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Why Images?

As JSTOR's Mission & Goals suggest, we strive to meet many objectives and to satisfy the needs of all participants. The original concept for JSTOR was to convert the back issues of paper journals into electronic formats that would allow for savings in space (and in capital costs associated with that space) while simultaneously improving access to the journal content. Thus, it is equally as important for JSTOR to be providing faithful replications of the original print journals as it is for it to be providing access to the archive, since the electronic version is to be used as a substitute for the print version.

One important technological decision that JSTOR made was to deliver the content of the archive as images. We decided to combine the advantages of page images with a searchable text index, and JSTOR stores the data in both forms. JSTOR delivers scanned page images to its users, while using the raw text files (created using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software) behind the images for search purposes.

Benefits of Images:

The importance to libraries and publishers, as well as to the fulfillment of our not-for-profit mission, of faithful replications of journals, the ability to display non-textual material accurately, and the problems associated with displaying the OCR text we have created for search purposes are the primary motivations for JSTOR's use of images as the mechanism for delivery of journal articles.

We are aware that our image based approach causes certain difficulties for users who are visually impaired or learning disabled and use assistive technologies to access material on the Internet. JSTOR now offers options to help alleviate some of these difficulties. For more information, please see JSTOR and Accessibility.

Last updated July 15, 2003.


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