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The Electronic journal and its implications for the digital libraryThis item is not the definitive copy. Please use the following citation when referencing this material: McKnight, C., Dillon, A. and Shackel, B. (1996) The electronic journal and its implications for the digital library. In T. Harrison and T. Stephens (eds.) Computer Networking and Scholarly Communication in the 21st Century. NY: SUNY Press, 351-368. 1. INTRODUCTION: It is now over ten years since the first electronic journal experiments (e.g., EIES, BLEND) and the intervening years have not seen researchers being idle in this field. Indeed, while experiments have continued apace in an attempt to answer various questions such as the appropriateness of particular interfaces, electronic journals have continued to appear. The third edition of the ARL list (Okerson, 1993) contains 45 electronic journals while the first edition, only two years earlier (Okerson, 1991), listed only 27. This might suggest reasonably rapid growth but in actual fact represents a high rate of turnover also -- 16 of the original 27 do not appear in the latest list. We therefore start this chapter from the assumption that electronic journals will continue to be a feature of the scholarly communication process, although not all will survive. Our second assumption arises from our experiences in the design, implementation and evaluation of information technology based systems in general, not just electronic journals. That is, we assume that in order to be acceptable, any system attempting to replace an existing technology must enable users to perform their necessary tasks in a way which is at least as easy as the existing system. The new system must offer at least as much (and preferably more) than the existing system, otherwise motivation to move from the old to the new is not high. In the present context, this means that the successful electronic journals will be those which not only support the scholarly communication process and all the other user requirements satisfied by paper based journals, but also support additional, enhanced facilities such as tailorable presentation formats, integrated interactive discussion about articles, flexible indexing and retrieval, hypertext linking and so forth.