtual library will have to change format (does anyone
really believe .pdf and .html will be the major formats twenty years
from now?). At that point, all those millions of pages will have to be
reformatted again if they want to remain in use. Talk about copyright
and budget complications at that point will be interesting.
	At another research library, I remember with regret a large
cabinet filled with 5.25 diskettes that were unusable. Although after
much work, a 5.25" diskette reader could be found, much of the data
depended upon older software that was no longer available for use, such
as WordStar and DBase I.
Photocopying the front of the diskette would be about as much use as
sending it out on interlibrary loan.
	The brand new Monterrey College in California was ballyhooed a
few years ago, as the president demanded a new library built from
scratch that wouldn't have any books at all, because all the students
would get all their information online. Didn't last long in the real
world, since the annual costs for access to off-site media were
phenomenal, and the limitations on what was available virtually were
	Which brings up an interesting point- much of the business
principles of librarianship are cost effective work, since it is cheaper
to have one spot on campus where all the books are gather and kept for
years, rather than have all the professors and their students purchase
what they need individually, and which volumes leave the campus when
they do. 
	Unless the library has control over the electronic version on
their own site with permission to reformat or copy to new servers as
needed, they are at the mercy of the owners increasing costs or denying
access or not maintaining the resource at all. At least when it's
physically present, there on the library shelf, it is most often a
one-time deal, not an annual license (Yeah, yeah, I know, you have a few
exceptions and want to argue those exceptions. Get real. You know what I
	The computer has turned this message of library cost
effectiveness on its head by insisting that the library be based on
access, most recently so the library handles the bookkeeping of the
electronic media that goes directly to the student's desktop, where ever
that is. I would have more respect for this new vision, if the people
who are having visions would also cough up the money to pay for their
visionary hallucinations. Are they committed to pay over and over again
for access to books and journal subscriptions online? 
	The solutions for a virtual only library are all so easy. And
After all, nothing at all is impossible along as someone else pays the
bills, does all the work, and maintains all the equipment. Just ask any


R. Lee Hadden
Geospatial Information Library (GIL)
Topographic Engineering Center
7701 Telegraph Road
Alexandria, VA 22315-3864
(703) 428-9206
[log in to unmask]

-----Original Message-----
From: FEDLIB: Federal Librarians Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
On Behalf Of Freda McDonald
Sent: Thursday, May 11, 2006 2:17 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: Print v. Digital

Can I get copy too?  

Freda McDonald
Financial Manager
US Sentencing Commission

202-502-4517 (voice)
202-502-4699 (fax)

>>> [log in to unmask] 5/11/2006 1:42 PM >>>
If anyone has done a study of converting all or part of the library's
collection from print to digital, or has actually done so independent of
a study, please let me know.  Thanks.

Daniel May
Supervisory Librarian
Commodity Futures Trading Commission
1155 21st Street, NW
Washington, DC 20581
(202) 418-5254