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Claims control (5 messages) Marcia Tuttle 08 Feb 2002 16:50 UTC

Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 08:47:41 -0500
From: Tom Evans Library/Periodicals <>
Subject: Re: Claims Control (Nancy Crow)

Welcome to the serials jungle! I have been working in the field for 15
years and still do not feel I have a handle on things, and we have been
automated for 10 years. It might be easier to answer your questions if
I knew the following: How many titles do you subscribe to? How often do
you claim? Are your claims getting fulfilled or are you ending up with
a lot of missing issues? When I first started our claiming was a mess,
but when I switched subscription agencies things got a lot better (we
use EBSCO). A lot of times it depends on your account representative;
if you are not satisfied you should ask for a new one or look for
another agency. No matter what, it is a messy business. I can't imagine
how you do it manually. You just have to keep on top of it the best you
can- believe me, everyone has the same problems, no matter how big or
small the library. I hope this helps, and let me know if I can answer
any more of your questions.

Tom Evans
Periodicals Librarian
Canisius College Library
2001 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14208
Phone: 716-888-2932
Fax: 716-888-2887

Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 08:49:35 -0500
From: Stephen Perisho <sperisho@IAS.EDU>
Subject: Claims Control

Dear Nancy:

        Rule No. 1:  NEVER trust your vendor (your agent).  ALWAYS reserve
to yourself the right to go behind your agent's back and deal directly with
the publisher (and to do so whenever a claim seems to be lagging), not to
mention the right to the INFORMATION necessary to such an approach.  When I
first took over this job, I resolved in three DAYS a claim that (left to the
agent, who had been by my predecessors repeatedly reminded) had been
outstanding for three YEARS.  Nor has that turned out to have been an
isolated occurrence.  The methods used by agents are as a rule FAR TOO

        Rule No. 2:  a single TELEPHONE call is worth ten (or more) notes.
The person on the other end of a telephone call is committed to you in a way
that (s)he is not when you merely write.  A note can be ignored or
misplaced; a telephone call is neither easily ignored nor (if forceful
enough) readily forgotten.

        Rule No. 3:  never lean entirely on your automated system.  There is
no substitute for an intimate, hands-on acquaintance with the situation.
This a paper-based system forces you to maintain.  This is not to say that
it should not be SUPPLEMENTED by an automated system, but rather that this
business is far, far too unpredictable to be simply ENTRUSTED to the latter.

        These, at least, are the principles of someone in charge of an
extremely specialized, even exotic, list of titles.

All the best,

Steve Perisho, Serials
Historical Studies-Social Science Library
Institute for Advanced Study
Einstein Drive
Princeton, New Jersey  08540
United States of America

Tel.:  609 734 8378; Fax:  609 951 4515

Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 07:52:34 -0600
From: Linda Harding <lindah@ELMHURST.EDU>
Subject: Re: Claims Control (Nancy Crow)

I am interested in this topic also.  Nancy, could you please summarize for
the list?  Or better yet, could those who reply, reply to the list?

Linda Harding
Periodicals Assistant
Elmhurst College Library

> ---------- Forwarded message ----------
> Date: Wed, 6 Feb 2002 15:24:21 -0600
> From: Nancy Crow <crowna@QUINCY.EDU>
> Subject: Claims Control
> I have been working in serials for 18 months.  I have tried various methods
> of claims management and still don't feel like I have a handle on them.  We
> are a small institution and do not have an automated serials module, so
> keeping track is by paper.  It seems I'm always making lists and submitting
> claims directly for through our vendor, but I never quite feel in control
> of the situation.  My position has had 5 people in the last 10 years and
> was vacant 4 months before I started.  No real system was in place when I
> came as far as I can tell.  In other words, it was a mess.  Please help.
> Email me offline with any suggestions or help.  Thanks.

Linda Harding
Elmhurst College Library
190 Prospect Avenue
Elmhurst, IL 60126

Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 08:26:43 -0600
From: Jeanne Little <Jeanne.Little@UNI.EDU>
Subject: [Fwd: Claims Control (Nancy Crow)]

I am emailing the List because there just may be other smaller
institutions not yet automated. Those of us who have used an automation
system have gotten quite comfortable with the many claiming functions
that come with just a few keystrokes, and presto, the claim is sent!
These are some comments for those not yet automated:

Before we became automated several years ago, I worked with a manual
claim system. We used kardex card files which were stacked in drawers
and when you pulled the drawers out, you could see the journal name
which was typed on the bottom of each card in its' own slot. When the
person that was checking in issues noticed that an issue was missed,
they placed an orange plastic 'flag' on the left hand side. The person
who did the claiming could then pull each drawer out and scan the cards
for the orange flags. When they placed the claim, the flag was moved to
the middle of the card. When they had to place a second claim it was
moved to the far right. Then we knew we had a real problem and further
action could be taken, i.e. phone call, etc. Penciled notes were made on
the checkin to let us know when each claim was sent, i.e. initial date
was for first claim, 2nd - date, was for the second claim, etc.

If you are using an upright filing system, you could possibly use the
kind of flags that slip over the edge of cards in different colors for
different times it was claimed.

Besides placing a flag as a claim alert, we also went through our kardex
files once a month scanning each title looking for lag times since our
last issue was received. Of course, having 3000+ titles, this was always
an ongoing project. Thank goodness we had student assistants who helped
with this process.

Hope you find a solution to your problem regarding claiming. It is a
difficult task and publishers are not always willing to honor claims if
not made right away. Thus, the need to flag those items in some manner
for speedy follow-ups.

You may contact me directly if you need clarification. It has been
awhile, but I worked with a manual system for such a long time I still
remember most of that 'wonderful' claiming task!


Jeanne Little
Library Assistant III
Collection Management (formerly a long-time Serials Staffer)

Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 09:53:49 -0500
From: Mark Ferguson <>
Subject: Re: Claims Control (Nancy Crow)


I am in a similar situation as the 1st dedicated periodicals librarian this
small college library has ever had.  I have been at it for 16 months and one
of the first things I did was put in place a claims management system.  We
currently use a cardex, though we are working on loading our records onto an
opac (a daunting task).

What I did was to initially check all our journals for missing issues from
the previous year (anything before that is probably unretrievable from the
publishers).  Using MS Access I created a database with these records on
them (title, vol., issue #, and dates of the missing journals)  did a
printout of these records so we could note any titles that do come in after
the initial check, and emailed the list of missing issues to my service rep
at Ebsco (our vender).

At the beginning of each month we check for any additional missing issues
that may have accrued from 2 months back (I figure going back one month may
be to short a time frame for a lot of journals that may come in habitually
late and anything more than 2 months may be to long a period to make a
legitimate claim).  I have my assistant check the cardex records initially
for missing issues then chck the stacks themselves to double check (we
always find some that for whatever reason registered in the cardex as
missing but were in fact there).  I then email this new list to my rep at
Ebsco and add these missing titles with vol., no. and date to my missing
journal list.  At the same time I delete those titles listed as missing that
we have received since the last time the list was updated. Once a month
Ebsco sends me a claims checker to see if any journals claimed have come in.
I review my missing journals list again at this time and send back the
claims checker to Ebsco noting any journals that have come in, after
updating the list again.

It's a laborious, time consuming task (my assistant hates it, but at least
I'm lucky enough to have an assistant).  It does seem to work however by
providing some structure and control over what can be a very messy ordeal.
Attached is one of the pages from our missing issues tables to give you an
idea what I have been talking about.  Good luck!!!

Mark Ferguson
Mahoney Library, College of St. Elizabeth