IEEE Moves Article Library Online
A massive body of scientific periodicals has been transported from steely file cabinets to the digital age.
The Member Digital Library (MDL) of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) went online in January. It's the culmination of a 3 year design and development effort.
Readers get instant access to at least 300,000 technical articles, 120 periodicals and 1,800 sets of conference proceedings. The IEEE gets a new revenue model for selling reprints.
And the IEEE's printer partners get to keep cranking out the organization's periodicals and technical documents the old fashioned way: on paper.
"There are issues that preclude dropping paper," says Barbara Lange, IEEE's director of publications. "Academic institutions feel the need for access in perpetuity, and print is the archive method librarians are comfortable with. We're being driven by what our members want."
Individual members also want to keep their connection with print. "The membership still has desire for physical, tangible stuff," Lange says. "[They also want] things they can file away."
Still, the availability of the massive Member Digital Library has sparked a decrease in print subscriptions, Lange says, while the number of digital subscriptions keeps going up.
Lange credits the IEEE's revised subscription model. Rather than bill members a large lump sum annually or piecemeal per document, access to MDL is billed monthly. Members can search, view, print and file up to 25 documents a month.
CONTENT BOILED DOWN
MDL also goes beyond previous IEEE search capabilities in both depth and breadth. Members previously had to hit up to 37 IEEE sites, depending on the publication and information they were after.
The MDL puts an end to that, consolidating the Institute's many search engines into one. Now, one search spans the stored content of all the IEEE's constituent societies. Members say the centralized access alone is worth the monthly subscription fee.