The University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Library and
Center for Knowledge Management and the University of California
Press (UC Press) have collaborated in the publication of a book
on the World Wide Web. In May 1996, UC Press published the hardcover
edition of The Cigarette Papers. The book offers a comprehensive
analysis of internal documents from the Brown and Williamson Tobacco
Company, the nation's third largest cigarette manufacturer. The
Library and Center for Knowledge Management published the electronic
edition of the book on the World Wide Web in July 1996. This was
an important project for a number of reasons. It supports the
scholarly work of UC San Francisco faculty with three of the five
authors located on this campus. The publication strengthened the
library's Tobacco Control Archives, a collection of papers, reports,
and manuscripts that document California's leadership to regulate
smoking. Additionally, the publication is a logical extension
of another library electronic publishing project, the Brown and
Williamson documents. Finally, the project offers both the press
and the library an environment to better understand electronic
publishing issues. This paper will describe the products resulting
from the Brown and Williamson document collection - two Internet
products, one hardcover book, a series of journal articles, and
one compact disc (CD) - and comment on associated issues in electronic
The Library's involvement in these projects came unexpectedly
through the development of a Tobacco Control Archives, created
to document tobacco control policies and the anti-smoking movement
in California. Early in its development, the archives received
two anonymous boxes containing records and papers from the Brown
& Williamson Tobacco Corporation. The boxes arrived in Stanton
Glantz's office, a professor at UCSF and an anti-tobacco activist.
Sent anonymously by "Mr. Butts," the same materials
were also received by Congressman Henry Waxman and New York
Times reporter Philip Hilts.[1, 2,
3] The papers described the scientific research,
marketing, and corporate policy from 1960s - 1980s, including
studies reporting on the effects of nicotine. Glantz transferred
the boxes to the library to add to its growing archival collection.
After processing the material at a minimal level, the Library
offered public access to the paper collection. As the materials
received increasing attention from the media, the tobacco company
initiated legal action seeking return of the boxes.
When the University refused, Brown and Williamson sued the University
of California demanding not only the return of the documents but
the names of any individual who had used the material, the substance
of their research and publications, and asked the courts to issue
a Temporary Restraining Order on access to the documents until
the case was decided. Also, at this time,
the library discovered that the tobacco company had hired private
investigators to observe users of special collections even though
the university had agreed to remove the documents from public
Four months later, the California Superior Court rejected the
move to suppress the material. The court said that the documents
were not 'stolen' since the Library simply had copies which were
leaked. The library's intent to publish the documents on the Internet
and a CD ROM turned the case into a First Amendment issue similar
to that of the Pentagon Papers. Thus, the courts were reluctant
to block dissemination of the information to the public.
Since this was the first significant disclosure about the internal
workings of a tobacco company and the documents themselves had
generated considerable media attention, the Library staff anticipated
significant demand from the general public. Publishing the collection
electronically solved the access problem. Staff scanned, indexed,
and published 8,000 pages on the Internet. At midnight on June
30, 1995, the Brown and Williamson documents were distributed
as scanned graphical images on the World Wide Web through Galen
II, the digital library for UCSF <http://www.library.ucsf.edu/tobacco>.
A CD ROM version was available for sale within a few months.
The library confronted several issues with this first project.
First, from a public policy perspective, the material in the collection
provided a window into the internal operations of a tobacco company.
Its release created a climate for subsequent releases of 'secret'
records from tobacco companies and offered evidence to support
the proposed federal regulations limiting cigarette sales.
The collection also raised policy questions for archives staff.
Archivists on an email discussion list debated the advisability
of accepting material of uncertain provenance and the implications
for future donations to archives. The nearly month-long international
discussion focused ultimately on the responsibilities of archivists
to their institution, their profession, and to the public at a
time when Library of Congress and other major libraries and archives
were facing similar issues. Archivists voiced concern about the
credibility of repositories that collect business records, the
influence that the Brown and Williamson collection would have
on corporate archives records retention schedules, and the responsibility
of archivists and archival repositories to make information available
to the public. Summing up this latter discussion thread one archivist
stated "archivists should avoid political advocacy as a profession,
but we cannot shun the responsibility to promote the public's
right to know."
The business model for this product was based upon free access
through the Internet but charging for the CD product. The CD was
priced to recover development costs. Despite free use on the web,
individuals are willing to pay $250 for content in CD ROM format.
Fortunately, the initial development expenses have been recovered
with current sales. Free access did create significant use on
the web. During the first year over 500,000 pages were viewed
from 44,000 unique hosts. Interest in the material continues with
40,000 pages viewed in July 1996 more than a year after its release.
Also, as expected, use of the material was recorded within minutes
of its release on the web at midnight.
The Brown and Williamson documents were products in themselves,
as freely distributed Internet documents, in CD-ROM format,
and also as primary source material for articles and the book,
The Cigarette Papers. The articles and book were based
upon an in-depth analysis of the collection by five experts, three
of whom are located at UCSF. Through indexing and analyzing the
8,000 pages from the Brown and Williamson collection the authors
first prepared a set of articles published in Journal of the
American Medical Association in July 1995
At the same time, they expanded the articles with plans to sell
manuscript rights to a commercial publisher. While the publishers
who reviewed the manuscript thought the book had significant promise,
their corporate lawyers were not willing to face possible legal
challenges. The UC Press was the logical publisher since the university
had succeeded in court.
The library viewed the book resulting from the in-depth analysis
as an extension of the tobacco archives and approached UC Press
about access to the electronic publishing rights. While technically
there were few challenges in putting the digital content on the
web, negotiations between the Press, the Library, and the authors
took several months. Both the Press and the Library were struggling
to agree upon costs that should be covered in the electronic version.
The Library based its negotiations on a set of licensing principles
adopted by the UC Libraries. One of the Principles for Acquiring
and Licensing Information in Digital Format
was that UC libraries would not pay costs associated with production
of the paper edition. The model to which all parties finally agreed
appropriated royalty payments to the press and the authors. The
press's royalties cover a share of its first copy costs (not including
print, paper, binding and distribution). The agreement also contains
a sliding scale for royalties with larger payments for greater
In the negotiations, both the Press and the Library discussed
charging and authentication options. While a one-time charge followed
the book pricing model, the library favored one that would allow
it to recover some of the continuous expenses associated with
maintaining an electronic product. After considerable discussion,
the subscription pricing with annual renewals was adopted. This
would provide a steady stream of income to support maintenance
and the possible addition of new content. Additionally, the subscription
pricing offered an opportunity to cancel the agreement with appropriate
notice to all parties. The one-time book pricing model implied
perpetual access, a condition that the library could not accept.
Authentication is accomplished in two ways, depending upon the
type of subscription selected. For individual access passwords
are issued. Institutional accounts are based upon the establishment
of an IP subnet address. A modified Apache HTTP server supports
both types of authentication.
Released in July 1996 the Internet version
supports direct linkages from the text to the Brown and Williamson
documents referenced in the book. The ability to search on each
word in the text offers much broader access to the content than
through the index of the paper product. In essence, the linkages
offer readers immediate access to the same primary source material
used by the authors in writing the book. The preface and first
chapter have unrestricted access to permit potential subscribers
to review the product prior to purchase. For those wanting to
enter a subscription, the web address provides an order form and
further information about the product.
Although experience with The Cigarette Papers Online is
limited to a few months, a few aspects about the business issues
are worth noting. Sales over the Internet have been disappointing.
The significant number of sales of the hardcover book has not
led to comparable sales online. The Library is investigating the
reasons for this difference and will implement a new marketing
plan in the next few months to increase awareness about the product.
Based upon success with sales of the Brown and Williamson CD,
discussions are beginning about the possibility of producing a
CD of the electronic text that would contain all of the referenced
Brown and Williamson documents. Neither the authors nor the press
have been approached since the technical feasibility and costs
are not yet determined. During the discussions about the economic
model, librarians who participated in the product's development
had to look at economic issues differently. Generally, librarians
would prefer to price products as low as possible reflecting their
concern about collection budgets. As a publisher, it is essential
that the price recover costs causing some conflicting viewpoints.
The final conclusion from this project is one that has been voiced
often about electronic products. There is very little research
about how individuals use information in electronic format and
what they are willing to pay for on the Internet.
These projects were significant ventures for the UCSF Library
and Center for Knowledge Management. They offered a unique testbed
to learn more about online publishing models, they demonstrated
new collaborative models, and they suggested possible new roles
for libraries in the digital world.
 Hilts, Philip J. Way to Make Safer Cigarette was Found in 60's, but Idea was Shelved. New York Times. 1994 May 13:143;A10.
 Hilts, Philip J. Tobacco Company was Silent on Hazards. New York Times. 1994 May 7;143:1.
 Hilts, Philip J. Uneasy Days for Tobacco Makers. New York Times. 1994 May 1;143:E2.
 MacLachlan, Claudia. Tobacco 'Secret' in SF Library. National Law Journal. 1995 Feb 13;17(24):A6-7.
 Lehrman, Sally. University Blocks Efforts to Reveal Researcher's Identity. Nature. 1995 Mar 9;374(6518):195.
 Schwartz, John. Tobacco Firm Accused of Library 'Stake Out'. Washington Post. 1995 Feb 26;118:A7.
 Wiener, Jon. The Cigarette Papers. The Nation. 1996 Jan 1;262(1):13.
 University to Display Tobacco Documents. New York Times. 1994 Jul 4;144:8.