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Hypermedia Online Publishing: the Transformation of the Scholarly Journal

5.2.4 Notification

In order to access a new scholarly publication, the scholar needs to be notified of its existence. To use current network jargon, such notification can either be 'push' or 'pull'. Push notification is where the scholar receives notification about new publications on the basis of some previous registration of interest. SDI searches are one example of this. Pull notification is where the scholar needs to take the initiative to look for new information, perhaps by scanning contents pages or a publications database.

In the print world, notification is often limited to the physical arrival of a new issue of a journal (often on a semi-regular, predictable schedule). If the journal comes to a library, the scholar has to check the shelves periodically, or rely on some sort of alerting service. Such a service might be provided by the library (e.g. in the form of photocopied contents pages) or a commercial information provider like DIALOG (via the results of an SDI search on a contents database). Alternatively, scholars can directly search on-line databases of abstracts and citations looking for relevant information, but this requires them to take the initiative and can easily get crowded out of a busy schedule.

In the domain of electronic journal publishing, the standard solution to the notification problem is to use one of a number of computer-mediated communication technologies. By far the most popular is electronic mail, with network news a distant second. Two distinct strategies can be employed. The first is to email the entire text of the latest issue of an journal direct to a scholar's mailbox. In this case, the notification is directly analogous to the arrival of a print journal. An alternative increasingly being adopted is to notify the scholar of the publication of a new journal, include author, title and abstract information, and provide advice on how to access either the entire journal or particular articles of interest. For FTP, Gopher and Web journals, this access information is usually in the form of a Uniform Resource Locator (URL). Most email clients now allow the reader to click on a URL in an email message and automagically load the document in the web browser of choice. This makes for a seamless transition between notification and access.

Last modified: Monday, 18-Sep-2017 03:28:27 AEST

© Andrew Treloar, 2001. * *