Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Electronic Serials on BITNET

Magazine article Computers in Libraries

Electronic Serials on BITNET

Article excerpt

The promise of electronic publishing is beginning to be realized on BITNET, a noncommercial computer network that links approxiamtely 3,000 computers in thirty-five countries. A small but growing number of electronic serials are available on this network, frequently at no charge to the subscriber.

Mostly these publications are not scholarly journals; however, a few pioneering journals exist. These publications are exploring the strengths and limitations of the electronic distribution format. This activity is occurring in an information-rich network environment. Scholars make heavy use of BITNET's e-mail capabilities to stay in touch with colleagues around the world and increasingly depend on BITNET's computer conferences for current information about their specialized interests.

The electronic communication and publication projects of the University of Houston Libraries are representative of these BITNET activities. The Libraries sponsor a moderated computer conference, the Public-Access Computer Systems Forum (PACS-L), that reaches over 1,900 users in twenty-eight countries. PACS-L users receive two electronic serials: The Public-Access Computer Systems Review, a journal, and Public-Access Computer Systems News, a newsletter.

The table of contents for each issue of the journal is distributed as an e-mail message on PACS-L. After reading the table of contents message, users can retrieve individual article files that are of interest to them. Issues of the newsletter are sent out as messages on PACS-L, and they are also available as computer files than can be retrieved as needed. …

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