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D-Lib Magazine
November/December 2008

Volume 14 Number 11/12

ISSN 1082-9873

Evolution in the Area of Digital Scholarly Communication

While scholarly digital publishing has been with us for a number of years, it seems clear that both publishing models and usage models are still derivative of the print era. E-journals and e-books, D-Lib Magazine included, bear more than a passing resemblance to their print analogs. And while the details of the production and publishing processes have changed dramatically from the days of page proofs and snail mail, the big picture remains much the same. This is not to say that there haven't been changes in business models, the use of e-prints and the promise of institutional repositories, to name just a few, but while journal editors or librarians from 1958 would be amazed at the technology we have in 2008, they would have no trouble recognizing the fundamentals of today's scholarly publications. One has to suspect that big changes lie ahead. Two articles in this issue of D-Lib Magazine touch on some of the evolutionary changes in the way scholars are now using digital information as opposed to information in print, and a recently released report provides additional evidence of evolution in the area of digital scholarly communication.

In the article "Electronic Journals and Changes in Scholarly Article Seeking and Reading Patterns", Tenopir and King discuss how reading and citation patterns have evolved due to the availability of articles in electronic format. They base their conclusion that the "advent of digital technologies on searching and publishing...has had a dramatic impact on information seeking and reading patterns in science" are based on their comparisons of research results they have collected over the past three decades.

In his article, "Social Annotations in Digital Library Collections", Rich Gazan describes a case study in which social annotations were integrated with digital items in a question and answer site, and he provides a list of eight decision points that digital libraries should consider if they plan to integrate social annotation functionality with their digital collections.

If you are interested in the evolution of digital scholarly communication, you may also wish to read a just-released report "Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication: Results of an Investigation Conducted by Ithaka for the Association of Research Libraries". This study focuses on eight types of digital scholarly resources: e-only journals; reviews; preprints and working papers; encyclopedias, dictionaries and annotated content; data; blogs; discussion forums; and professional and scholarly hubs. The authors of the study note that while several of these resources "resemble their print predecessors, others are quite novel, making use of the space, speed, and interactivity that the Internet allows."

Bonita Wilson
Corporation for National Research Initiatives


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