Kia ora Eric,

It presumably depends on your browser's capabilities: when I click the PDF links here, it opens up a page on which the PDF is embedded and I can read it straight away after a single click. For me that's more convenient than downloading it and having to open it in a PDF reader, then for the next article close the PDF reader and switch back to the browser, and later having to declutter my downloads folder. For people with browsers with fewer bells and whistles (or for machine input like your program) there's that extra click, but everything is trade-offs.

I expect the OJS project would take feedback on better ways to architect their software though. (Probably more reluctantly if it involved massive database changes, but still...)


From: Code for Libraries <[log in to unmask]> On Behalf Of Eric Lease Morgan
Sent: Sunday, 26 July 2020 1:23 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] Publishing announcement of Special Issue on AI, Machine Learning, Data Science, and Libraries


Yongming, thank you for bringing this to our attention. AI in libraries is a hot topic, for sure. I sincerely look forward to looking them over.

To anybody or everybody, let's suppose I wanted to read the whole issue of the journal described above. How many clicks does it require to get the content? In this case, the answer is 2 times the number of articles, or 3 times the number of articles if I go through the DOI. The answer is at least 18, if not 27. Furthermore, answer me this. What are the URLs pointing to the PDF versions of the articles described above?

"C'mon, Eric, don't be a jerk. Eighteen clicks is not so bad, especially when you get the content for free." And my reply is, "It is not really the number of clicks. Instead it is about conflation." The URLs to these things -- as well as in many many many things across the 'Net -- are conflated. The 'Net overflows with "not here but there" messages; the 'Net overflows with "dummies" as they used to be called in libraries. You know, those wooden blocks put on library shelves that say, "This book has been moved to the Reserve Book Room until further notice." The dummies were frustrating.

I'm sorry, but the utter truth is links break. The problem only gets compounded when identifiers need to be resolved or splash ("landing") pages get put in the way.

I assert few people will read all of the articles in any journal if they have to click through 18 different times in order to read/download the documents. I assert even fewer people will read the whole of a conference proceedings. Remember when conference proceedings where distributed in a single volume, and you could easily peruse through the whole thing? We can still have such a thing, if the links were managed differently.

In short, I wish sites wouldn't tease me all along the way, and don't make me hunt for the download link from the landing page. Give me the link to the thing, not a surrogate. "Save the time of the reader."

P.S. I "read" the issue, and I put the results here:<>

Eric Morgan
University of Notre Dame


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