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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Jacso reviews dLIST

In his Digital Reference Shelf for June 2007, Péter Jacsó reviews dLIST.  (Thanks to ResourceShelf.)  Excerpt:

Two years ago I chose dLIST as one of the picks in the Peter's Database Picks and Pans column . At that time, there were only about 400 documents in the depository, but its potential and importance for the practitioners, educators, and students of library and information science & technology justified in my eyes its selection as one of my picks.

DLIST was established in 2002, the same year as E-LIS, its only peer in the discipline, of which I just published a detailed review in the May issue of Digital Reference Shelf….

The last time that I not only used but also systematically reviewed this depository in the Spring 2005, it had less than 400 documents. In July 2007, there are close to 1,100 documents. This makes it still much smaller than the E-LIS depository, which has more than 6,000 documents, but still it shows the growth of dLIST….

It may be surprising but there are a few items dating from the 1930s and 1950s – these are very well justified, as the oldest document in dLIST is the book of Five Laws by Ranganathan, which we educators often quote from, but could not expect students to read because few libraries had it. Now, there is no excuse….

The journal mix is impressive in dLIST….

Small, but equally impressive is the collection of entire books and chapters of books….

Allow me a short detour here about how open access can be turned into closed access and no access by the whims of purely business-minded people. [John Willinsky’s “very informative and substantial article about the indexing of scholarly journals published in 2001 in the open access Journal of Electronic Publishing (JEP)”] never received the acknowledgment and use it would have deserved — for a simple reason. Soon after its publication, Columbia University Press acquired the journal from University of Michigan Press. In its first move, CUP stopped providing access to the JEP archive and then there were no more moves and no more issues of JEP….

dLISt uses the excellent, open source ePRINT software, as do so many other depositories and repositories. It offers a simple and an advanced search mode. The number of search options and filters in the advanced mode is unusually high….

The usage statistics provided by eprints software are very useful. They give a good indication about the interest in the topic and the specific documents. They show how many times the abstract from the detailed record was looked up, and how many times the document was downloaded since it was posted. Breakdowns are available for specific time periods, and time periods distribution of users by countries

The only serious weakness is the lack of full-text searching (available in E-LIS, by the way), which would make the laudable idea of providing open access to important documents in a very focused, high-quality preprint and reprint collection even more appealing….

PS:  dLIST is one of two OA repositories (the other is E-LIS, which Jacso reviewed in May 2007) that have agreed to host scholarly papers on open access regardless of the author’s institutional or disciplinary home.