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Re: Lists of core periodicals? Ian Woodward 18 Jan 2001 17:03 UTC

        Prior to examining core lists, you might do one or more of the
following (depending on the reference material and internally collected
information available to you):

1.  Do a search of the publications of each member of your faculty on Web
of Science and the affiliated hard-copy citators, and compile a list of
the serial publications that they have cited.  Inspect as well the books
and book chapters that they have published for like information.

2.  Request reports from your inter-library loan staff on what titles have
been requested (from other libraries or via document delivery services),
how many times, and in which semesters. Pay particular attention to titles
requested in order that photocopies might be added to course reserves and
titles which appear in multiple semesters.

3.  Compile a general list and subject-specific lists of periodicals
rank-ordered according to the ratio of price to recorded use.  If your
library is like ours, you have not a few periodicals that are, in essence,
dead inventory.  Some of these are quite expensive.  Such a rank-ordered
list can function as a guide to the order in which you may wish to cancel
subscriptions in order to meet budgetary constraints or substitute new
titles.  We provided such a list to our biology department (including the
figures for price and recorded use per annum) as new faculty therein
complained that their research program was not well supported by our
collection. We received in return a wish list and a list of recommended
cancellations, the latter of which was strongly influenced by the
rank-ordering of the original list we provided.

4. Make use of Journal Citation Reports on CD-ROM , which has within it
lists of titles broken down by discipline which can then be rank-ordered
by the ISI impact factor.  One can with this identify publications with a
high impact factor that are not present in your library.  I believe that
the anatomy of scholarly communication between disciplines is sufficiently
different that it is unwise to use a general list rank-ordered by impact
factor. (If you use a general rank-ordered list you might come to the
conclusion that your collection ought to consist largely of journals in
molecular biology).  Eugene Garfield has published some articles on
considerations to take into account in using the Journal Citation Reports
and I think it important to read some of these before attempting to use
this resource.  Also, the ISI has declined to issue such reports for arts
and humanities journals, contending that the characteristics of
information exchange therein render the Institute's published indices

        The foregoing would be of primary use in restructuring collections
of print periodicals for which to track you have erected a consistent
statistical collection system.  The trouble is, so much is in electronic
format and e-periodicals are seldom purchased a-la-carte.

        With regard to helping your faculty, I have a suspicion that many
have a fair amount on their plate and that the contents of the library is
not something to which most are willing or able to devote much sustained
and structured thought.  However, they have the specialized knowledge.  I
believe that in interacting with the faculty, it is important to present
to them the feasible options and specify the constraints and necessary
trade-offs.  Just asking a member of your faculty, "ought we buy/cancel
x?" will likely garner you an off-hand answer that does not take into
account the opportunity cost to the institution of committing resources to
that publication.  The fiduciary responsibility to the institution of
seeing to it that the periodicals budget is satisfactorily allocated is
ultimately not theirs but the librarian's.

        Best of Luck.  IW
        Ian Woodward <iwoodward@MAIL.COLGATE.EDU>

-----Original Message-----
From: Liu Liu [mailto:liuliu@USA.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, January 17, 2001 12:19 PM
Subject: Lists of core periodicals?


I am new to the job of managing the periodical collection.
Someone had commented that our periodical collection does
not really support the educational programs our College

1.  Are there any lists of core periodicals for
different educational programs?

2.  As a librarian, and not a subject specialist, how can
I help the faculty to select those periodicals which meet
their curricular needs?

Thank You

Pauline Smith