[UKOLN] Follett Lecture Series

Organised by UKOLN on behalf of JISC

The University as Library

Richard Lucier, University Librarian, University of California, San Francisco

Introduced by Reg Carr, University Librarian and Keeper of the Brotherton Collection, University of Leeds

University of Leeds, 6th June 1996

It is an honour to have been invited to give the Follett Lecture. When I was contacted several months ago I said I would agree to come only if I could speak in Leeds and people here were quite willing to accept that as the condition! I have spent many happy times in the United Kingdom. For almost two years back in the late 1980s I spent a week a month here working on the Genome Data Base with the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London and at Cambridge and Oxford. And I spent my three week honeymoon in London in 1993 and it rained every single day for those three weeks. But we came because you have theatre that we do not have either in San Francisco or in the States and it was quite wonderful.

In the United States we are very impressed with your Electronic Libraries Programme. And I think we are somewhat envious of the government funding which is being funnelled into innovative electronic library prototypes.

First of all, I would just like to give you some sense of what my bias is, so that you can put all of my comments into your own perspective. The University of California is one of the largest and most respected public institutions of higher education in the world. We are very young by your standards, we were founded in 1868. We have nine campuses and we have been planning a tenth campus for some time, to serve the citizens of California. We are considered to be ten per cent of the academic enterprise in the United States: ten per cent of all doctoral degrees in the US are awarded by the University of California and ten per cent of all funding nationally that is awarded to higher education for research is awarded to UC. We are a research university. You may also know that we have another university in California known as the California State University and that is a teaching university. The UC very much prides itself on being a research university. There are 315,000 people at UC: 165,000 students and 150,000 staff including 40,000 faculty - it is not easy to get anything done, I can assure you. It is always a very complex task: everyone of those people has their own opinion and, according to shared governance (the model of governance at UC), it is absolutely essential to listen to all those opinions.

The San Francisco Campus is unique among all the campuses in that it is devoted totally to the Health Sciences. So, much of my perspective comes out of the Health Sciences and out of the Sciences in general. One other comment I should make: everything that you hear about San Francisco is probably true, we think it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, it is very European in character, we live and we love in our city. It is also very true that we are the land of the condominium and touchy, feely relationships and a lot of psychobabble.


There are three concepts tonight that are going to be interspersed through all of my comments and I think it is important to remember them. These are the concepts of vision, transition and innovation. Vision is really, as you know, where we are going; and in getting there from where we are, we have an enormous transition to go through; and that is going to be successfully done by the success and creativity of the innovations that we are able to put in place during this time.

What we are going through is an enormous transition from paper-based physical library resources and services to electronic network-based information resources and services. We hope in California to be through the major part of this transition by the year 2010. One of the reasons we hope for that is that transitions cost money - because you have to run parallel systems. The longer this transition runs, the more it is going to cost us and, like everyone else, we do not have an enormous amount of money. What we do not know is the position of the Library at the end of this transition. We do know that the Library as we have known it is going to change, it already has. For example, in the last five years in the Library at San Francisco, we have decreased our physical collection by fifty per cent: that is an enormous amount in five years and we expect a continuing decrease by similar amounts over the next ten years. We have not always necessarily replaced it with electronic network-based information resources and services. There are other people competing with the Library now, commercial kinds of services. These commercial services very rarely competed with me in the old-style environment, they very much are competing with me in this electronic environment and I am not sure that the University Library can be really competitive with industry and business in this arena. So, it is not clear to me where we are going to fit in all of this transition. I am a librarian by training, I believe in libraries with my whole heart and soul and so I am going to do everything possible to be able to compete and to make sure that the University Library has a viable new structure, but I think there is still uncertainty.

Challenges during the transition

We face many challenges as we go through this transition and I suspect our challenges are the same as yours:

The whole process of scientific and scholarly communication is changing. There finally is a convergence of computing and communication technologies with electronic content. For many years technology seemed to be moving ahead much more quickly than the content. For example, we put networks in place but there was nothing to access over the networks. Now, however, we have a developing information infrastructure and there has been a growing interest in the United States and in California in Distance Education. Rather than duplicate programmes at all nine campuses in Italian Baroque literature, for example, we are now trying to develop distance learning and provide a programme from only one campus.

There has been an increase in the amount and the cost of information. We often focus on the tremendous increase in inflation in scientific information but there has also been an increase in the amount of that information because of interdisciplinary research and more specialised research.

There are rising expectations of faculty and students. We have faculty distributed in San Francisco at 147 different addresses throughout the city. If the faculty wanted something from the Library a few years ago they would get on a shuttle bus and come across the city, go in the Library, make a photocopy, and take it back to their own campus. That would probably take them an hour, depending upon what satellite campus they were coming from. We now provide them access to electronic journals and it may take them, depending upon the network performance, thirty seconds to get an image across the network. They complain it is not fast enough: they never complained that the shuttle trip of an hour was too slow. And so, rising expectations really are placing enormous pressure on us.

We have scattered paper data bases and systems and we expect in this parallel environment to continue to have that. We have got to find some way to begin to integrate those kinds of things. Our faculty are particularly concerned that students will go to electronic data bases and think that every piece of information they need to concern themselves with is in those electronic data bases, and that is not true. We have got to find some way to be able to make some sense of the whole across all these scattered systems.

We have a lack of standards, technical, content and user standards, not only on our campus but across the whole University.

There has been insufficient funding, we have no central funding as you do.

There has been very diffuse planning: all 315,000 of those people that I mentioned to you in the University of California have been doing their own planning. They believe they have their own notion of what the electronic library ought to be. There is a lack of a long term plan and particularly problematic for us has been staff retention and morale.

There is a new business model for the library, at least in the United States. In 1991, ninety per cent of our funding came from allocations by the university, the remaining ten per cent through income generated from business ventures that the Library had. In 1995, that relationship had already changed from 75:25. In 1999, the expectation is that it will be 50:50. It is going to be very difficult to keep our academic nature as we begin more and more to think of ourselves as a business, as an information business that has to bring in money in order to be able to support its activities on the university campus.

I do not have all the answers on this transition. Many of you may be familiar with Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin, a San Francisco writer. His books have been extremely popular in England, actually more popular in England, and the BBC made a series based on some of his books. Tales of the City is a chronicle of changing life and social customs in San Francisco in the 1970s and 1980s. In it are an enormous number of eccentric but very human people. And essentially what I think I am going to tell you are tales of the city with respect to digital libraries. These are activities going on in San Francisco led by a bunch of eccentric people who are trying to make their way through a very changing and transitional time.

Defining the vision

The first thing that is absolutely critical is to determine the vision. Whenever we lose sight of our vision we get lost and we make the wrong decisions. There have been three critical questions that we continue to ask ourselves with respect to determining our vision of the digital library:

Who are our primary clients? We have a lot of clients, several million clients, every citizen in the State of California is a client of ours. But our primary clients, our faculty and students, have very special needs and trying to meet their needs as opposed to the needs of the citizens is a critical question to answer.

What will be their information needs?

What technologies will best satisfy those needs? We satisfied needs through the technology of buildings, books, journals etc. in the past, but those particular technologies, and I like to think of those things as technologies, will no longer satisfy people's needs.

I would also like to stress the word need. We do not do anything any more because it is nice to do or because it is the mission of the Library. We have really got to a point where it is absolutely critical because of the bid from a business stand-point to focus on satisfying people’s needs. The humanists do not like to hear that, the scientists are more comfortable with it.

There have been some ideas that have been driving our vision. One is what we call unexpected service. But what do I mean by unexpected service? I think you will understand this example from the United States. Norstrums is a chain of up-market department stores, not a Harrods but a very good department store that has spread throughout several parts of the country. And when you go to Norstrums you have a 'service experience': the goods that you buy are somewhat less important than the experience you have. The staff are friendly to you: when you buy something, they bag it for you and they come around the counter and hand it to you. Several months ago I bought a pair of shoes at Norstrums. After wearing them for two months my feet hurt, I did not like them, they were scuffed, and I thought - let me test Norstrums' service philosophy. So I took those shoes back and they gave me my money back, a very unexpected service experience. That is what differentiates Norstrums and so I am probably willing to pay twice as much for those shoes from Norstrums as I would pay from somewhere else. If we are going to compete in the business world in this electronic environment we have to distinguish ourselves with such unexpected service. And the kind of service that we have provided in the past is unexpected but not necessarily unexpected in positive ways!

We recently started charging for teaching in the University Library at San Francisco. Anybody (faculty, student, or member of the public) taking courses in, for example, how to access sequence data bases now has to pay for those courses. And one of the interesting things that a staff member said to me was now that we charge we have had to improve the quality of our courses. And I think that is a very important thing to remember here. We have to understand that we are in a competitive world and our service has to meet the standards that are set in a competitive world.

Let us consider the theory of product integrity. One of the things that concerns me about the digital library is that it does not make any - it may not make any sense. Think of the World Wide Web. There are many people out there especially computer people, not librarians of course, who would say that our new digital library is the World Wide Web. If that is true, what kind of library is the World Wide Web? If you describe it in the terms of a physical environment what it is to me is a big warehouse with everything that has ever been printed thrown into it with absolutely no organisation and regard for quality. There is no product integrity to it. When we build the digital library we have to be really careful that the pieces fit together. Again, an example from the US. I drive a Honda. I have driven a Honda since 1981 when they were first imported into the United States. Why do I drive a Honda? Because it has product integrity, it has value. You sit in the car, you do not even ever have to have driven a car before, everything and every control is in exactly the right place. Before 1981, I owned a Renault and I owned that car for three years and I still did not know where the controls were. There was not a lot of product integrity, or at least there was not then, and we need to make sure that our digital library is intuitive in that way, that it has integrity.


At the University of California we have been building a framework for human, technical and financial systems and, with it, we want to enable and integrate knowledge generation, access and use. And, critical for us, is the notion of the Library participating at the beginning of the information transfer cycle, in knowledge generation. Traditionally, we have focused on knowledge use, more recently knowledge access. But our electronic publishing role really puts us right at the beginning, in knowledge generation. This framework has to include financial systems. Unless we have sustainable financial systems in place there will be no digital library. The sustainable financial system, the sustainable business model for the traditional library has broken down, it does not exist any longer. And we are heading for total destruction in the United States with respect to our university libraries unless and until we are able to develop a new sustainable financial model.

What kind of components do we envisage in this digital library?

High quality knowledge resources have always been the hallmark of a good library: we do not want to put anything in there that is out of date.

Personal communication tools: science and scholarship is a very personal kind of thing, we want to customise tools to be able to fit people's personal needs.

Some kind of effortless network interface, we want to make sure our services are integrated with our resources and tools.

And the sustainable business model has to exist.

In the digital library we view a new information model, one that has changed from ownership to access. We spent a lot of years worrying about physical space, purchasing and maintaining a comprehensive collection. We are migrating towards a service organisation: not an organisation that manages resources and provides some services in order to provide people access to those resources but a full, total service organisation and service model.

We see the content in this digital library as being a tiered array of resources including content that has been created by the institution, unique content that is owned by the Library. The special collections that have been in libraries, in some respects, are really the most important collections that we are going to own in the digital arena. So, we in San Francisco have important collections in Aids, tobacco control and biotechnology. The Los Angeles campus has important film archives, etc. It is not the journal collections or the published literature that are going to be our most important and most differentiating collections and I would think that libraries in the United Kingdom with very specialised collections which have been in existence for a number of years are going to be paramount libraries in the digital arena. It is important to begin to organise those collections for digital access. We also expect there to continue to be published content owned by others and published content shared by others. The distinction between these two is that I am going to have to purchase the former and the latter I am going to barter. To anyone who is here from a university library I will say: let us barter in future - the University of California has something it can offer you and we know you have something in your collections that you can offer us. Any of you that are here from the publishing community know that I am going to have to purchase this and, if there is anything that I publish, you are going to have to purchase as well.

In the digital library, collection really becomes an expanding network of partnerships. It is not essentially an evaluation and purchase kind of mechanism as it has been in the past. Our ability to be able to create and negotiate and maintain these partnerships is going to really determine the quality of the library information we are able to provide access to for our scholars and students.

Within this digital library we see the library as having three roles:

Collection and preservation, the traditional role.

Information transfer and delivery, which we have carried out over the last few years.

Knowledge management and electronic publishing, (for years I have called it simply knowledge management but it has not always been clear to people - electronic publishing is sometimes a little easier to comprehend, although I think some of the nuances are not as clear).

What do we mean by knowledge management?

It is really a shared responsibility for a scientific and scholarly communication. And that shared responsibility exists among faculty, students and information professionals, (and by information professionals I mean librarians, public affairs people, computer scientists, software engineers, publishing people etc.). It is a responsibility for all the processes in the whole information transfer cycle from knowledge creation to its organisation, storage, representation, transfer and use.

Knowledge management is very simple, not necessarily easy. When I was at Johns Hopkins in the late 1980s, we developed what I consider to be the two best examples of knowledge management still, the On-line Mendelian Inheritance in Man and the Genome Data Base. These two particular information resources are really precursors of what is happening in many scientific areas. There are four simple steps:

Create alliances. Remember, the Library’s role has always been a contact role and I think it should be maintained as a contact role.

Develop electronic content. Technology is a tool we use but we have to be very careful not to become technology-centred, we really are content- and user-centred.

Ensure the content’s currency, quality and integrity by using on-line tools: in the sciences, content is only as good as its currency, quality and integrity and to make content available that is not of high quality is of not much purpose.

Develop and market customer-focused information products and services. You can work with many third party commercial software developers or you may publish these yourself. This role is an essential for the Library, and the other information professionals, in the university environment.

These steps are very similar to the three stages of technology diffusion: modernisation, innovation and transformation. So much of what we have done in libraries with technology has been modernisation. We have taken the card catalogue and we have made it electronic, you know that is nice but it really does not get us very far. We have taken journals and we have started to do bit map page images and that is nice but it really does not get us very far, I can say again, with respect to transforming scientific communication. Our real goal is to transform it. I think we have to be very, very careful about where we put our resources as we go through these three stages. If we put all our resources into modernisation, we can assure ourselves that our role in the electronic service environment will be minimal because other people will beat us, I think it is that simple. We have to make sure we put as many resources into innovation and transformation as we absolutely can. If we focus on modernisation efforts it is my opinion that everyone will pass us by and while we will have spent a lot of money there and come up with the best modernised traditional library it really is not going to answer the needs at least of the scientific community.

So, what are we trying to do with knowledge management? I think you are all familiar with the traditional scientific communication cycle. We as scientists discover and communicate information, then give it to publishers who disseminate it, libraries and librarians who index, catalogue and provide access to it. This process is really very cumbersome and very expensive: everybody has problems with it. The scientists have problems because it takes too long for information to get to its public. The publishers have problems but I will not dwell on those. The libraries have particular problems because we cannot afford the information that we originally, or that our scientific community, originally owned. As I said earlier, the business model is not sustainable. We own it, we give it away, we buy it back, we cannot afford: we cannot sustain that, it is very simple to see.

With knowledge management and electronic publishing we can put in place a business model that we can sustain because we keep it within our own framework, so to speak, and we can get there faster, we can avoid certain costs, etc. Our business model will have to contain several cycles of scientific communication. I hesitate to describe one scientific communication cycle: it is one that goes from scientist to publishers to readers and it leaves out the Library. That one is possible because publishers have the resources to put the electronic information sources in place that we do not always have. Maybe that is the best model for the community we serve but given my vantage point and perspective of librarian I really would prefer that not to be the paramount one. But, it will occur. There are going to be many variations. There will be some that we already see in the physics community and other communities that are simply scientist and readers that leave everybody else out. And in fact that may be the most sustainable model, at least in some areas. Each discipline is going to move at its own pace and in a way that is consistent with the culture of that discipline. What we have to be prepared to do is to be able to act within the context of a lot of different models as we see scientific and scholarly communication transform.

When we think of it that way, at least from our perspective, the whole University becomes the Library. The walls are gone. We used to talk about libraries without walls: what we really meant was the Library distributing information outside of its walls. That is not the essence of what we are trying to say here: if you think of the Library as being a repository of information, then everybody in the University becomes an important repository for everyone else. As we have gone through, for example, planning for our digital library at the University of California, we have seen the administration of the Library as no longer the purview of the university librarians. It is far beyond us and we are opening up something that is going to cause enormous change and enormous impact.

Audience Question

Can I ask, Richard, why you are using 2010 as a filing horizon?


It sounds nice! That may sound cavalier but, for political reasons, you have got to pull something out of the air. 2010 sounds good. I think our social security system is going bankrupt in 2005 and we have got to have a date and it seems fairly reasonable to us that we can plan over this kind of horizon. But I do not think we have any business-like data to justify this date with.

Audience Question

You mentioned your sustainable business model with fifty per cent of the income coming from somewhere other than the institution, that seems amazing.


Something other than allocated monies, does not necessarily mean something other than the institution. Libraries have been like welfare states. Every year we go up with our tin cup in our hand and say we need this amount of money in order to buy this amount of resources and provide the services, and every year we go back and we say we need ten per cent more than we have had. That way of dealing with finances has really gone by the board in the United States. As I mentioned, we have started charging, for example, for any kind of education role: if we teach classes to anybody, we charge - students and faculty. We have begun charging for information services to people in the community. Forty per cent of the use of the University of California libraries come from other than students and faculty of the University of California: those people have always used our libraries for free, that is changing. For example, when somebody wants to come in and look at some special collections we have in Chinese and Japanese medicine and alternative medicine, they pay $68 an hour in order for a staff member to sit with them. If they want to make a photocopy or something they pay a considerable price for that. If they want to use that in a book that they're publishing they then have to pay us some kind of copyright fee.

And, as we get into the electronic environment, for example electronic journals, we are beginning to assess the possibilities for charges? When someone searches an index on a data base and pulls up a citation, do they get any more than a citation for free? Do they pay for the abstract? Do they pay to view the abstract? Do they pay to view the article? Do they only pay to print the article? These are very difficult decisions for us but they have been made very clear to us by the University administration. Our choices are charge; or find business to supplement our income; or cut back services and access to resources to our primary clientele.

Audience Question

Is the experience of the University of California, as far as you know, identical to the experience of other American universities?


No, it is not happening everywhere. The University of California has a couple of problems: first, we had a very serious recession that lasted longer than the recession in the rest of the country in the early 1990s; second, there has been a dramatic change in our funding which is making us look at strategies that we would not have thought about five years ago. So, no I do not think everybody is in the position we are in but more and more people will be moving that way. People outside the Library are going to get angry because they have never had to pay for library services before - library services and resources have always been free. That is not true. Library services and resources have always been paid for and subsidised, they have never been free, they have always cost money. The questions really are - who does the University continue to subsidise? and how large are the subsidies for particular user populations of library resources and services? Not easy questions.

Audience Question

How are you going to reconcile that with what you have been saying about product integrity - providing a new service experience for your readers when you are trying to raise more and more money?


I do not see those as contrary, in fact I see them as complementary: the better the service I am able to provide, the more likely it is that I am going to get customers who are willing to pay. You do need venture capital, so to speak, to get these things started and partnerships with industry have been very important to us. The University cannot do it alone any longer. The notion of industry in California underwriting the building of this digital library is a critical notion. We believe, and we have been able to show in the area of biotechnology, that we make industry far more competitive than it would be without the University of California's libraries: therefore, if industry invests in our libraries it will continue to be more competitive. The political culture is too conservative for public funding for the new digital library. To build a common good like a library is too liberal an idea for the conservatives to feel comfortable with in the United States.


Galen 2

As the laboratory for this digital library in San Francisco we have built what we call Galen 2. Galen is a term we adopted in the early 1990s that stood for General Access Library Electronic Network. We are attempting to provide good quality, filtered content with special access and retrieval tools and publishing tools using World Wide Web technology. We are using this technology to create something far broader than a good-looking home page.

Critical for us is the interplay between information, place and space. We opened a new library building and dedicated it in 1991. It is a fantastic, architectural award-winning facility with gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and the Golden Gate Bridge and everything that makes San Francisco so very special. It has integrity, it is a building that will last, everything is in its right place. A person coming in to use it as a library will not concentrate on the technology, will not concentrate on finding their way around the building but can concentrate on interacting with information and being in a space which allows them to behave as a scholar.

We are trying to create the same kind of integrity within this space using a different technology. It is a lot harder to do this because we do not have very much experience with this technology, only a year or so. How much experience have architects had with buildings? How much experience have we had with building physical libraries? A tremendous amount. It would be a mistake to think that, at this point, we can build a library using electronic technology that is of the same quality as a physical library. I am very careful to remind people that they are not putting a home page together, they are building a structure that has to have integrity.

Within this framework my notion has been to move it forward by designing and developing innovative products and services. The library staff in San Francisco are primarily product developers: product developers, data base managers and educators. While librarians of the past may have done some of these things they were not their primary roles. When I went to San Francisco in 1991 I was very fortunate in one sense in that the University of California was just beginning to go through its terrible budget crisis which has lasted for five years. We offered early retirement programmes and there was a ninety per cent turnover in staff over the next three years which allowed us to bring in people with these new skills.

Within the framework we have created a publishing mission. We think it is absolutely critical that the community views us as publishers. When we act as publishers we act in some respects with a different set of values from that of librarians: that is why we can in some respects bring under our umbrella the ability to charge. I hope we are able to bring some of the values we have as librarians to our publishing mission. And there already is a very interesting mix in the interaction between these two sets of values. A few years ago in libraries the big issue was what is the interaction between traditional librarians and computer people? That is no longer an issue for us. That has been managed and we have worked our way through that. The need to look at information from a service angle, and from a business angle, and from a library angle is what creates the greatest tension now: but, because of that tension, it will create the greatest innovation.

We have established our own publishing imprint called Galen.pub, (we have tried to come up with a name that reflects our network publishing). We have set up our business in document publishing, building learning instruction tools, what we call collaborative research tools, data base products and services and electronic imaging. We have set up cost centres for all of these: we work with our faculty, we charge them for the services they need. Our mission in this area has been growing. We were able to start this business off with some venture capital which was a gift from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

The Red Sage Project

Let us consider how we are trying to deal with published literature. In 1991 we began a project called the Red Sage Project: its strategic goals were to look at the technical, economic, business and social issues surrounding networked information. We have dealt with them all except the business and economic issues which we are addressing now.

The founding collaborators were ourselves, Springer-Verlag and AT & T Bell Laboratories: during the first six months of the project we added about nineteen other collaborators, publishers from the university community, commercial publishers both from the United States and outside the United States and society publishers. We felt that this represented the whole publishing community and would begin to give us some understanding of how we interact with it. It has been a very interesting four years: I spend about fifty or sixty per cent of my time with publishers as opposed to librarians these days.

Phase 1 of the project began in 1994. The whole idea was to make several on-line journals available to our faculty and students at the San Francisco campus. We were supposed to test whether people wanted on-line journals as opposed to paper journals. However, the only issue that the faculty have ever brought to us with respect to this is not "how can you give us on-line journals, we really don't like them, I can't read them on the screen, etc." but is "when are they all going to be this way". We have tried to collect and analyse usage data and evaluate our system to determine what our long term infrastructure needs are. This project has been very critical to the UC digital library project because the infrastructure which the Library and the University needs is an enormous step up from where we are.

In Phase 2 we attempted to increase the content and we migrated to SGML input. We expanded to another campus, the Los Angeles campus in addition to San Francisco, continued to collect and analyse usage data and again to develop the economic model. We created a special sub-group of publishers, AT & T and me: at the first meeting we sat down to develop this economic model. These were people who had agreed to serve on the sub-group but there was absolutely no comment at the meeting. Why? Because they were all worried about anti-trust laws, collusion etc. One publisher actually said at the meeting, "I was told to come here and listen to what everybody else said but not say anything myself." I was very discouraged with what I thought would be our potential inability to develop a new economic model.

The content areas of this project were basic sciences, clinical and what we call high impact journals such as Nature and Science and the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences etc. This gave us, at least at the San Francisco campus, access to our two major populations which are clinical physicians and the basic scientist.

With regards to the technology, we have moved from the Sun Work Station, or Unix Work Station, through to a Macintosh interface which was good for our campus until Apple started going into its slide. Then more and more of our campus began moving to a Windows environment. So, we moved access to the electronic journals to the World Wide Web technology, Galen. And we provide people with ways to browse the information, just as they would in the paper library. We had to change some of the technology so that people could use the service from home. In California most of us work at home at least two days a week so it is no longer critical to distribute just everywhere on your campus - you have got to distribute to a much larger environment.

We have also, importantly, created a system that is aligned with Red Sage which links it to Redline: in addition to being able to browse journals, users can now search the Redline data base, or many other abstracting and indexing data bases which we have and, when there is full text content, retrieve it right away. When do we start charging? We shall start charging in January 1997.

We have collected a lot of quantitative data. As the infrastructure has improved and as the technology has improved, the system has been accessed by more and more people and we see the use curve going straight up. We have solved the technology problems: there are a lot of technologies that can handle this, technology is no longer an issue. What kind of impact does it have on people's work? It allows them a lot more flexibility, they are able to access the Library twenty four hours every day as opposed to just when we open.

We now need to build these projects into our normal operational environment. And any further projects we embark on must be practical and replicable.

What have I learned? What is the thing that we have got to worry about most? It is the price of content. The same thing we have worried about in the paper environment.


I am going to talk about some business model issues now and if I impart one message it is - do not make any decisions that are going to establish precedents with respect to the price of content in the electronic world without thinking about them very carefully.

Several business models have been proposed during the course of Red Sage:

AT & T proposed centralised content and services. They would aggregate content from a group of publishers. The individual publishers would establish their own prices. AT & T would add value and charge us more for that value and there would be proprietary standards in the system. But, they saw a lot of competitors. Neither the publishing community nor the University liked this business model.

Academic Press proposed Ideal and Appeal. This would be decentralised and every publisher would have its own servery. They would establish prices but there would be open standards. The University of California rejected Academic Press' proposals and I believe most other universities in the United States have rejected them.

The University of California has proposed a collection and federation model. We believe that we should think about content in the electronic environment in the same way that we thought about it in the paper environment - of building collections. These collections are going to be distributed, they are going to have multiple ownership etc. But libraries serve academic teaching and learning programmes and research and it is absolutely critical that the collections are solid supports for these particular programmes. We are quite willing to negotiate individual prices with individual publishers. We believe that access costs should be uncoupled from content costs. We get infrastructure money for computers and networks from different sources, let us not mix it up with the Library. We want open standards and we want shared risk. We were beginning to feel that the publishers expected the libraries and universities to take the risk. They are the business organisations, they are the ones who stand to make a bigger profit, they are the ones who have to take the risk. At the University of California we do not think that we should underwrite their risk.

As we have begun to negotiate content with several publishers we can see that we come from two different ends of a continuum. The commercial perspective has been to preserve, enhance even, their revenue. They wanted to charge what we pay for paper plus electronic. They wanted restricted rights agreements. They wanted no inflation controls so the twenty per cent inflation that we paid for the last fifteen years in the United States would continue. They wanted to give very limited discounting to consortia. Libraries would continue to cover first copy costs and the costs of new technology. These terms are really unacceptable and publishers in our negotiations have moved away from them. Please, do not accept these initial conditions - you will establish dangerous precedents that none of us will be able to thrive on.

Our perspective in California has been that the paper and electronic journal prices must be uncoupled. We want to know what each one costs. We expect that electronic journals are going to cost less than paper, at least twenty per cent less. We are going to save money. We need a common rights agreement from all publishers. That is for our user community. The Consumer Price Index must be used as the benchmark for inflation. We are not going to pay any higher than that for content for libraries, why should we? Their costs are not increasing more quickly than anybody else's. We are putting together large co-operatives for leverage purchasing. The University of California itself is ten per cent of the academic market. When you put these large co-operatives together use your buying power in order to drive down the price. And the first copy costs have to be shared by non-affiliated users of collections. Who uses my library besides UC people? Information brokers, pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology companies, legal firms. Why should I continue to subsidise these people? I shall subsidise those users I feel a responsibility to subsidise, for example, hospital patients, but not the others. And by providing publishers access to these previously hidden markets, we are offering them a return for meeting our standards. And I am optimistic that we are going to reach an agreement and cautiously optimistic that it will be very close to the University's requirements.

Our goal is to replace ten per cent of paper in 1997 with electronic content; twenty five per cent in 1998. Do I think we are going to reach these targets? No, but it is like the year 2010: we have got to draw a line in the sand somewhere.


How do we use our unique collections in the digital library?

The Brown and Williamson documents

California is known in the United States for very innovative and progressive laws with respect to the tobacco industry. About a year and a half ago the Library received a package of documents with the return address of Mr. Box. In the package were reports of a major tobacco company Brown and Williamson, detailing what they had done, when they knew that tobacco was addictive, etc., all the things they have been continually denying. We made the documents available to the public in paper form. The Brown and Williamson tobacco company then filed a suit against us for having stolen documents. Over the course of a year and several court cases, the University of California proved to be victorious and the courts ruled that the documents were not stolen and that we could make them available. The documents were published on the World Wide Web as soon as the court ruling was announced. In this way the Library became a significant player in the research community and contributed to the health of the public. This was done with outside money. Remember, publishing over the Web is not necessarily very expensive.

We have also published a CD-ROM and have far exceeded the sales that we had initially anticipated. These sales are to legal firms that have cases against tobacco companies in various states.

We are now publishing a book, an analysis of the documents, called The Cigarette Papers with the University of California Press. The University of California Press has just released the hard copy edition, the electronic version will be published by us over the network at the end of June. We shall sell this because, in providing access to these documents, the Library has become a publishing house. We have touched on many new issues in trying to work out royalties between us, the UC Press and the authors.

Aids Research

The Aids crisis hit San Francisco with a vengeance as you probably well know, back in the 1980s. Molecular research and immunology and many other specialties at San Francisco have helped to make us one of the national centres for Aids research and Aids care. So, the San Francisco library campus will be known for its unique collection on Aids research and will publish accordingly. With the Aids Unit, we have published a clinical trials data base. This is important both to academics and to people who are HIV positive and who have Aids, because they can learn from this data base. Do we charge these people directly? No, because we think this should be a real public service. Is it free to these people? No, because we get subsidies for these people from taxes, the pharmaceutical industry etc. in order to make this information better known. Information is not free for anybody, somebody is always paying and the trick is figuring out who ought to pay when. And, perhaps, faculty and students ought not always to have information for free and some other people might sometimes have information for free.

We also have begun to do a lot of publishing through a multimedia development laboratory for educational packages such as studies of ocular complications of Aids. We do not sign over rights to publishers or anybody else, we license the products. The fees from licensing go partly to the University, partly to the Library to help meet our target of fifty per cent of income, and they go partly to my staff, which helps to create incentives beyond their salary - a useful way to push staff along.


[Biographical Note]