Can links become the new publishing model for the Web?
The Open Journal approach

Steve Hitchcock

Open Journal project
Multimedia Research Group
University of Southampton

The Open Journal project is funded by the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) of the Higher Education Funding Councils, as part of its Electronic Libraries Programme (eLib).

This presentation was given at Multimedia in science: the annual workshop of German scientific societies held on 3-5 March 1997 at Wuerzburg, Germany. It consists of a series of Powerpoint slides prepared for the talk. This is a text-only, single document version of the same presentation, for ease of downloading, with links to those slides that can only be presented as figures.

This version posted on the Web 5th March 1997

Slide 1 Title slide

Slide 2 Aims of the talk

SECTION 1 What journal publishers are doing online

Slide 3 The number of UK journal publishers on the Web: a simple summary table

Slide 4 Why publishers are now prepared to put journals online

In 1997 most journal agents will offer subscriptions to online journals

Slide 5 A question about online journal publishing

What is the difference between a typical Web page and pages from an online journal?

Slide 6 Clue: a sample pdf page

Slide 7 The transition to online journals: Contradiction 1

Originally cautious, journal publishers are now rushing to be online, while many of the early commercial Web sites are becoming disillusioned with the revenue-earning potential.

SECTION 2 The online user's view

Slide 8 The journal user's view: exploding a common myth

Myth The academic 'publish or perish' syndrome has resulted in an information explosion of unread journal articles
Reality The average amount of reading by university scientists appears to be increasing (150 readings per year in 1977 to about 190 in recent surveys)

Slide 9 Scientists who read more are more productive!

... and perform their work better. Award winners read far more on average than others.

Slide 10 But... our ability to access journal materials is deteriorating

What has changed dramatically is that scientists read far more from library-provided journals, while at the same time libraries are reducing their journal collections by relying more on interlibrary loan and document delivery services.

Slides 8-10 Ref. Tenopir and King, 1996, Setting the record straight on journal publishing: myth vs. reality. Library Journal, March 15, 32-35

Slide 11 The transition to online journals: Contradiction 2

The serials crisis at worst leads to journal cancellations, at best is a problem of perception for publishers. With notable exceptions (e.g. Academic Press' IDEAL), the online journal publishing models fail to address this perception and do not attack issues of both pricing and access.

Slide 12 Access to journals (traditional library model)

Ref. Woodward and McKnight, 1995, Electronic journals: issues of access and biliographical control. Serials Review 21 (20), 71-78

Slide 13 Access to online journals (traditional plus Web model)

Slide 14 The transition to online journals: Contradiction 3

The Web tools for accessing online journals essentially support data integration, but pdf journals are primarily designed to be printed out.

Slide 15 A brief historical perspective: some famous quotes

'The human mind ... operates by association ... of thoughts, in accordance with some intricate web of trails ... the intricacy of trails, the detail of mental pictures, is awe-inspiring beyond all else in nature'
Vannevar Bush, As we may think, 1945

'The medium is the message'
'We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us'
Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media, 1964

Slide 16 Current examples of journal citation linking

Slide 17 Three questions for publishers of online journal publishers

  1. Can their preferred formats support access tools for the Web model?
  2. Can they control content in this environment?
  3. Can publishers provide journals that are accessible, interactive and connected?

Slide 18 Answering our earlier question about online journal publishing

What is the difference between a typical Web page and pages from an online journal?
E-journals have relatively few links because
    1. Links are treated as an authoring activity
    2. It is difficult to manage links as a publishing activity

SECTION 3 Applying links: the Open Journal approach

Slide 19 Separating the tasks of link authoring and link publishing

Use a link service - we are using the Distributed Link Service, also being developed at Southampton University - to manage links separately from content.

Slide 20 An Open Journal framework: what we are doing

'Bringing journals alive on the World Wide Web'

Slide 21 Publishers participating in the Open Journal project

Slide 22 Three Open Journals in development: an overview

Slide 23 What is 'open' about an Open Journal?

The defining feature is speed of access and maximum interconnectedness between disparate resources

Slide 24 Where is the 'journal' in an Open Journal?

The 'journal' is bound not by the glue and cover of a paper product, but by a set of links stored in a link database

Slide 25 Features of a link service

Slide 26 A (very) brief chronology of link services (1989- )

1989 Link service concept introduced by Sun Microsystems

1989... Open hypertext research systems: e.g. Microcosm, Hyper-G, Multicard, Hyperbase

1994 Commercial version of Microcosm

1995 Commercial version of Hyper-G

1996 Link services for the Web, HyperWave (built from Hyper-G), Distributed Link Service (based on Microcosm)

SECTION 4 Example: an Open Journal in biology

(Note. These slides can be shown as graphic slides only)

Slide 27 A page for the project's test users, listing the journals and resources that comprise the Open Journal in biology

Slide 28 Opening one of the resources held on a local server

Slide 29 How the server-side link service overlays links on documents: a schematic

Slide 30 How the user sets this up in the browser options

Slide 31 Reloading the document: now it has links!

Slide 32 Scrolling further down the page

Slide 33 Clicking on a link: there is more than one destination

Slide 34 Following one link to an online resource: the Dictionary of Cell Biology at Glasgow University

Slide 35 Opening an online resource from the Open Journal in biology: a BioMedNet journal served in its original form

Slide 36 The same BioMedNet page, now with links from the Open Journal server

Slide 37 The user controls which links are displayed and how they are shown; an experimental controller

Slide 38 The sample pdf page we saw earlier: the link service can even add links to pdf documents!

SECTION 5 Conclusions

Slide 39 Applying the conventional publishing model to online journals

The traditional paper version is the version of record; digital technology is used to provide added value
For: familiar, much as things are now
Against: economics of paper; incompatible media; not the choice of users

Slide 40 An Open Journal view of what online 'journals' may become

Slide 41 Open Journal research credits

Southampton University
Project management, link services, publishing
Prof. Wendy Hall
Les Carr
Steve Harris
Steve Hitchcock

Nottingham University
Acrobat applications
Prof. David Brailsford
Steve Probets
David Evans

How to contact us: email Steve Hitchcock
Web page

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