UKOLN The impact of electronic journals on local network computing and printing environments

Terms of reference


With a growing range of titles becoming easily available, the use of electronic journals is rapidly increasing. A consequence of this is additional overheads for local network computing and printing services, with costs transferred to local services. Currently several electronic document formats are in use, the most popular of which is HTML. However HTML has limitations (eg it is not able to represent many mathematical and chemical symbols) and alternatives such as PDF (Portable Document Format) are also being used. PDF offers additional features and unlike HTML, presents a consistent view of the resource, irrespective of the interface used. It is therefore becoming an increasingly popular format for electronic journals. The downside is that PDF files are more demanding of network resources. Since users inevitably wish to print documents (sometimes very lengthy), some institutions are experiencing serious local network and printing problems.

The study

The study will focus on the higher education sector.

It will address the following areas:

  1. Examine the types of issues being faced by local network computing and printing services in HE institutions, as a result of the increased use of electronic journals. These are likely to include:
  2. Identify the extent of the problems amongst HE institutions
  3. Discuss the cost and charging implications (eg are PDF requirements influencing printer specifications? do all institutions charge for printing?)
  4. What solutions are currently being used to address the issues identified?
  5. How is the situation likely to develop in the short/medium term?


The total cost of the study is expected to be under £4,000, including VAT if applicable.

Proposals should:


Proposals will be evaluated by referees; the following criteria will be used for evaluation purposes:


The final report will be published in conjunction with eLib. Reports should be delivered in an appropriate electronic format, to be agreed with UKOLN. Proposers should be prepared to assign publication rights (including electronic) for the study to JISC, or its nominee.


Proposals should be submitted by midday on Friday 31 October 1997. Four hard copies of the proposal are required and should be sent to Rosemary Russell at the address below.

The draft report will be required by 30 January 1998.


Queries should be directed to Rosemary Russell at UKOLN.

UKOLN, ULCC, 20 Guilford St, London WC1N 1DZ
Tel: +44 (0)171 692 1302; Fax: +44 (0)171 692 1234

UKOLN Managed eLib Supporting Studies