The Paper Divide
The transition of serial collections from a paper format to an electronic format has created a syndrome of rising expectations in academia. The speed and convenience of accessing peer-reviewed journal articles at the desktop has led to an increasing demand for more electronic serials. Concurrent with improved access to journal articles via locally owned electronic serials, Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services offered by large academic libraries are now routinely providing electronic versions of scholarly documents to the user's desktop in one or two days. This has created a situation where electronic ownership of a serial is the preferred option but electronic delivery via ILL is a reasonable alternative. Locally held paper serials used to be the best option for users. Now paper serials are increasingly viewed as an inconvenience, creating a ?Paper Divide? between electronic serial ownership and electronic ILL service. Moreover, published reports indicate that electronic serials are less costly to maintain than paper serials. Because of user preference, cost considerations, and space considerations, the move to electronic serials is inevitable. This article explores the implications of the Paper Divide and how academic libraries are coping with this challenge.