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IEEE - Selectively Digitizing Content on IEL?

:: Interesting e-mail posted to STS-L by Kristin Anderson at Hamilton Library, U Hawaii Manoa regarding IEEE selectively digitizing content from some of its journals. This is disturbing, especially in light of the announcement this week that IEEE plans to digitize all its journals back to v1 n1. Will that include articles that have been to date considered "non-archival", or will it include everything? Kristin's comments:

I may be the only person unaware of this, but I just learned that IEEE does not index articles which they have determined are "non-archival" in their various societal magazines. I find this incredibly disturbing since we cancelled all our print subscriptions to afford the online and had [wrongly] assumed that the online ws equivalent to the print. Apparently it's not even equitable.

I discovered this when trying to locate an article for a student from "Computer" vol 34, issue 1. The article I was looking for was supposed to start on page 18. I couldn't find the article through a keyword or title search in Xplore so I went to browse the journal contents. What I found were the following pages are UNACCOUNTED for: 1-9,13-33,52,88-131. In a journal apparently with 144 pages of content, we are denied access to 50% of the material.

It took 6 weeks of email to a host of "support" people at IEEE to learn that: "The pages you listed below were considered to be non-archival and therefore not Indexed. Please be assured that we are working on making magazines available from cover to cover in the near future."

I've asked for a list of titles which IEEE does not index cover-to-cover. I imagine it will take another 6 weeks to hear any such thing. I am not reassured that they are working on cover-to-cover availability. I will also ask who/how an article is deemed "non-archival". We scream at Elsevier for some of their shennanigans. Did I miss the screaming at IEEE? We pay a great deal of money for this resource and I"m seriously questioning why.

Kris Anderson
Collection Development Coordinator
Science & Technology Reference
Hamilton Library
University of Hawaii at Manoa

Feedback from others has appeared on PAMNET-L. Dana Roth, CalTech, wrote:

It is really inexcusable to arbitrarily deem some articles 'non-archival'. This is worse than what some of the commercial publishers have tried to slip thru ...
Bob Michaelson from Northwestern added:

Thank you very much for pointing this out -- I didn't know about this either, and I'm very angry indeed that the IEEE hasn't included the complete content of journals in IEEE Xplore. It is outrageous of them to decide what is "non-archival"! Absolutely everything must be included in the online versions of journals -- even Elsevier has now agreed to that as a policy. To include anything less than everything is totally unacceptable. See number 4 on the "List of Best Practices for Electronic Resources" published by the Engineering Libraries Division of the American Society for Engineering Education at http://eld.lib.ucdavis.edu/PunchListMay16approved2.pdf

IEEE certainly didn't mention this when they were trying to persuade us to subscribe to IEL, which of course required us to cancel the print since we can't afford both versions. If anyone from IEEE monitors STS-L or SLA-PAM (I've added PAM to my response; they certainly should monitor both lists)they should immediately respond with information on exactly when they will be expanding their IEL digitization to the complete content of all of their journals, and when they will be retrospectively adding the content which they shamefully excluded.

I do hope IEEE responds to this quickly, as it is a very serious issue. Many have cancelled their print subscriptions in lieu of online access. To learn that certain titles have been indexed selectively is inexcusable and unacceptable.