Reviews. Document Delivery beyond 2000

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 1 March 2000



Pasch, G. (2000), "Reviews. Document Delivery beyond 2000", Internet Research, Vol. 10 No. 1.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

Reviews. Document Delivery beyond 2000


Document Delivery beyond 2000

Morris, A., Jacobs, N. and Davies, E.Taylor Graham PublishingLondon1999188 pp.ISBN 0-947568-76-X$55.00Available: Taylor Graham Publishing, 12021 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 187, Los Angeles, CA 90025

The "Document delivery beyond 2000" conference was held in September 1998 at the British Library. This volume of proceedings contains 17 papers, plus the reports from eight breakout sessions. The conference examined document delivery from two perspectives, and the book is organized into two corresponding sections. The first group of papers examines management issues such as budgeting, collection development, the role of document delivery suppliers, and the needs and desires of end-users. The second part deals with the legal and technical infrastructure and standards needed to create effective document delivery services.

In the introductory chapter, the editors point out that during the conference, the discussion went beyond describing existing systems:

... the vision of many of the participants was of seamless access to documents, from resource discovery through to the delivery of the full-text.

The papers that were presented succeed both in discussing this vision, and in examining the issues that need to be addressed before the ideal, new systems can be implemented. Recurring issues across papers include strategies for checking document requests against library holdings (paper-based or electronic), integrating services offered by different publishers with library catalogs, solving technical problems such as incompatible scanners and software, establishing standards, comparing pricing models, measuring user satisfaction, and making systems easy to use.

Most of the participants are based in Europe, and their papers serve as a good introduction to projects of which practitioners in other regions may not be aware. For example, several papers refer to the focused investigation of document delivery options (FIDDO) project, an initiative funded by the UK Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib). Another project initially funded by the eLib program is LAMDA (London and Manchester document access) which started with five libraries and grew to 50 member libraries by 1998. LAMDA uses the Ariel system and is now operating on a cost recovery basis, achieving a 48-hour turnaround time 86.8 per cent of the time. The DocUTrans service in the Netherlands achieves a 52-hour turnaround time for 80 per cent of the requests received. Documents are sent as PDF files attached to e-mail messages. DocUTrans resulted from a 1997 partnership between the Delft University of Technology Library and the local supplier of Minolta top scanning devices. An index would certainly be a useful addition to this volume, as it would allow the reader easily to check the references to unfamiliar acronyms and projects referenced in various papers.

Each and every paper in this volume contributes an important part to a collage of experiences and opinions that will enrich your understanding of document delivery systems and the context in which they operate. You will even find the occasional, well-timed questioning of the basic assumptions in document delivery. For example, librarians may rush to deliver a document, probably assuming that the user will actually read it as soon as they receive it. However, as Terry Hanson (University of Portsmouth Frewen Library) observes:

Instant access breeds photocopy syndrome: the warm feeling that often accompanies the acquisition of a photocopy of a document. Ease of access equates with "store for later use".

Still, the goal must be to deliver the document just when the user likes - and that's where our job ends.

Grete PaschLibrary Technology ConsultantTexas State Library

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