2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 9:15 AM


NOGA, Michael Mark, Science Library, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 14S-134, 77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139-4307, mnoga@mit.edu

Geoscience has a rich literature published by long-established societies of various sizes, geological surveys and institutes, universities, and commercial publishers. Twenty years ago, libraries collected this literature through subscriptions, government depositories, and gift and exchange programs. Indexes, browsing in libraries, and the invisible college were gates to this literature. This situation has changed considerably. Now much of the literature is available in digital formats and through the Internet. Journal exchange programs are greatly reduced. Indexes have moved online. Geoscience information seekers can get many full-text articles from electronic journals or authors by e-mail.

The removal of geographic barriers to geoscience information retrieval creates challenges as was as opportunities. A Google ™ search can yield several hits on a subject, but the key works may not appear in the top results. Complete access to most commercial and society publications and the large subject databases is not free, and access must be acquired under license or one-time access must be purchased with a credit card. Publications that are not fully available on the Web may get less attention from researchers and students.

Many geoscience libraries are still cancelling journals. A 1998 study examined whether North American libraries were reducing the availability of foreign regional geoscience journals because they had to maintain current collections of the major international journals. The results showed a steady cancellation in the number of foreign geoscience serials in North American libraries.

This study re-examines the availability of non-North American regional geoscience literature. It investigates five questions: Has the production of foreign regional literature been reduced; is the literature getting indexed; are libraries still collecting the regional literature; is the regional literature available on the Web; and is the foreign regional literature getting cited? The results indicate to some extent whether the diverse regional geoscience literature is being swamped by the large international journals.