Foreword to the 1995 Directory by Ann Okerson

[See also her Introduction to the 6th Edition 1996]
[I. Journals and Newsletters] [II. Academic Discussion Lists] [Enhancements]
[Highlights of the Past Year] [1. Growth] [GRAPHS of growth] [2. Critical Mass on the Internet] [3. Web comes into its own] [4. Preprints] [5. Major Initiatives] [6. Copyright challenges]


Purpose and Scope:
What began as one of the first Internet directories of any kind (in
July 1991) has now become a standard reference work for an
ever-burgeoning field.  This is the fifth year of publication of the
Directory of Electronic Journals, Newsletters, and Academic
Discussion Lists.  Again we offer readers a snapshot of the
academically-related serials on the Internet.  (Serials are defined by
library and information professionals as "publications intended to be
continued indefinitely.")  The book is organized into two sections
prepared by two different groups of cybrarians.  Both groups welcome
any additional information and entries that readers provide to them.

Section I: Journals and Newsletters The first part of Section I comprises journals, magazines and 'zines; the second part includes not only newsletters but also other hard-to-characterize types of serials such as digests, reference works, bulletins, and other network hybrids. Based on work initially begun by Michael Strangelove at the University of Ottawa, the Journals and Newsletters section of this Directory has become a database created and maintained by Lisabeth King, Research Assistant at the ARL Office of Scientific and Academic Publishing, while she pursued her graduate work in library studies at the Catholic University of America. She will now leave the project after two years to pursue her professional career.

In the current edition, the number of journal and newsletter titles (nearly 700) has increased by over 2/3 since 1994 sixfold since the first edition (there were 110 listings in 1991, 240 in 1993, and over 400 last year), and, as the acknowledgments make clear, many people contribute information and assistance to the project. [See CHARTS on incresed numbers.] The Journals and Newsletters Section aims to be as comprehensive as possible, and the entries represent all information that was received and verified through the middle of April 1995.

The entries originate from a number of sources:

To subscribe to NewJour, send e-mail to
with nothing on the subject line and the simple message SUBSCRIBE
NewJour.  Do NOT put your NAME or ADDRESS anywhere in the message, for
it confuses the majordomo program and slows processing of your
request.  In case of list-management difficulties, send e-mail to
James O'Donnell:  New postings are directed
either to, or to  All postings
are moderated.

On March 15, 1995, NewJour announced a searchable archive of all postings since the list began in 1993. The archive provides a means of updating this Directory between printed editions and as of May 1, 1995 contains over 300 journal and newsletter messages. It is available by gopher (bookmark and URL below) from the CCAT server. The archive itself was prepared and is updated by Lisabeth King of ARL. There is a WAIS-indexed search function, via which readers may ask for all postings with a particular word (e.g., psychology) and get a quick listing of titles to view. Readers are free to add this link to their own gopher and WWW pages. The archive will continue to grow with each new NewJour posting.

   Name=NewJour (A Listing of New Electronic Journals)
   Path=1/Journals, Newsletters and Publications/newjour
   Admin=Gopher Admin +1  215-898-9892 
   ModDate=Tue Mar 14 15:59:16 1995 <19950314155916>

   Publications/newjour  [NB:  There are no blank spaces in the URL]

   [UPDATE 24July95!: Easier URL:
   gopher:// Try it!]

   [UPDATE 5Oct95!: Best yet, try this Webbed URL:]

Section II: Academic Discussion Lists

The scope of this section is electronic conferences, bulletin boards,
and discussions of an academic nature that are found on Bitnet,
Internet, and various other linked networks.  A team headed for the
fifth year in a row by Diane Kovacs of the Kent State University
Libraries, comprising several of her colleagues from that and other
institutions, uses its judgment in deciding what topics are of primary
interest to scholars, researchers, and students.  Last year for the
first time, a number of the leading Usenet groups make their debut and
this year some conferencing tools such as MUDs and MOOs appear.

Since 1991 these listings have increased in size by five times, from 517 originally to nearly 2,500. There is no precise count of the whole universe of electronic discussions, groups, conferences, and bulletin boards, though numbers such as 20,000 or 30,000 or more are frequently advanced. Therefore, the Kovacs team provides a particularly valuable service in culling that universe. The other service they offer is in making the information available on the Internet for free to all users through the facilities of Kent State University. They update the resources twice a year. This printed book is derived from the first of each of those two annual revisions, with re-formatting, indexing, and editing added. The directions for access to the networked versions are given in Diane Kovacs' introduction at the start of the Lists section.

Enhancements Every year, we seek to provide readers with additional features that describe the electronic serials landscape or facilitate navigation through it. Again, we have hunted for the best theoretical or conceptual, visionary article written in the journal or book literature on the topic of electronic publishing. This year, high energy physicist Paul Ginsparg's _Computers in Physics_ article about the Los Alamos preprint server(s) wins our informal first prize for lead piece. Ginsparg's vision for preprints, and the work he has done to enable them, has revolutionized scientific communications and offers researchers a glimpse of how the powerful new computer communications technologies in practice could transform sci-tech journals. Ginsparg has updated his journal article with new data as of the end of April 1995. His essay joins previously selected, important essays on changing scholarly and scientific communications, including Geoffrey Nunberg's (Xerox PARC) view of the "Places of Books" (1994), James O'Donnell's (University of Pennsylvania) "St. Augustine to NREN" (1993), and Stevan Harnad's (University of Southhampton) "The Post-Gutenberg Galaxy" (1992).

Birdie MacLennan (University of Vermont), herself a long-time cybersurfer and creator/moderator of a number of innovative electronic fora in serials librarianship, undertook for the second year in a row to analyze a new genre of library collection. She offers a lengthy review article about serials sites on the Internet. While directing readers to "library" sites for e-serials and describing what they will see there, her work is all the more useful for the message that lurks throughout: the way in which the library community is making Internet serials available has a long way to go. In last year's review, she advocated establishing standards for electronic serials collections as well as developing far better search mechanisms to exploit the full value of the works. This year, she finds that the growth in number of sites does not necessarily mean that those sites are reliably updated or that the links made from sites to journals at other sites are kept current. Important sites have disappeared, causing links to them to become instantly invalid. The good news is that multiplicity of sites and redundance of important Internet journals mean that things of value can be found --- usually.

Charles Bailey, Editor-in-Chief of one of the Internet's "oldest" (1991) e-journals, the _PACS Review_, has let the Directory reproduce his fine [gopher] or [html] electronic publishing bibliography of Spring 1995, and Steve Outing has again allowed us to reproduce his listing of newspapers available on the Internet. While newspapers are not quite in the purview of this Directory, it is nonetheless of interest to know that they are being ported to the net in large numbers.

Highlights of the Past Year in Electronic Serials on the Internet We call to your attention six developments of the last year that seem of particular significance for electronic serials:

  1. Continued phenomenal growth rate in publications created on and for the Internet. [See CHARTS of growth]

    Again, the growth of refereed journals on the Internet has jumped. The number of refereed titles in this Directory has just about doubled in the past year from 74 titles to 142 whose editors describe them as "peer reviewed."

    While some might complain that the movement to electronic journals is not fast enough, this journals growth is remarkable and certainly hopeful, in that most of the refereed titles are easily accessible and the articles in them are available for wide copying and dissemination. For some ten or more years, important studies (such as the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation's _University Libraries and Scholarly Communications_, Washington, DC, ARL, 1992 --- available on the arl gopher at and data from the publishing industry have portrayed a journals publishing system that is pricing itself out of reach of many in the academic community. The latest prognosis for journal prices for 1996 is once again grim. A combination of increased publishing, combined with poor U.S. and Canadian dollar performance and escalating prices for paper, suggest that North America's research libraries could easily pay 12-15% more for their subscriptions next year.

    Such persistent trends add to calls for developing "new" economic models for academic and research journals. In Spring 1994, the Association of American Universities, an organization of 58 of the largest North American research universities, released a series of task force reports (these can be found on the ARL WWW site at: calling for innovative ways of managing the scientific journal enterprise and emphasizing author or institutional ownership retention of articles submitted for publication.

  2. Critical mass on the Internet.

    Experiments continue to proliferate. Traditional academic (paper) publishers last year turned to experiments in journal and book publishing. This year we informally surveyed a dozen or so significant scientific/technical/medical publishers to ask what their plans were for making existing print journals available electronically.

    The number of titles published by each ranges from 1-1100, with two that publish only one title, one that publishes five, four in the 20-30 range, 3 in the 200-300 range, and one with about 1100. Of these publishers, nine have at least one serial available in electronic format; five have serials available for electronic subscription or licensing; one has 23 titles available on STN; and the largest has almost all of its titles available for electronic delivery. Six publishers indicated that they are working on in-house prototypes.

    Projected electronic availability (reply to the question: When do you think a number of current paper serial titles in general could be available electronically by subscription or license?) ranged from 1995-1999, with three respondents not offering a set time. Three believe that many current paper titles will be available electronically in 1996, one said 1998, another said "a couple of years," and a fourth said "three to five years."

    The downside of the publishers' experimentation continues to be that the experiments are limited in critical ways. The biggest drawback is that print publishers are seeking ways to preserve the paper image electronically, offering not text but pictures of text in bit-mapped images, often through the rapidly-obsolescing CD-ROM delivery vehicle. Such efforts fail to take advantage of the best characteristics of networked communications: speed of distribution and access facilitated in several ways. Thus, many of the current experiments, while offering some value, do not advance the interests of the user as fully as possible via electronic networked delivery.

  3. The Web comes into its own.

    Last year, the Directory listed about three dozen journals or magazines created for Web reading/distribution. In this 1995 edition, we note that about 140 titles seem to be available on the Web only (or on the Web and in print) and close to 350 are available either on the Web and gophers or lists, or through Web links to gophers or other ASCII sites.

  4. Preprints, Working Documents, Technical Papers, and Works in Progress.

    Already the Internet has created an expectation that materials can be shared among scholars and researchers, shared very early in the process of scholarly communication with a wide circle of colleagues and critics. The first researchers to exploit the potential of the net in this way had already been readers of paper preprints and quickly migrated the activity to electronic networks. The Ginsparg article in this edition lists some 30 sites (one with 20 sub-sites) using the LANL/Ginsparg software. On a quick hunt of WWW, gopher, and ftp sites, we identified an additional 25 mathematics preprint servers and a dozen or so in the humanities.

  5. Major Funding Initiatives for Infrastructure and Research.

    A major trend continues to be the nation's investment in building the structures necessary to support vast digital libraries. There is now growing recognition, manifested in the National Science Foundation's Digital Libraries Request For Proposal (RFP) jointly with ARPA and NASA; an ensuing NASA RFP; and others, that the activities detailed above, as well as many other areas of networked publications and communications, need to fold into constructs that allow them to be part of electronic libraries. Many eyes are on the NSF-awarded four-year, $4 million grants for widely partnered projects managed by Carnegie Mellon University, Stanford University, University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Santa Barbara, University of Illinois-Urbana, and University of Michigan.

    Another important series of grants for electronic/digital library projects including a number of journals activities, has come from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. A major project is their "JSTOR" spearheaded by the University of Michigan. It will digitize the entire backfiles of 10 major, long-lived journals in the humanities. Other specific grants in journals publishing have been awarded by Mellon to the Internet's leading review journals, the _Bryn Mawr Reviews_; Johns Hopkins University's Project MUSE for over 40 journals; a new Internet computer science journal from the MIT Press; and the e-journals publishing prototypes at the University of California Press.

  6. Copyright Challenges Authors, Readers, Librarians, Publishing, and Distributing Industries.

    In July 1994, a U.S. government task force on copyright published a Green Paper with recommendations for amending the Copyright Act. A final or White Paper, along with legislative proposals, is scheduled for late spring to early summer of 1995. This document and the subsequent series of Conferences on Fair Use sponsored by the NII Copyright Task Force generated many heated as well as illuminating responses from all the participants in the information chain. It is still far too early days to predict any outcomes in the rights arena. Contrary to the worst fears of publishers or rightsholders, it is not likely that a single copy of an electronic work will be the only copy sold, even as all the rest are shipped informally for free among friends and Inter-netters. Nor is it likely that the worst fears of librarians and readers will be realized --- that every piece of every work that is downloaded will be charged for and that fair use will cease to exist. But where the points in between will be settled are all-important as our society continues to balance the rights of copyright owners and of the reading public. The outcome of the White Paper recommendations should be watched closely over the next year.

    Meanwhile, we who have had a part in this Directory wish you happy cyber-hunting. Without doubt, there is enough in this book to keep readers occupied not just until the next edition, but for many years.

Ann Okerson, Director
Office of Scientific & Academic Publishing
Association of Research Libraries
21 Dupont Circle, NW, Suite 800
Washington, DC  20036
Phone: 202-296-2296
Fax: 202-872-0884

This introduction hypertexted by Philip McEldowney. Comments?
[Last update 5 Oct.1995]

The 1995 Directory (gopher)
Ann Okerson's Page
Association of Research Libraries Web Server
Links about Electronic Scholarly Journals