Arguments of e-book readers and adherents of good old paper books are gone. The war between “Little-Endians” and “Big-Endians” wasn’t declared. Someone reads only digital books, another one accepts only paper books, a third one buys both—anyway, a book is something more, an aesthetic pleasure.
And that is about reading for fun. Professional literature, however, should be of current importance, readily available and well readable. Does it mean that journals in physics are read now only digitally?
We asked staff members of the JINR Science and Technology Library (STL). It turned out that hardcopies of journals are still popular, basically among elderly employees. Sometimes, there are no options at all—some of Russian journals do not have electronic versions. That is why STL is still subscribed to many paper journals.
It remains to add that scientists from the 20th century did not have any choice, all the scientific literature was published on paper, the JINR library received and catalogued scores of journals and preprints. And reading rooms and lending departments were teeming with people.
A lot of journals and preprints in physics are still in the Museum-Study of Bruno Pontecorvo at DLNP.
In the photo: Collection of archive journals and preprints in the Museum-Study of Bruno Pontecorvo (DLNP, JINR); a “Varityper” machine for typing formulae (Source: JINR Photo Archive).