December 11, 2000 Library of Congress to Begin Its First Electronic Archives

Contact: Guy Lamolinara, Library of Congress (202) 707-9217 | Randy Atkins, American Physical Society (301) 209-3238

Beginning in January, the Library of Congress will acquire its first complete set of an electronic journal archives.

The American Physical Society (APS), representing more than 42,000 physicists and a leader in the creation of e-journals, will soon begin electronically sending to the Library information from more than a century of physics research, including scientific history on the electron. The complete archives of eight of the world's premier physics journals will soon be freely accessible to all Library users. These archives will be continually updated, creating a repository of both historic articles and the latest physics research.

Associate Librarian for Library Services Winston Tabb said that "publishers are attracted by the idea of having secondary sites for protection of their assets. At the same time, of course, libraries are concerned about saving memory as well as about making intellectual creation available for scholars. This project addresses both issues."

The Library will serve as a permanent repository of the journals.

"Electronic archives are like a living thing," said APS Treasurer Thomas McIlrath. "Not only is the information from a particular journal literally at your fingertips, but so are links to referenced research both backward and forward in time. Historians, for example, can easily see the impact of a paper on later scientific thinking." He noted that another advantage of e-journals is that they can include moving images and other media that cannot be reproduced in print.

"This will assure that there will be a copy of our archive available to the world, and preserved for future generations," said APS Editor in Chief Martin Blume. "Librarians, as archivers of journals in the print world, have been concerned that digital resources might not be similarly preserved. This step with the Library of Congress should reassure them that access to our journals will always be available."

"The best way to make progress in the digital environment is to enter into pilot-like agreements to test the benefits, costs, policies and procedures of various models," Winston Tabb added. "This pioneering agreement with the American Physical Society marks a major step in the right direction for America's national library."


PR 00-194
ISSN 0731-3527