Economics and Usage of Digital Libraries: Byting the BulletSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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Systems. While space is the most important requirement for the print format, networks, computer hardware/software and systems staff are required to provide access to electronic resources. These resources are rapidly becoming key components of a well-functioning operation in all academic institutions, as they are essential for so many other reasons. None of the library systems are used for electronic journals exclusively since we provide access to many other applications. The webmaster easily spent 30 percent of his time on electronic journal access during the start-up period. He maintains the entire library web site, which initially included over 200 static HTML pages listing e-journals by title and by subject. When it became clear that maintaining this many continually changing static HTML pages was a major burden, the webmaster developed an e-journal maintenance database using MySQL and PERL scripts to manage the lists and deliver them to the web dynamically.
Space Utilization. The chief impact of print journals on infrastructure is in the physical space for growth of the collection over time. The transition to electronic journals essentially eliminates space concerns—no more trimming the collection, converting it to microfilm, or moving it to a remote location to make space for new volumes. Eventually, because of retrospective conversion efforts like JSTOR, we will be able to reclaim journal storage space for other purposes. The cost savings, both on a capital and annual basis, are considerable. Estimating $100 per square foot (Fox, 1999), the minimum cost for library buildings in large urban centers, the 20,000-square-foot space currently occupied by the Drexel journal stacks would cost $2 million to construct. Estimating annual maintenance costs at $12 per square foot, the cost of maintaining the space occupied by the library's journal collection is approximately $240,000 per year.