Sally Thomas

Impact of New Information Resources: Multimedia and Networks, Fall 1998

Final Paper, December 1998


Introduction | Motivation for This Research | Loss of Public Support for Education | The University as Business Enterprise |

University Libraries--Following the Same Path of Commodification | Scholarly Electronic Publications | Resistance? | Conclusion

The Commodification of Higher Education and the

Marketing of Online Scholarly Publications in the Humanities

The question ... is no longer "Is it true?" But "What use is it?" In the context of the mercantilization of knowledge, more often than not this question is equivalent to: "Is it saleable?"

--Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979)

Almost thirty years ago, the French philosopher Jean-François Lyotard speculated that in late capitalist societies, the role of the university would change dramatically, with an increasing emphasis on commodification and performativity.1 Central to his vision was the role of the computer in "changing the way in which learning is acquired, classified, made available, and exploited."2 Today, the commodification of higher education is a little-debated reality, and computer networks are presenting not only radically new ways to facilitate learning, but new markets for profit. As government contributions to education decrease, influenced in part by conservative antitax trends, universities--like primary and secondary schools--are seeking increased support from the private/business sector. In the process, higher education's "mission" (itself a term borrowed from the business world) and the terms of scholarly engagement are transforming to the extent that knowledge not directly tied to a profit-making venture is being devalued and marginalized. The same pressures to survive in an increasingly competitive and less public-supported environment are also influencing administrators of university libraries to opt for entrepreneurial models of operation. Faced with the prohibitively rising cost of commercial scholarly serials and competition from commercial publishers of information resources, library administrators and academics are exerimenting with ways to utilize electronic means for publishing, and profiting from, their own enterprises. The question remains how the cost and marketing potential of these new publications will be supported and pursued. This paper will examine the potential impact of user-supported fees (the "pay-per" model) of electronic resources within the broader context of the commodification of higher education.

Motivation for This Research

My interest in examining the implications of universities adopting an entrepreneurial model stems from my previous experience producing scholarly publications, and my desire to pursue a career developing electronic publications that expand access to archival scholarly resources in the humanities. Beginning in 1985 I began a career that would last more than a decade at a historical research and documentary editing project based at the University of California, Berkeley, which has gained its primary source of support from foundation grants and donors. The amount of time and energy that has been necessary to "sell" the project to government agencies and private foundations has been daunting. In the process, I have become very sensitive to the challenges of pursuing research that does not enjoy full financial backing by the host university, and which is deemed by many foundations as "esoteric" and unworthy of public monies. Without adequate financial support from the host university or from foundations, the project has sought donations from individuals, and has produced a host of publicity gimmicks (mugs, bookmarks, pins, refrigerator magnets--in essence, commodities) to encourage support. Though I believe the project has maintained its commitment to producing solid scholarship, I am concerned about the overall impact of commodification trends. That funding opportunities for humanities projects are limited, and that libraries face increasing pressure to "sell" their services and products are realities I know I will face in the future. I want to understand the broader implications of working in such an environment, and to think about how this trend towards commodification might be halted.

Loss of Public Support for Education

The implications of the integration of commercial ventures--posing as charitable contributions--into public schools, are examined in a recent book chapter by Michael W. Apple.3 The example he points to is Channel One, a program that offers middle and high schools the restricted use of VCR and television equipment for a daily regiment of commercially produced television news and advertising. Corporate penetration of education is not limited to Channel One. Take, for example, the recent introduction of the locally produced "ZapMe" into Bay Area schools. In exchange for a dozen or so personal computers hooked up via satellite to the Internet, schools promise to make daily use of the ZapMe computer browser, which forever displays advertisements in a corner of the computer screen.4

Michael Apple recounts the developments that have led to this growing movement towards the privatization of education, corporate control and funding of schools, and partnerships between industry and schools. The existence of an intensely competitive global market has brought corporations to the doorsteps of both local and state governments, demanding tax breaks to ensure that U.S. corporations stay in the lead. As Apple points out, although these tax exemptions are not new, they have grown dramatically in recent years. The result? There is less public money available to finance public education. The irony then, of corporations in turn offering "charitable support"--which doesn't come close to the amount of tax money they would have paid--to public education is undeniable. Children then grow up in a culture indebted to business contributions they associate with their personal development of technical skills and savvy, which they in turn associate with job security in the distant future. The cycle is fed, in which the populace is convinced that what is public is bad and what is private is good. Therefore, we end up with a public school system that no one is willing to support, and which corporations are pleaded with to save/take over. To explain the significance of this association of public with bad and private with good, Michael Apple quotes Hugh Stetton, who argues:

The commonest trick is this: of people's individual spending, mention only the prices they pay. When they buy a private car and a public road to drive it on, present the car as a benefit and the road as a tax or a cost. Tell how the private sector is the productive sector which gives us food, clothing, houses, cars, holidays and all good things, while the public sector gives us nothing but red tape and tax demands.5

The retrenchment of public support for education is acknowledged widely. Gerald Celente, a business analyst whose bestselling books aim to predict market "trendposts," argues that an HMO-style of education will emerge, where public education will be used mainly by those who have no other options. In an effort to survive, struggling school boards will make more and more moves to privatize their operations--for example, Celente predicts, they will contract management of their schools out to private firms. Taxpayers, especially those who do not have school-age children, will in turn strongly object to public tax money going to support private enterprise. This trend will culminate in a broader application of the user-tax, or "responsibility tax" principle that mandates that those who benefit from a public service have the primary responsibility to pay for it. "The new responsibility taxes put the burden of payment on the backs of the users."6 What is essentially a "pay-per" model of education will also be adopted by other traditionally public-supported institutions, like libraries. It is predicted that services that were previously identified as serving the public good, and therefore worthy of support by public taxes, will necessarily in the future be paid for by the individuals seeking the service.

Michael Apple draws an eloquent conclusion about the significance of this conservative movement, in effect laying out the problems with the commodification of education:

The right has attempted to turn our perception of schooling away from the idea of a common ground in which democracy is hammered out--an intensely political idea involving interactive notions of citizenship in a polity. Instead, the common set of democratic political commitments (no matter how weak) is replaced by the idea of a competitive marketplace. The citizen as a political being with reciprocal rights and duties is replaced by the self as consumer. Schooling (and students) becomes a "retail product." Freedom in a democracy is no longer defined as participating in building the common good, but as living in an unfettered commercial market, in which the educational system must now be integrated into that market's mechanisms. ... The important point is to see the ideological reconstruction that is going on, to understand that in the process of making the school ... into a product to be bought and sold, we are radically altering our definitions of what it means to participate in our institutions. Participation has been reduced to the commercialization of all important social interaction. The unattached individual, one whose only rights and duties are determined by the marketplace, becomes ascendant. ... the ideological imprint of our economy is hard to miss here.7

Critics of corporate involvement in the schools have a tough job. With public education in such poor shape, financial support of any kind is greeted with open arms. "For Kids' Sake" was the headline on a recent cover of the San Francisco Examiner Magazine, featuring the beaming faces of a multicultural group of children--students from San Francisco's new privately administered Edison charter school. The magazine told the story of Don Fisher, founder and chairman of The Gap, who pledged $25 million for public schools that agreed to be taken over and managed as "charter schools" by the private, for-profit Edison Project (a company created by the same makers of Channel One).8 Showing off a transformed school--with polished floors, freshly painted walls, clean windows, new carpets, white boards, shades, new furniture, computers, phones, books, clocks, and uniforms (manufactured by Old Navy, whose parent company is The Gap), school principal Barbara Karvelis proclaimed, "I can't imagine why anyone would refuse his money. Only in San Francisco, where everything is so political and politically correct..."9 Without being able to offer an alternative that achieves overnight results, which Edison gives the appearance of doing (there is no performance data yet), critics will have a hard time preventing schools from making deals like this one. Michael Apple suggests, however, that efforts of UNPLUG, a student-led organization founded in 1993 to fight commercialism in schools, are having an impact.10

The University as Business Enterprise

Corporate influence at the university level appears to be more or less accepted, at least by the proliferation of corporate sponsorships made evident by plaques and signs prominently displayed in university buildings across university campuses, the UC Berkeley campus being a good example. As William Webster, associate dean of UC Berkeley's College of Engineering recently explained, "Through the consulting work professors do and these contracts, we are often forced to look at the leading edge of technology. If we just sit back in our ivory towers and read the literature, we don't get that. This is what keeps us in the top three engineering schools in the country."11 Some students are aware of the down side of university contracts with corporations, even if they conclude that the good generally outweighs the bad, as some graduate students at UC Berkeley's computer science department recently conveyed. For example, one of the disadvantages, according to one of these students, is that "A lot of the guys are working less on design and more on hardware, so that when the company boss comes around, they have something flashy to show off."12

A broader concern of the commodification of higher education is that fields close to the market gain power and influence within the university, such as Computer Science, Engineering, and Business, while others, especially in the humanities, become marginalized. To understand the relevance of this trend, anthropologist Wesley Shumar defines the meaning of the term "commodification of culture" and issues warnings about its social impact:

Social activities, such as writing, painting, teaching, learning, which may in the past have been done to glorify God or for personal fulfillment, are increasingly directly in the service of the marketplace. These activities and the things they produce come to be valued in terms of their ability to be translated into cash or merchandise, and not in any other ways, such as aesthetic or recreational pleasure. Eventually the idea that there are other kinds of value is lost. In higher education, this historical process has resulted in education becoming valued for technological innovations that create new, saleable products or for providing skills that a worker can sell in the marketplace. ... all meaning [is seen] in terms of what can be bought, sold or made profitable. Education has increasingly little meaning outside a system of market relations.13

Cutbacks in government funding are affecting how universities operate. As Canadian sociologists Mike Sosteric, Gina Ratkovic, and Mike Gismondi argue, "In higher education, market discourses of accountability, enterprise, and efficiency are pressuring teachers and administrators to see themselves as providers of a service to consumers. As such thinking about education penetrates the academy, and funding cuts trickle down, increasingly we are in danger of losing much of the substance of higher education."14 When governments pressure universities to be accountable for their economic efficiency, universities orient themselves to serve different needs. As the above authors conclude, "Instead of accountability to the deeper educational needs of students, to issues of social justice and equity, and to a standard of truth not coupled with hegemonic discourse, we are now becoming accountable to narrow criteria of economic efficiency."15

University Libraries--Following the Same Path of Commodification

The same pressures are at work in university libraries. As Mary Moore, who in 1995 was a graduate fellow at the Department of Library and Information Science at the University of Texas at Austin, writes, "Just as the university moves toward a business orientation, paring down from the baby boom, developing competitive strategies to compete with other sources of training and education, and developing more relevant programs and projects to attract new 'customers,' the library must also heed the impact of the changing environment, and become more business minded."16 She argues that university libraries will have less and less support from their host institutions, and identifies profit-making ventures as their salvation:

A significant threat and an opportunity lie in the fact that the library, for the most part, does not generate revenue. In the information age the potential is limitless. Partnerships with for-profit ventures seem to offer new revenue sources, and yet libraries are reticent to move into that area. Information brokers, and activities that challenge the "information is free" philosophy have been treated with contempt, leaving others to use library resources to support for-profit activities. For libraries which balk at full entrepreneurship and product development, for whatever reason, there are still untapped opportunities with grant and gift support, and fee-based services.17

Libraries have debated instituting fee-based services for many years, and many libraries, university and public alike, have begun to experiment with profit-making ventures. For example, FYI is a professional research and rapid information delivery service run by the Los Angeles County Public Library. Stephen Coffman, the director of FYI, warns that commercial operations are likely to supplant libraries if libraries fail to become more competitive:

While libraries have been closing or struggling to stay afloat, enterprising companies have begun to discover the commercial potential of what we do, and are competing with us to sell much of the same information the public has declined to pay for through taxes. ... So libraries are faced with a choice: they either offer the service and charge a fee to cover their costs, or they don't offer the service at all.18

Again, the understanding is that the public will increasingly vote against allocating their tax dollars in support the library/university as a "public good." So library administrators are being forced to diversify the library's funding, because a sole dependency on taxes is viewed as unstable, to say the least. Coffman warns that the failure to offer commercial services will mean the increasing irrelevance of libraries. He concludes, "The only real question, then, is are we going to be the ones behind the desk providing these services, or are we ready to cede the entire field to the likes of Dow Jones or ATT or TCI or Time Warner? And the answer will depend in large part on our ability to exploit the potential of fee-based information services to give our customers more of what they really want."19

Scholarly Electronic Publications

The rising cost of commercially produced scholarly journals has prompted a crisis for university libraries, which devote a larger percentage of their annual budgets to support serials--some of which, particularly in the field of science and medicine can cost as much as $19,000 a year.20 This trend has prompted many academics to experiment with electronic publications, which offer a new model for scholarly communication. Some of their most striking benefits are their speed (journals can be produced more frequently, sharing scholarly findings much more quickly than their print counterparts), their ability to convey more information and corresponding research data, and a dramatic savings in printing and mailing costs associated with the distribution of print journals. Academics are already producing electronic journals that are freely available to anyone over the Internet, all costs associated with coordinating, reviewing, and editing submissions being assumed by the managing editors. Other commercial ventures are offering subscriptions--the high cost journals being offered by library-paid subscriptions.

There is yet another model that some publishers are beginning to implement, or to consider, which is supported directly by the user--the direct market model, otherwise known as the "pay-per" system. Sociologist Mike Sosteric writes that, "Publishers stand to benefit by their increasing ability, brought by advanced information technologies, to shift the burden of payment directly onto the shoulders of the users."21 In the Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Dennis P. Carrigan notes that the direct purchase method is desired by many information providers because it represents a greatly expanded market for information. He quotes Martha Whittaker, general manager of UnCover Co., whose approach mirrors this perspective: "We believe that the real growth market in article delivery is the consumer--or 'end user'. We are developing strategies to reach the individual researcher, faculty member, and ultimately, the person sitting in any office anywhere with a computer and modem."22

The direct market approach is predicted to become a dominant form of billing in the near future. Under the direction of principal investigators Marvin Sirbu and Doug Tygar, Carnegie Mellon University is experimenting with a system called NetBill, a technology that allows authenticated and almost transparent transactions to take place on the Internet. NetBill is identified as a technology ideally suited for scholarly publication because scholars can be charged for information in units--either individual articles, data files, or any other related information they might be interested in.23

Sosteric predicts that a two-tiered system of publication will emerge. "The highly popular journals in the sciences will be licensed to institutions and be freely available to faculty and students. Some journals in the social sciences and many in the humanities, because they do not have a sufficient readership or are not used on a regular basis, will be cut from library acquisitions lists and will only be accessible through services like NetBill where scholars can purchase individual articles."24 The broader implication of the direct market system, however, is that it represents an abandonment of the library as a repository for collective information services, and it results in a system where only users who can pay for information will be able to access it. A related cause for concern, as Howard Besser points out, is that "pay-per-use models tend to discourage exploration and encourage a viewer/reader to examine items that others have already deemed popular (favoring best-sellers over more esoteric works)."25 Sosteric concurs, concluding that the direct market system may contribute to less depth in scholarship simply because academics will focus more narrowly on their individual topics of interest, rather than read and be influenced and challenged by a broader selection of material they encounter through the process of "browsing."

Brian Hayes, a writer and editor of computer science and information technology, contemplates a further problem with the direct market system:

All such pay-as-you-go, fee-for-service arrangements have a worrisome feature in common: they conflict with that generous spirit of sharing that is so much a part of network culture. ... Of course publishers can impose legal strictures to discourage those forms of sharing that infringe on the publishers' property rights, but the experience of the software industry suggests that such a strategy is unlikely to be highly effective and very likely to be unpopular. The real problem in this situation is not that some people will violate rules forbidding the sharing of network publications. The real problem is that some people will abide by such rules. Sharing, after all, is supposed to be a good thing. It is one of those fine kindergarten virtues that ought to be cultivated rather than suppressed. In the worlds of science and scholarship, in particular, the free exchange of ideas is much celebrated. It seems a shame to adopt an economic system that requires people to act contrary not only to their own selfish interests but also to the public good.26

Of course, decisions related to what many view as questions of survival are not easy to make, and many university and library administrators hold "the unquestioned assumption that the trend [towards commodification] cannot be resisted because there is no real alternative."27 The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a staunch and primary supporter of the humanities at the university level, is trying to guarantee the sustainability of the field and requires grantees to develop revenue-building models of publication.28 At a conference entitled "Scholarly Communication and Technology" organized by the Mellon Foundation in 1997, panelist Malcolm Getz, a professor of economics at Vanderbilt University dismissed the "'freebie' culture that launched the Internet." Instead, he suggested that the value of scholarship will increase when it is can draw a market. He posed, "When a shopper asks 'What does it cost?' we can naturally respond 'What is it worth to you?'" He further suggested that this system will not only mean the survival of scholarly communication, but, like Martha Whittacker quoted above, he sees in it a vast market opportunity. "Suppose the Internet reaches a million people who are either on campuses without print library subscriptions today or not on campuses at all, but who would have interest in some occasional use of the academic material. This market represents a new potential source of revenue ... which could be reached by an Internet-based pay-per-look price."29

The assumption that a fee-based system would stimulate a vast market is questionable. For example, Sherman Hayes of the Chester Fritz Library at the University of North Dakota at Grand Forks counters, "If one analyzes most fee-based charges for motive, one would find that they are imposed to control the growth of a new service or restrict the usage of an existing service. Interlibrary loan fees may be imposed knowing the main impact will be reduction in the usage of that service."30 The difference that Getz counts on is that network technologies will reach more people than any service restricted to a university library, but the question is still worth raising.

Because of the legacy of the library as an institution that shares its information freely, these issues will be hard to resolve. The American Library Association has traditionally taken a stance against the use of fees:

The charging of fees and levies for information services including those services utilizing the latest information technology, is discriminatory in publicly supported institutions.31

In a 1992 report on "University Libraries and Scholarly Communication" commissioned by the Mellon Foundation, the implications of a fee-based system of information is (though vaguely) acknowledged: "For individual institutions there will continue to be important and difficult questions to resolve concerning the extent to which the costs of these services are assumed by the institution or passed off to the individual user.32


Sociologist Janet Atkinson-Grosjean, in a recent study of the commodification of a Western Canadian university, was troubled and perplexed that she found a complete lack of resistance from the professoriate.33 David Noble, on the other hand, in a follow-up to his earlier work, "Digital Diploma Mills," finds optimism from signs of growing resistance on university campuses to the automatization of coursework and its inherent threat to quality education and the steady employment of university faculty. One example he points to was to the California Educational Technology Initiative (CETI), a proposed partnership between the California State University system and Microsoft, GTE, Hughes, and Fujitsu. The partnership would have given corporate sponsors a monopoly over the development of the system's telecommunications infrastructure and the marketing and delivery of CSU online courses. "Students resisted being made a captive market for company products while faculty responded to the lack of faculty consultation and threats to academic freedom and their intellectual property rights. In particular, they feared that CETI might try to dictate online course content for commercial advantage and that CSU would appropriate and commercially exploit their course materials," reports Noble.34 Though the institution of a "pay-per" payment model for scholarly resources is different, one can make comparisons to the proposed CETI--they both are signs of the commodification of electronic networks on university campuses. In the course of my research for this paper, I did not find much voiced resistance to proposed models of direct marketing, but I think it is likely that once these systems begin to be more widely employed, students and faculty will feel their impact, and will speak out.


I am sensitive to the difficulties that universities and university libraries are currently facing, and am not opposed to employing some business savvy to resolving some of the economic hardships that these institutions face in the global economy of the 1990s. I am concerned, however, that many students and faculty remain ignorant of the long-term implications of placing the university in the market system, and I do not lightly dismiss the value of preserving education and information repositories as institutions of the "public good." If nothing else, these issues must be fully and vigorously discussed and debated, so that at least it will be no surprise when our public institutions are gone, and everything is driven by the market. As a critic of commodification, I believe that we can take advantage of online technologies to economically distribute scholarly information. At best, I envision a mass movement fighting for an education system that employs online technologies critically, and without profit as its primary goal.


1 Commodification is defined later in the paper. "Performativity" is a term used by postmodernists, and is defined as "the capacity to deliver outputs at the lowest cost [which] replaces truth as the yardstick of knowledge." (Stephen Crook, Jan Pakulski, and Malcolm Waters, as quoted in Michael Delucchi and William L. Smith, "A Postmodern Explanation of Student Consumerism in Higher Education," Teaching Sociology, Vol. 24 (1997), 322-327, as quoted in Mike Sosteric, Gina Ratkovic, and Mike Gismondi, "The University, Accountability, and Market Discipline in the Late 1990s," Electronic Journal of Sociology, Volume 3, no. 3 (1998),

2 Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge (1979; translated edition by G. Bennington and B. Massumi, Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984, p. 4), as quoted in Peter Roberts, "Rereading Lyotard: Knowledge, Commodification and Higher Education," Electronic Journal of Sociology, Volume 3, no. 3 (1998),

3 Michael W. Apple, "Selling Our Children: Channel One and the Politics of Education," in Robert W. McChesney, Ellen Meiksins Wood, and John Bellamy Foster (eds.), Capitalism and the Information Age: The Political Economy of the Global Communication Revolution (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1998), 135-149.

See also "Channel One Is Bad News for Kids" website,

4 Julie N. Lynem, "Schools' Free Internet Access-Built-In Ads Part of the Deal," San Francisco Chronicle, November 10, 1998,

5 Hugh Stetton, as quoted in Michael W. Apple (op. cit.), as quoted in David Horne, The Public Culture (Dover, NH: Pluto Press, 1986).

6 Gerald Celente, Trends: How to Prepare for and Profit from the Changes of the 21st Century (New York: Warner Books, 1997), 245.

7 Michael W. Apple, op. cit., 147.

8 Julian Guthrie, "The Fisher King," San Francisco Examiner Magazine, October 18, 1998, 6-13,

9 Ibid, 9.

10 Michael W. Apple, op. cit., 145.

11 As quoted in Zack Leeds, "Private Funds Help EECS," part 2 of a 5-part series on "The Privatization of UC Berkeley," The Daily Californian, October 1, 1998, 2. Available at

See also:

12 Ibid., 2.

13 Wesley Shumar, College for Sale: A Critique of the Commodification of Higher Education (Washington, D.C.: Falmer Press, 1997) 5.

14 Mike Sosteric, Gina Ratkovic, and Mike Gismondi, op. cit.

15 Ibid.

16 Mary Moore, "Impact of the Changing Environment on Academic Library Administration: Conflicts, Incongruities, Contradictions and Dichotomies," Journal of Library Administration, Volume 22, no. 1 (1995), 14.

17 Ibid, 19. Others share Moore's conclusions. Allen B. Veaner, in his book Academic Librarianship in a Transformational Age: Program, Politics, and Personnel (Boston: G. K. Hall & Co., 1990, 442) writes about the encroachment of the for-profit sector in information:

The view of the library as a special preserve, protected from the rough-and-tumble of the business world, is fast disappearing. Scarcity of funds, demands for fiscal accountability, plus expensive, ever-newer technology-based products and services essential to teaching and research increasingly prompt some to question aspects of the academic library's raison d'être. Increasingly, those in charge of public policy see traditional libraries and information centers consuming expensive resources whose costs must be brought under control. Might computer centers, in combination with national database and communication services, supplant libraries for all but archival functions? Could the entire apparatus and system of an academic library be contracted out to a commercial firm, as Resnikoff (Howard Resnikoff in Hayes, Robert M. (ed.), Universities, Information Technology, and Academic Libraries, 1986, 77-133) suggested? Would a private service be cheaper and better than a publicly financed system? There is no reason why the 'make or buy' question, long since settled in the matter of acquiring and distributing bibliographic data, cannot be asked of the entire library system. An aggressive, growing information industry sees immense profit potential in the business of knowledge heretofore perceived as higher education's exclusive realm.

See also Frank D'Andraia, "Director's Challenge: Academic Libraries, Risky Business or a Business at Risk?" Journal of Library Administration, Volume 24, no. 3 (1997), 89-100.

18 Stephen Coffman, "Fee-Based Services and the Future of Libraries, Journal of Library Administration, Volume 20, nos. 3-4 (1995), 170, 175.

19 Ibid., 185.

20 Sociologist Mike Sosteric reports that the 1994 subscription rate of Gmelins Handbuck der Anorganishen Chemie, published by Springer, was $19,756. "Electronic Journals: The Grand Information Future?" Electronic Journal of Sociology, Volume 1, no. 2 (1996),

21 Ibid.

22 Dennis P. Carrigan, "The Emerging National Periodicals System in the United States," Journal of Scholarly Publishing, Volume 24 (1994): 93-102, as quoted in Mike Sosteric, op. cit.

23 Marvin A. Sirbu, "Creating an Open Market for Information," Managing Technology, Volume 21 (1995): 467-471, as cited in Mike Sosteric, op. cit.

24 Mike Sosteric, op. cit.

25 Howard Besser, "The Shape of the 21st Century Library," in Milton Wolf, et. al. (eds), Information Imagineering: Meeting at the Interface (Chicago: American Library Association), 133-146. Available at

26 Brian Hayes, "The Economic Quandary of the Network Publisher," Robin P. Peek and Gregory B. Newby (eds), Scholarly Publishing: The Electronic Frontier (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996), 127.

27 Janet Atkinson-Grosjean, "Illusions of Excellence and the Selling of the University: A Micro-Study," Electronic Journal of Sociology, Volume 3, no. 3 (1998),

28 The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: "The Foundation's Role in Support of the Humanities,"

29 Malcolm Getz, "Electronic Publishing in Academia: An Economic Perspective," from the panel "The Economics of Electronic Publishing: Cost Issues," at the Scholarly Communication and Technology Conference organized by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Emory University, April 24-25, 1997,

30 Sherman Hayes, "Total Resource Budget Planning for Academic Libraries," in Peter Spyers-Duran and Thomas W. Mann, Jr. (eds), Financing Information Services: Problems, Changing Approaches, and New Opportunities for Academic and Research Libraries (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1985) 114.

31 ALA Handbook of Organization 1978/1980, p. 126, as quoted in Richard Phillips Palmer, "Overview of Information Industry and Fee Services by Academic Institutions," from Proceedings from the Conference on Fee-Based Research in College and University Libraries, C. W. Post Center of Long Island University, Greenvale, New York, June 17-18, 1982, sponsored by the Center for Business Research and the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library at the C. W. Post Center of Long Island University, p. 10.

The policy still holds:

50.3 of ALA Policy Manual: Free Access to Information:

The American Library Association asserts that the charging of fees and levies for information services, including those services utilizing the latest information technology, is discriminatory in publicly supported institutions providing library and information services.

The American Library Association shall seek to make it possible for library and information service agencies which receive their major support from public funds to provide service to all people without additional fees and to utilize the latest technological developments to insure the best possible access to information, and ALA will actively promote its position on equal access to information. gopher://

53.1.14 The American Library Association opposes the charging of user fees for the provision of information by all libraries and information services that receive their major support from public funds. All information resources that are provided directly or indirectly by the library, regardless of technology, format, or methods of delivery, should be readily, equally, and equitably accessible to all library users. The ALA opposes any legislative or regulatory attempt to impose content restrictions on library resources, or to limit user access to information, as a condition of funding for publicly supported libraries and information services. Adopted 1993.

(See also Policies 50.3, 50.8, 60.1, and 61.1.)

(See "Current Reference File": Economic Barriers to Information Access: An Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights: 1992-93 CD #26.6.2.)

32 Anthony M. Cummings, et. al., University Libraries and Scholarly Communication: A Study Prepared for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (Association of Research Libraries, 1992) 134, with citation referring to Jerome Yavarkovsky, "University-based Electronic Publishing Network," Educom Review (1990) 16-17.

33 Op. cit.

34 David F. Noble, "Digital Diploma Mills, Part III: The Bloom is Off the Rose," November 1998, transmitted via e-mail via the Red Rock Eater News Service (RRE),