NEWS AND FEATURES FROM OUP FOR THE ACADEMIC LIBRARY AND INFORMATION COMMUNITY
THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE
INSIDE: INTERVIEW WITH RICHARD GEDYE WHY WIKIPEDIA IS GOOD FOR SCHOLARSHIP THE JOURNAL ARTICLE: PDF OR XML/HTML?
illuminea | EDITORIAL
3 Why Wikipedia is good for scholarship Casper Grathwohl, Publisher, OUP
4&5 Interview with Richard Gedye
Martin Richardson, former Managing Director, OUP
RICHARD GEDYE REFLECTS ON 40 YEARS IN PUBLISHING IN HIS INTERVIEW ON PAGES FOUR AND FIVE
he world of online scholarly content is the main focus of the January 2011 issue of Illuminea, with articles concentrating on navigation within and between resources, web delivery, and Oxford University Press’s online research publishing. On page three, Casper Grathwohl, Publisher at OUP, gives his opinion on the evolution of Wikipedia as the ‘bridge between the validated and unvalidated web’ of academic research. For many, this pathway through the layers of online resource often brings students, researchers, and professionals into contact with OUP’s own content. In ‘The past, present, and future of Oxford Medicine Online’, Ali Bowker, Head of Marketing for Law and Medicine, details the progress so far of just one of Oxford’s collection of online academic resources and looks ahead to what the next two years will bring. The format and navigation of this content, in the delivery of the online journal, is explored in ‘The journal article: PDF or XML/HTML?’, on page 12. Opinion pieces are given by Ad Lagendijk, Professor at the University of Amsterdam, and Martin Fenner, Clinical Fellow in Oncology at Hannover Medical School. This issue also has two interviews with big names in publishing and libraries. On page seven, Sarah Michalak, University Librarian at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, shares her perspective on the current climate of, and challenges faced by, the library community. And, in our double-page feature, Martin Richardson, former Managing Director of Academic Books and Journals Divisions, returns to Oxford University Press to interview Richard Gedye, Research Director, on his retirement from OUP. They talk about Richard’s 40 years in publishing, including online content, publisher-librarian relations, COUNTER, metrics, and much more. Visit the Illuminea website for the four previous editions of Illuminea, translations of the last issues, and to sign up to receive email alerts: www.oup.com/illuminea.
7 Interview with Sarah Michalak, University Librarian, University of North Carolina 8&9 The past, present, and future of Oxford Medicine Online Alison Bowker, Head of Marketing, Law and Medicine, OUP
Conferences and contacts
12 The journal article: PDF or XML/HTML?
Ad Lagendijk, Professor of Experimental Physics, and Martin Fenner, Clinical Fellow
Editor: Lizzie Shannon-Little Editorial Team: Damian Bird, Alison Bowker, Claire Dowbekin, Amanda Hirko, Patricia Hudson, Margaret Love, Colin Meddings, Cath Mundell, Caite Panzer, and Aviva Weinstein. Design: Sequel Group Ltd (www.sequelgroup.co.uk) We value your feedback and would like to know what you think of Illuminea. If you have any suggestions for future issues, or would like to contribute, please email email@example.com.
WIKIPEDIA IS GOOD FOR SCHOLARSHIP Casper Grathwohl, Publisher, OUP
he internet is evolving at a dizzying pace. From the point of view of information delivery, it is fascinating to watch the way in which layers of authority have begun to emerge. This development should come as no surprise; a natural progression in any new knowledge system is to segment into layers of information authority. When the system is effective, the layers serve to reinforce each other through clear pathways that allow queries to move from one layer to another with little resistance.
Necessary layer The rapid evolution of Wikipedia in relation to academic research demonstrates this phenomenon. Not long ago, publishers like myself would groan when someone talked about how Wikipedia was effectively replacing reference publishing, especially for students. But my perspective has changed. As Wikipedia has grown, it has become clear that it functions as a necessary layer in the internet knowledge system, a layer that was not needed in the analogue age. A study carried out by Alison Head and Michael Eisenberg, published in First Monday, March 2010, surveyed almost 2,500 university students about their research habits. Students overwhelmingly said they consult Wikipedia but that they use it for, as one student put it, ‘pre-research’. In other words, students start with Wikipedia in order to gain context on a topic, to orientate themselves. This makes perfect sense. Through user-generated efforts, Wikipedia is comprehensive, current, and far and away the most trustworthy web resource
THROUGH USERGENERATED EFFORTS, WIKIPEDIA IS COMPREHENSIVE, CURRENT, AND FAR AND AWAY THE MOST TRUSTWORTHY WEB RESOURCE OF ITS KIND
of its kind. It is not the bottom layer of authority, nor the top, but in fact the highest layer without formal vetting. In this unique role, it therefore serves as an ideal bridge between the validated and unvalidated web.
Info-filtering resource Some are concerned that students and researchers are confused about the authority of Wikipedia, using it interchangeably with peer-reviewed scholarly material, but I would argue that just the opposite is happening. Students in the study indicated they do not cite Wikipedia as a formal source or admit to their professors they use it, confirming that they are very aware of the link it represents in the authority chain. This last fact is critical. For a knowledge system to function effectively its users must have an intuitive understanding of the layers it contains. Today, students are faced with an exponentially larger store of information than previous generations, and they need new tools to cut through the noise. Intuitively they are using Wikipedia as one of these tools, creating a new layer of info-filtering sources for orientation at the early stages of serious research. As a result, Wikipedia’s role as a bridge to the next layer of academic resources is strengthening.
the bibliographies and citations pointed to the most reliable resources. As a result, OUP experienced a tenfold increase in Wikipedia-referred traffic to Grove Music. Research that began on Wikipedia led to (the more advanced and peervalidated) Grove Music, for those researchers who were going on to do in-depth scholarly work. My opinion of Wikipedia, like the tool itself, has radically evolved over time. Not only am I supportive of Wikipedia, I now feel it can play a vital role in formal educational settings. Further, while I agree that teaching information literacy is important, I do not think that the core challenge is to educate students and researchers about how to use Wikipedia. Students intuitively understand much of this already. The key challenge for the scholarly community, in which I include academic publishers such as OUP as well as librarians, is to work actively with Wikipedia to strengthen its role in pre-research. We need to build stronger links from its entries to more advanced resources that have been created and are maintained by the scholarly community. This is not an easy task but, if accomplished, it will serve all communities and solidify an important new knowledge layer in the online information ecosystem.
Improving quality How is this happening? In 2006, a group of musicologists discussed the use of Wikipedia by their students on an academic listserv. One scholar issued a challenge: Wikipedia is where students are starting research, whether we like it or not, so we need to improve its music entries. This call to arms resonated, and the academic music community put serious work into improving the quality of entries and making sure
illuminea | INTERVIEW
RICHARD GEDYE REFLECTS ON 40 YEARS IN PUBLISHING INTERVIEW MARTIN RICHARDSON, FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR OF ACADEMIC BOOKS AND JOURNALS DIVISIONS AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS, RETURNED TO INTERVIEW RICHARD GEDYE, RESEARCH DIRECTOR, ON HIS RETIREMENT FROM OUP
ooking back over the almost 40 years that you’ve spent in publishing, what would you say are the biggest changes that you’ve seen during that time? Since 1986, when I joined the world of journals, there have been huge changes. They are obvious in a way; the biggest changes have come about with the development of online availability and networking. Initially, printing online journals was just a curious add-on that you threw in with the print because institutions weren’t really tooled up to use it to its fullest. It was a bit of a leap of faith I think, for us all, to invest as much in it as we did. In retrospect, it is amazing how quick the transition has been from a purely print-centric market to one where online is pretty well the core and exclusive way in which journals are accessed.
Given the move to online as the primary medium, and the resulting range of different pricing models, how did that change the relationship between the publisher, the librarian, and the researcher? I think, if anything, it has meant, at least for a period, between the ‘90s and the early 21st century, that the locus moved a bit further away from the researcher, and a bit more towards the librarian. No longer has it been quite so necessary to lobby the researcher for a journal, but it is very important to
persuade a librarian or consortium that your collection is one that they would like. There’s been a period when we’ve developed very strong relationships with the library community that we never had before. Would you like to speculate on what kind of metrics might be used in the future? In four or five years down the line I could envisage, with appropriate evolutions of systems, establishing a pricing brickwork done on the basis of research output. If your research output, as measured by the articles that you publish, is large then it would be justifiable to have a pricing grid that charges for a journal in a banding system that relates to the research output of your institution. To actually work that out, a discipline-based research output that you could map to journals, would be a horrendous task. But my long-term goal, were I not retiring, would be to try to work towards achieving that.
What are the challenges that publishers and libraries are going to be facing in the future? The most important phenomena in the next five to 10 years is going to be the increasing importance of metrics and the increasing importance of robust and standards-based metadata. In the next few years, to maintain a reputation for adding value, publishers are going to have to get to grips with agreeing on metadata standards and agreeing to describe what they are doing in a much more robust, consistent, and compatible way. The other thing is that we must make our content a lot more machine readable. We have only just begun to realize how important mobile technology is going to be. One issue that has always been a problem, but I think is getting worse, is the imbalance between the amount of money that goes into funding research and the amount that goes into distributing the results of that research. The amount that goes to libraries as a proportion of an institution’s overall budget continues to decline. One of the things that librarians and publishers need to face up to is that we are both intermediaries between authors and readers. We should really have more of a feeling that we are in this together, and I’m not entirely convinced that we do at the moment. You’ve been involved in many cross-industry initiatives over the last 10 years or so, particularly the COUNTER project. How did the idea for COUNTER come about? As online was becoming increasingly core, and usage was going up, it was completely chaotic; some publishers didn’t produce usage statistics at all, and every publisher that did produce them did so in different ways. There was a feeling that
Martin Richardson (left) interviews Richard Gedye
this was not ideal and some sort of code of practice should be established so that usage statistics could become meaningful and comparable from one platform to another. Sally Morris (then Chief Executive of ALPSP) rang me up and said they needed someone to chair a project to try to establish a code of practice and get buy-in for it. Not really understanding the full nature of the problem, I said yes. I called an international gathering in June 2000 for anyone who would like to work together to establish this code and work out the various issues that would have to be addressed. It was a critical meeting for me as I suddenly found myself introduced to all sorts of people who subsequently became very important in
IT IS AMAZING HOW QUICK THE TRANSITION HAS BEEN FROM A PURELY PRINTCENTRIC MARKET TO ONLINE
Photo by Catherine Holt
moving COUNTER through because they were centres of expertise and enthusiasm.
that is something I will one day be proud of, when it becomes an industry standard.
Looking back over the last 20 years, what are the achievements that you are most proud of? At OUP, certainly the most significant, which I think anybody would have done being at the right place at the right time, was being in charge of marketing and then sales. I think the thing to look back on and say ‘this is what I did’ is to establish a lot of the key relationships with key consortia. The other thing, which hasn’t fully worked itself through but I feel probably will, is developing institutional identifiers and the Ringgold system. We were the first customer for that and I feel
I think you can broaden this question out to industry achievements as well… Well obviously I think one would feel quite proud of COUNTER and the usage factor project, particularly COUNTER because it has become established and has a brand image that belies its relatively short lifetime.
From 1 January 2011, Richard will assume responsibility for the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical Publishers’ Outreach Programmes.
illuminea | NEWS
VALUABLE INSIGHTS FROM THE AMERICAS LIBRARY GROUP The second annual Americas Library Advisory Group, with representatives from the US, Canada, and Chile, was held in September 2010 in Cary, North Carolina, to discuss the changing landscape of scholarly communication and dissemination. The emerging theme of the day centred on future business models in book, journals, and reference publishing. And there was also increasing interest in how patron-driven acquisition and usage-based pricing might evolve in the future. Rick Anderson from the University of Utah made a passionate case that collection development in libraries must shift to a patron-driven model. Rather than libraries attempting to identify and purchase content that may be of interest to their users, library infrastructure and
Librarians and Oxford University Press staff at the Americas Library Advisory Group
publishing business models should focus on the ability to quickly deliver content to patrons as they discover it. Trends in discoverability were discussed, including the need to respond to the changing way that researchers and students search for content from single search sites. Having clear online
paths to content was flagged as far more important than concerns over the actual number of clicks. Other topics discussed included digital preservation and open access. The insightful presentations and lively discussions were invaluable to participants and to OUP, as it sets the course for its
future publishing initiatives. If you would like to learn more about, and potentially participate in, the market research programmes being conducted at Oxford University Press, please contact Karen Langsam, Marketing Research Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUP AT LONDON ONLINE 2010
AUSTRALIAN LAW DICTIONARY NOW ONLINE FOR LIBRARIES Originally published in paperback and online for individuals in 2009, the new online edition of the Australian Law Dictionary is now available from the Oxford Digital Reference Shelf. Libraries can benefit by adding the dictionary to an existing Oxford Reference Online collection or accessing it as a stand-alone resource. The Australian Law Dictionary is edited by Trischa Mann, a former member of the Victorian Bar and solicitor in private practice, with contributions from academics, practitioners, and legal writers. It is key reference text for those who need familiarity with, and knowledge of, Australian legal terms – most commonly encountered when studying
law and in professional practice. The dictionary won the 2010 Australian Educational Publishing Award for Tertiary (Wholly Australian) Teaching and Learning from the Australian Publishing Association. Judges said it ‘provides an excellent resource for both undergraduates studying law, and others working in related fields … there is currently no other comparable text in the market’. Oxford University Press Publishing Manager Ruth Langley adds: ‘Following many requests, we were pleased to work with our colleagues at OUP Melbourne to make this content available for purchase online for institutions and libraries’.
Visitors (and Oxford University Press staff) braved the snow to attend Online Information 2010 at Olympia, London, in December last year to catch up with the latest news and developments in the industry. The main focus of the OUP stand was the prize wheel. Visitors who signed up for a free trial to one of our online products or the Oxford Journals Collection were also able to take a spin on the prize wheel and win one of a selection of prizes ranging from chocolates to an iPod – which certainly proved to be a major draw. Customers were interested in learning more about our range of online dictionaries and our expanding collection of medicine resources. We also saw continued interest
in Oxford Bibliographies Online, our innovative research tool. The other major event of the conference for OUP was the relaunch of the Oxford English Dictionary Online. There was a celebratory reception at the event following a presentation given by Robert Faber, Editorial Director, Scholarly and General Reference. Both the presentation and reception were well attended by librarians and wordsmiths eager to learn more about how they could explore this treasure trove of language. Guests at the reception were presented with a badge featuring either an alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink from the past and much enjoyment was had using the site to research the origin of the drink in question.
long-term archival storage and curation capacity. This is just one direction. We depend upon the community-based preservation programmes, Portico, LOCKSS, the Hathi Trust, and others as they emerge. Beyond digitized material, we are increasingly looking at born-digital content such as data sets, email archives, and film and audio recordings. There is never going to be one answer but librarians and publishers will continue to innovate in this area.
UNIVERSITY LIBRARIAN, UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA In her position as University Librarian at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, Sarah Michalak is ideally placed to spot trends in the library community and forecast what they might portend for the future. In her interview with Illuminea, Sarah shares her insight with readers. Today, accessing information couldn’t be easier. How do you see the role of librarians in the future? Will they be curators, information managers or brokers, or something else entirely? There will be all the roles you mention and more. Librarians will develop new skills and services as the methods and goals of scholarship evolve. Research libraries will be staffed by skilled collection developers in an ever-widening array of formats and resources. Just as they are now, librarians will be research consultants with skills to guide development of research projects; they will become even more important in teaching how to gather and evaluate information from rich and complex new sources; and they will be technology experts who can develop applications specifically to support teaching and research. In all areas of our profession, librarians have a very bright future. What do you think are the main challenges at the moment for academic libraries?
To build for the future while fostering excellence in the present and paying due respect to the past. One of my priorities is to recruit and hire the library’s new generation of leadership and to nurture a library team that is ready for any opportunity or challenge in the coming years. Another challenge is to constantly evaluate our users’ needs, to gauge the right level of collecting, and to look for alternative sources of funding to sustain collection building far into the future. The economic downturn has hit libraries hard. What measures are the UNC libraries taking to cope during this difficult period? I see libraries here and elsewhere prioritizing functions and activities and doing their best to fulfill their users’ needs even with many vacant positions and shrunken acquisitions budgets. At UNC, it is our goal to use the budget reductions as opportunities for innovation. How are the UNC libraries dealing with the pressures of digital preservation in relation to the move towards primarily digital content? Library applications programmers have developed the Carolina Digital Repository (CDR) with a mission to preserve UNC-Chapel Hill’s digital assets. Developed in partnership with campus information technology services and the School of Information & Library Science, the CDR provides
IT’S A RACE TO KEEP UP WITH EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES AND NEW SERVICE AND COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT MODELS THAT ARE ARISING IN OUR CURRENT ENVIRONMENT
Will collaboration among libraries or between libraries and publishers help in adapting to the digital changes taking place? Ultimately, I think it will be publishers, scholars, and librarians, working together who will evolve new models of scholarly communication, perhaps even replacements for current models that have become too expensive. There tends to be a creative tension among these three, and that has to be creatively managed so that real collaboration can occur. Libraries and publishers have common interests in guaranteeing long-term preservation of, and access to, research and scholarship. How do you stay up to date with the library community? It’s a race to keep up with emerging technologies and new service and collection development models that are arising in our current environment. Fortunately, the dialogue across the national and state communities is rich and provides many opportunities to learn. The Triangle Research Libraries Network is a huge benefit. I also learn a great deal from our Student Library Advisory Board, students and faculty from the School of Information and Library Science, and other important constituencies.
illuminea | FEATURE
THE PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE OF OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE IN THE LAST TWO YEARS, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS’S PROGRAMME OF DELIVERING MEDICAL CONTENT ONLINE HAS DEVELOPED APACE. HERE, WE TRACK PROGRESS FROM THE EARLY DECISIONS THROUGH THE CURRENT CONTENT ON OFFER TO LOOK AHEAD AT OUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS. Alison Bowker, Head of Marketing for Law and Medicine, OUP
The strength and depth of our content, allied with the OUP brand, is the platform on which the online strategy is being built. In print, titles like the Oxford Textbook of Medicine and the Oxford Handbook of Clinical Medicine are known and respected around the world, and are cornerstones for the rest of our publishing. We wanted to build on this strength in the print world by providing the content we knew people wanted, in the format they wanted. The key difference from the past decade was that the delivery would be on an OUPbranded publishing platform, which would enable us to make the most of our strong reputation, and deliver a product which
clearly reflected the values of OUP: authority, excellence, and innovation.
Basic concepts Being able to start with a clean slate offered us the opportunity to think carefully about how to structure our content in the most logical way for users. The starting point was a belief that, as far as possible, the majority of Oxford’s medical book content should be presented on one platform, with a standard suite of functionality and a common page layout and design. This enables users to navigate around a potentially vast content set with ease. After this, the design and production values common to our print products led us to a modern, fresh, and uncluttered site design,
with clear and easy navigation. From this base, we are already layering additional features like multimedia. As the site is used more and more, user behaviour will guide improvements to elements such as navigation, functionality, and design.
Early steps The first titles became available online in May 2009; a set of 12 titles from the Oxford Medical Handbooks series. This pilot was designed to gather user feedback and to work through the online product development process on a small scale, before tackling larger sets of content. It proved there was demand for our medical content online and also gave us pointers on design and layout, among other things.
Bigger leaps Through the next two major projects we learnt how to deal with some different challenges. Firstly,
the Oxford Textbook of Medicine online launch in May 2010 enabled us to work through the process of putting a major textbook online – it has over 600 chapters and 2,500 images. A separate set of challenges were posed by the upload of around 70 titles in the Oxford Medical Handbooks, Oxford Handbooks in Nursing and Emergencies In series – in this case it was the sheer volume of data capture, development, and testing. Both these projects stand us in very good stead for an increase in the speed of loading titles, which is our next area of focus.
Oxford Medicine Online portal Alongside the Handbooks upload, we built the Oxford Medicine Online portal at www.oxfordmedicine.com. The portal functions as a single access point for both searching across all the titles and browsing by subject, series, and career stage. There are also links to Oxford services which cannot yet be integrated, such as
the Oxford Journals Medical Collection and Oxford Scholarship Online. Oxford Medicine Online is very much an evolving entity, with upgrades starting almost immediately. The first major improvement will be the addition of markers to identify subscribed titles, which is due to go live in early 2011. Future benefits of the portal include flexible bundling options (perhaps based around subject sets) and access to different types of content drawn from the titles on the site, for example image libraries and CME questions.
What about mobile? Demand is growing fast for mobile access to medicine content. Our approach will be threefold. Firstly, using a long-standing partner, Medhand, we are creating apps for the Oxford Medical Handbooks series
which are proving very popular. Secondly, our websites have been designed to display well on mobile devices, and a recent positive review of the ESC Textbook of Cardiovascular Medicine by an iPad user suggests this planning has paid off. And lastly, many of our books will become available through retail and institutional e-book programmes in the next 12-18 months.
The future We are now well underway with further title uploads from key Oxford series, which will take the total number of titles available to around 200 by the end of 2011. We are also working on an ongoing list of site improvements and we welcome librariansâ€™ feedback to help us focus this process on changes which will benefit both librarians and their users.
For more information, trials or quotations, or feedback on the medicine online programme, contact email@example.com.
illuminea | DIRECTORY
THESE ARE THE MAJOR CONFERENCES WE WILL BE ATTENDING BETWEEN JANUARY AND THE BEGINNING OF APRIL 2011. YOU CAN EITHER CATCH US AT OUR INFORMATION STAND OR CONTACT US IN ADVANCE TO ARRANGE A PRIVATE APPOINTMENT.
Caliber-INFLIBNET Conference March 2-4, Goa, India Kaushik Ghosh, Journals & Online firstname.lastname@example.org
Bibliostar 2011 3-4 March, Milan, Italy Victoria Lopez, Journals email@example.com
Online Information Asia-Pacific 23-24 March, Hong Kong Kaushik Ghosh, Journals & Online firstname.lastname@example.org
Lund Online 16-17 March, Sรถlvegatan, Sweden Adina Teusan, Online email@example.com Matthew Howells, Journals firstname.lastname@example.org
Ontario Super Conference 2-5 February, Toronto, Canada Chloe Hennin, Journals email@example.com Johanna Stevens, Library Sales firstname.lastname@example.org
The Korean Medical Library Association 1st conference April, date and place TBC Won Jung, Journals email@example.com
Australia 15th ALIA Information Online 1-3 February, Sydney, Australia Marika Whitfield, Online firstname.lastname@example.org Hannah Dernie, Journals email@example.com
Music Library Association 9-12 February, Philadelphia, PA, USA Margaret Love, Marketing firstname.lastname@example.org
UKSG Annual Conference 4-6 April, Harrogate, UK Jennifer Brothwell, Online email@example.com Matthew Howells, Journals firstname.lastname@example.org
SCELC Vendor Day 3 March, Los Angeles, CA, USA Jenifer Maloney, Journals email@example.com Debbie Farinella, Library Sales firstname.lastname@example.org
NC Serials Conference 10 March, Chapel Hill, NC, USA Jenifer Maloney, Journals email@example.com
SLA Arabian Gulf Chapter 8-10 March, Muscat, Oman Graham Grant, Online firstname.lastname@example.org ANKOS Annual Meeting 2011 28 April-1 May, Ankara, Turkey Graham Grant, Online email@example.com Hannah Dernie, Journals firstname.lastname@example.org
ACRL National Conference 29 March-2 April, Philadelphia, PA, USA Belinda Hayes, Journals email@example.com Nancy Roy, Library Sales firstname.lastname@example.org Texas Library Association Annual Conference 12-15 April, Austin, TX, USA Jenifer Maloney, Journals email@example.com John Petropoulos, Library Sales firstname.lastname@example.org
South America International Book Fair of Buenos Aires 19-21 April, Buenos Aires, Argentina Greg Goss, Journals email@example.com
To schedule a meeting or to request any other information, please email the relevant contact.
YOUR CONTACTS AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS HEREâ€™S OUR HANDY LIST OF CONTACTS TO HELP YOU GAIN ACCESS TO THE VAST INFORMATION RESOURCES AVAILABLE AT OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS.
Journals contacts We publish over 250 academic journals, available to libraries (single and multi-site) and consortia as an entire package (the Oxford Journals Collection), a subject subset or a bespoke selection tailored to meet the needs of library users. Journal backfiles are also available via our Oxford Journals Archive.
Sales enquiries For product information, requests for trials, and quotations please email firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact an individual member of our sales team visit www.oxfordjournals.org/for_librarians/ quote.html.
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Online products contacts We also publish a number of acclaimed online products, including the Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford Reference Online, Oxford Bibliographies Online, and Oxford Scholarship Online.
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illuminea | INSIGHT
THE JOURNAL ARTICLE: PDF OR XML/HTML? FOR THE PDF
AGAINST THE PDF
AD LAGENDIJK, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF AMSTERDAM
MARTIN FENNER, CLINICAL FELLOW IN ONCOLOGY, HANNOVER MEDICAL SCHOOL
For scientists, the PDF standard, put forward in 1993 by Adobe, is a blessing. Suddenly we didn’t need expensive Postscript printers any longer, and the output was, from then on, both of high graphical quality and consistent. Publishers of scientific content cannot afford to refrain from supplying a PDF version of their content. Motivated by commercial reasons, software and publishing companies are continuously looking for opportunities to kill the standard. Microsoft, a company that until now has not had its cash-cow word processor MS-Word produce consistent output, decided to invent an open XML standard, Office Open XML. The malversations produced by Microsoft to get this standard accepted read like a soap opera. Adobe’s PDF is an open ISO-standard since 2008. It is also the only file format that can reasonably be protected without the use of dedicated servers. Another line of attack by science publishers is to lure the scientist away from the PDF file by convincing the scientific community that important additional scientific material – like video, interviews,
In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee and others started HTML and the WWW to provide some method of reading at least text (if not graphics) using a large proportion of the computer screens in use at CERN. The world’s largest particle physics laboratory started the WWW in order to facilitate scientific communication. But HTML did not become the standard document format for scientific papers. In 1993, Adobe published the PDF format. PDF allows documents to look the same independent of the hard- and software used. When scholarly publishers started converting their journals into electronic form in the 1990s, they picked PDF. Although searching for and distributing journal content became much faster and cheaper thanks to the WWW, the actual reading of a scientific paper did not change that much. And this often meant first printing out the paper. The expectations of authors, readers, and publishers have, of course, evolved over the past 20 years, and the PDF format is showing its limitations. Many journals now allow supplemental information: multimedia content, additional figures, tables, and the
THE EXPECTATIONS OF AUTHORS, READERS, AND PUBLISHERS HAVE OF COURSE EVOLVED OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS, AND THE PDF FORMAT IS SHOWING ITS LIMITATIONS datasets associated with the paper. Journals have introduced easier document navigation and author summaries. Readers increasingly use their internetenabled mobile devices for paper reading, requiring resizing of text and figures. Journals provide semantic tagging of scientific terms and links to related content. Readers are increasingly interested in providing feedback, either by sharing the link to a paper with their social networks or by commenting. What all these changes have in common is that the scholarly paper is no longer a single linear document that is read from start to finish, but has turned into a collection of linked files that also link to other content on the internet that every reader uses differently. This, of course, makes HTML the perfect document format, especially since the format has improved substantially since Tim BernersLee first introduced HTML and the WWW in 1990.