The Australian Serials Interest Group and the Australian Council

The histories of electronic journals are very short compare with the printed journals, but full of major events. The historical development of e-journals has been stated from 1960 UNESCO report that recommended use of computer technology to aid the issues of print journal publishing. Mental workload, dealing with human – machine interactions in complex systems, has been identified as the first full – fledged electronic journal.

It was issued in 1980 at the New Jersey Institute of technology and granted by the National Science Foundation. Mental workload was accessed, edited and copyrighted the same as a print journal, In 1980s under the project, Birmingham Loughborough Electronic Network Development (BLEND) a journal entitled computer Human Factors was produced, it was designed to accept, referee, edit, and archive articles electronically. The BLEND project published in two issues of ‘Computer Human Factors’, each containing two referred articles.

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However, both the ‘Mental workload’ and ‘Computer Human Factors’ failed and their failure explained the significant of “human factors”. In 1987, Syracuse University’s e-journal ‘New Horizons in Adult Education’ appeared inconspicuously. The BITNET (A U. S.

University network founded in 1981) that started internet distribution of ‘New Horizons in Adult Education’ and a handful of other e-journals produced at universities in the late 1980s and early 1990s attracted few students and scholars. Several electronic journals which began publication in 1990 included ‘Public Access Computer Systems Review’, ‘Journal of the International academy of Hospitality Research, Postmodern Culture’, ‘Current Cities’ etc. (Nisonger 2004)            Developments during the early 1990s testify to the burgeoning interest in electronic journals. The first meeting of the Association of Electronic Scholarly Journals took place in October 1990 at North Carolina State University VPIEJ-L, an online discussion group devoted to electronic journals, was founded in the mid-1990s at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and state University. Also during the early 1990s, some seminars or conferences devoted to electronic journals were organized.

Typical examples include a seminar at Bond University in May 1992, sponsored by the Australian Serials Interest Group and the Australian Council of Libraries and information Services or the International conference on Referred Electronic Journals, held at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, during October 1993. B the late 1990s too much conference to enumerate had been on the topic of electronic journals. (Nisonger 2004)            The mid 1990s witnessed the major trend was that the university presses and commercial presses offer electronic format of their own published print journals. The commercial interest in e-journals started with the internet and the release of Mosaic browser in 1993.

However, by mid-1990s Elsevier, Wiley and Springer started piloting e-journal systems. One of Springer’s early tests, Red Sage was a partnership with university of California, San Francisco and Bell Laboratories.  It featured an online alert system to send articles to users based on their profiled keywords, as a selective dissemination of information (SDI alert).

The web was still in its infancy and accessible mostly through university networks. Every academic institution was not wired and graphics could not be displayed with the sharpness comparable with the print publication. As a result of this uncertainty, many publishers provided free access to the online equivalent of journals held by libraries in print. University presses were interested in experimenting with the new medium.

John Hopkins created project MUSE in 1995, seeing the promise off web even at that early stage. Users of project MUSE started to access files from their own work stations with multiple simultaneous accesses. The project MUSE innovators also recognized that the web would soon offer the ability to provide more content than the print medium – Moreover, full searching and enhanced graphics would make the electronic versions more useful and popular. Not to be overlooked are the cataloguing advancement of this period.

Despite a dramatic growth in electronic journals both academic and commercial, without a gateway to them they would remain obscure. The first gateway built by libraries was Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC). In 1995, the MARC 856 Electronic Location and Access field approved for use which resulted in rapid development of web based Catalogues. Thus in a short span of time, a deluge of electronic journals was met by the tools to describe, organize and provide access to them in a traditional way. (Medeiros)            By 2000, e-journals became a normal part of the cataloguing workflow, yet new means of access were also being developed.

Web developers were migrating manually coded web lists to databases that served alphabetical and subject arranged lists of e-journals to the web. Although web-based catalogues continued to evolve into more attractive system, their progress couldn’t keep pace with the means available to web developers, which shifted preferred means of users access to e-journals away from the catalogues. Database-driven website maintenance impacted the administration of e-journals that provided libraries a space to record internal notes about e-journal licensing term.

This effectively became the precursor to today’s electronic resource management systems. Several publishers offered their journals through home grown interfaces, and several other opted to outsource the hosting of their e-journals to interface platforms such as, HighWire Press, MetaPress and Ingenta Connect. More transient but nevertheless equally appealing access to e-journals for users came from aggregated collections such as EBSCOhost, Gale Expanded Academic ASAP, and ProQuest research Library. These entities provided the facility of federated searching across thousands of e-journals, yielding set of full text results. These services became common in late 1990s and currently are a staple of most academic library offerings. (Medeiros1997).