The TFAO Free Online Digital Library


Open access

What is open access? In a partial definition the Association of Research Libraries says: "Open access refers to works... made available at no cost to the reader on the public Internet for purposes of education and research."

Traditional Fine Arts Organization (TFAO)'s library seeks to continually increase its breadth and depth of its collection within a framework of free and open access, rather than on a cost-recovery basis. In the Internet's brief history individuals have been risk-adverse about paying for online information. Since TFAO's library is targeted towards a broad audience, philanthropic support has served as the financing solution for operations. Advertising support, while an option, has not been considered as practical since advertising is focused mainly on the most widely read web sites. In lieu of subscription fees, many open access journals derive income from fees charged to authors to have their papers published. TFAO does not charge authors to have texts published.

An open access digital library may be compared to a physical public library with free access to its contents. TFAO's library collection of information is available for the convenience of its patrons without constraint by hours operation or physical accessibility. Is is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and 365 days a year to patrons worldwide. Registration of patrons and passwords are not required to access the library's content. Privacy of patrons is preserved via this policy.

In the case of TFAO's library, links to individual pages are welcomed. All library content is protected by copyright law.

Contents in the library are freely accessible to individuals and institutions. Copies of content owned by TFAO may be distributed for research or educational purposes without charge, provided that all appropriate citation information is included. Commercial use of all contents is expressly prohibited.
Copyright for many essays and articles published in publications of TFAO and contained in the library is retained by the authors or other copyright owners. Permission to reproduce material owned by TFAO does not extend to any material on this site which is identified as being the copyright of a third party. Authorization to reproduce such material must be obtained from the copyright holders concerned.

Momentum is gaining towards a paradigm shift [1] towards open access publishing. [2] Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, an open access journal of nineteenth-century visual culture, cites advantages of electronic journals:

The editors and editorial board of Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide believe that electronic journals constitute the future of scholarly publishing, as commercial publishers are increasingly reluctant to underwrite "paper journals" and libraries no longer have the space to store back issues... electronic journals will soon grow into interactive forms of communication that will be more exciting than traditional journals... the instantaneity of electronic publishing eliminates the publisher's dependence on unreliable delivery systems and allows the money saved on postage and printing to be redirected toward enhancing the journal's quality.[3]

Roy Tennant, Manager, of eScholarship Web & Services Design, California Digital Library, says:

The current system of scholarly communication is in need of major changes. Journal price increases have been so dramatic and devastating that faculty who typically don't know or care about library expenditures are now front and center in the battle to change the dominant paradigm. Simply put, this model is: faculty and researchers at universities, many of which are public institutions, create most scientific and academic journal literature. Faculty typically publish articles with commercial publishers for no compensation (in many cases they even pay to publish). Once published, the research and scholarship of their faculty are licensed by libraries from the commercial publishers, often at top dollar. [4]

A May 10, 2000 report titled "Principles for Emerging Systems of Scholarly Publishing" published as a result of a meeting sponsored by the Association of American Universities, the Association of Research Libraries, and the Merrill Advanced Studies Center of the University of Kansas, further explained the crisis in scholarly publishing:

The current system of scholarly publishing has become too costly for the academic community to sustain. The increasing volume and costs of scholarly publications, particularly in science, technology, and medicine (STM), are making it impossible for libraries and their institutions to support the collection needs of their current and future faculty and students. Moreover, the pressure on library budgets from STM journal prices has contributed to the difficulty of academic publishers in the humanities and social sciences, primarily scholarly societies and university presses, to publish specialized monograph-length work or to find the funds to invest in the migration to digital publishing systems. Numerous studies, conferences, and roundtable discussions over the past decade have analyzed the underlying causes and recommended solutions to the scholarly publishing crisis. Many new publishing models have emerged. A lack of consensus and concerted action by the academic community, however, continues to allow the escalation of prices and volume.



1. See "What is a Paradigm Shift?" from for application of the term to virtual publishing.

2. For further reading see:

3. Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide is published by the Association of Historians of Nineteenth-Century Art and is an affiliated society of the College Art Association.

4. See Library Journal, routing: Home  >  Digital Libraries  >  More News > "Open-Access Journals" by Roy Tennant -- 10/15/2003


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Links to sources of information outside of our web site are provided only as referrals for your further consideration. Please use due diligence in judging the quality of information contained in these and all other Web sites and in employing referenced consultants or vendors. Information from linked sources may be inaccurate or out of date. Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc neither recommends or endorses these referenced organizations. Although Traditional Fine Art Organization, Inc. includes links to other web sites, it takes no responsibility for the content or information contained on those other sites, nor exerts any editorial or other control over those other sites. For more information on evaluating web pages see Traditional Fine Arts Organization, Inc.'s General Resources section in Online Resources for Collectors and Students of Art History.

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