The number of books being published as print on paper has not declined, though the number of copies of books in a print run has gotten smaller and the length of time a book is available has gotten shorter.
Today we still subscribe to journals in print and microfilm, but we also have access to over 500 electronic journals, some of which have no paper equivalent at all. These are "published" only in an electronic form.
And of course, we have increasing numbers of other texts available online as well-many tools such as encyclopedias, census materials, and image databases-that are much more easily searched online than they ever were in book form. Last year we spent over $100,000 on elec-tronic resources.
Both established publishers and new start-up companies are scurrying to come up with the right way to deliver electronic books over the web-not just reference works, but the full text of scholarly books.
An alumnus asked me what I missed most about the card catalog, which we retired a few years ago. I told him I missed the woodwork. The catalogs really were beautiful pieces of furniture, but I don't believe we've done our users a disservice by letting them go.
Our users now search our library stacks and the holdings of a great many other libraries online. They can look for a book in our collection and then hit one key to repeat that search in all the libraries in our academic consortium. They can request those books online and have them arrive on campus two days later. To buy new books, we still deal with many of the same vendors, but we place our orders over the web. With the resources available on the web we've been able to improve dramatically our ability to track down out-of-print books as well as new publications. We are finding the older titles we seek in hundreds of little bookstores around the country. A fair number of them now come to us from second-hand book dealers in Australia.
The library's web pages are fast becoming the true entry point to our collections, both print and electronic.
As for our technology staff, today we employ a systems librarian, an electronic resources librarian who maintains our library's web pages, a science librarian who also specializes in negotiating license agreements for our online databases, and a library technician who maintains the hardware and software involved with our 65 public and staff terminals.