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The Physical Review OnLine Archive (PROLA), covering all of Physical Review from 1985 to 1996, became available and will be free for the remainder of the year. In 1999, PROLA will be available at a modest cost of $300 for institutional subscribers to any of the Physical Review journals or Physical Review Letters, as well as to individual members for $100. Also, subscribers to a single journal who subscribe to PROLA get access to everything in PROLA, not just the particular journal to which they subscribe. An existing protoype system has been in use at Los Alamos National Laboratory (http://www.lanl.gov/external/) and other select pilot sites since late 1996. Although the new server has been completely redesigned, the new PROLA will have nearly 100,000 articles.
According to APS Editor-in-Chief Martin Blume, work is progressing on carrying the archive further back in time, with the expectation that PROLA will become the repository for all new journal issues, such that a library subscriber will have access to prior year volumes through PROLA. "We have the capability to go back as far as 1975 without much travail," said Blume. "Ultimately we would like to go back to 1893, including the entire contents of the journal since its inception in the online archive."
The availability of an online archive offers to dramatically improve the usability of previously published material by creating a powerful new research tool for both the science historian and the working physicist. Specifically, PROLA gives users the ability to navigate quickly from a table of contents, or a search result, to a good screen viewable image version of each article. Other features include the ability to print high-quality versions of the article at the user's desktop; and planned hypertext links to articles containing references to, or that are referenced by, the current document, as well as any errata referring to the current document.
PROLA will be a very valuable asset for the scientific community. Greatly enhanced access to earlier issues of Physical Review together with useful search and linking capabilities will be brought to the scientist's desktop," said Blume of this most recent APS online effort, "We believe that this wide desktop availability of early issues of Physical Review will change the way reference materials are used."
PROLA may be accessed through the APS Homepage, under the Reseach Journal button, or directly at: prola.aps.org.
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