Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Friday, October 17, 2008

Flagship ALA journal converts to OA

American Libraries lifts access restrictions, a press release from the American Library Association, October 15, 2008.  Excerpt:

American Libraries, the flagship magazine of the American Library Association (ALA), celebrated the first Open Access Day, Oct. 14, by opening up its content on the Web and making its companion weekly e-newsletter, American Libraries Direct, available to anyone for the asking.

“Opening up American Libraries’ searchable PDFs [here] is just the first step toward making all future features and columns available on the site in HTML format in 2009,” said Leonard Kniffel, editor in chief. The current issue of the print magazine will be open to all, as will back issues through 2003; they were all formerly accessible only with a member log-in. The revamped AL website will link content to the AL online forum where readers are encouraged to express their opinions about professional issues, news and controversies.

The decision to open up the magazine and the e-newsletter was made after consulting with key ALA member committees during this year’s ALA Annual Conference in Anaheim. “We’ve known for a long time that this is the direction in which magazine publishing is going,” said Kniffel, “but we have to be careful to counter the perception that member organizations rely on member-only perks to retain members.” The fact is, he said, “making your content difficult or impossible to find on the Web simply means that your members, especially those who are writing for your organization, get left out of all the conversations occurring online.” ...

More detail at AL Inside Scoop:

...This still isn’t a perfect solution; as I mentioned, you do need to download the ebrary reader in order to view the archives. (And there’s a small incompatibility with Firefox 3, so if you use that browser, there’s an extra workaround you’ll have to do.) So I’m also pleased to be able to say that HTML is coming. January is our target date to start posting new issues in an HTML format.

PS:  Also see our September post on the ALA announcement that this conversion was in the works.  For some of the history on the ALA's move to OA, see Charles Bailey's detailed posts (1, 2, 3, 4).