Quit Checking in Journal Issues? (6 messages) Marcia Tuttle 14 Aug 2002 19:23 UTC

From: "Rick Anderson" <rickand@unr.edu>
Subject: Incredulity (RE: Quit Checking In Journal Issues? (5 messages))
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 10:17:33 -0700

Let me start by saying that I understand this reaction completely, and it
was the same reaction I had when the idea of ceasing check-in was first
suggested to me.  It's becoming clear that I'm not going to be able to
answer everyone's questions in detail in this forum, in part because I don't
want to hog the bandwidth and in part because I have other duties to attend
to.  But I want to answer this one in some detail because the questions it
raises are important.

> All I can say is that the publishers must love you (they would be
> able to mess up
> your sub with virtual impunity since you would not know what you
> are receiving, or
> if you are receiving a title at all!)

Answer #1: Yes, that's true.  Luckily, the publishers have no incentive to
withold the journal issues we've paid for.  It wouldn't save them money,
time or energy; the last thing they want is to warehouse extra copies of
their journal.  Same for jobbers -- I have a hard time picturing someone at
EBSCO saying "OK, everyone, don't forget that the U of Nevada has stopped
checking in, so we're going to stop sending journal issues to them."  One
thing you can be sure of about companies: if there's no profit in it,
they're not going to do it.  There's no profit in withholding journal
issues.  When it happens, it's almost invariably an accident.

Answer #2: Actually, we haven't stopped all claiming, only routine claiming
of low-use titles (which is to say the vast majority of our print journal

Answer #3: Here's a good way to measure the cost-effectiveness of claiming
in your own institution:

1. Figure out (even roughly) how many of your journal issues regularly
arrive on time, without any significant problems or delays.  At my
institution, we estimate that number at about 80%, so let's use that figure
for argument.

2. Of the 20% that remain (and that you would have claimed), subtract the
number that would have come anyway whether you had claimed or not -- i.e.,
that were simply delayed.

3. From the number that remains, subtract the number of of issues that will
never arrive no matter how many times you claim them.

The number remaining is the number of issues that are positively affected by
routine claiming.  Now you have to ask yourself whether that number
justifies the amount of time and effort you invest in the process.  Your
answer may be either yes or no -- I'm not arguing that no one should do
routine claiming.  But it doesn't make sense for us.

There's one more factor to take into account, by the way: remember that
claiming doesn't only solve problems; it also creates them, in the form of
duplicate issues.  You have to factor that downside into the equation as

Answer #4: Every argument for claiming print journals also applies to online
journals.  Do you have staff dedicated to ensuring that all the online
access you're paying for is actually in place and working?  If so, and if
you have sufficient staff to thus "claim" all your journals in all formats,
then you're very fortunate.  I have a staff of 2.5 to manage 15,000
journals.  There's no possible way for that many people to manage that many
journals perfectly.  So we're shifting our focus from the materials that get
used least to those that get used most.

> and if you were ever
> audited, they would
> probably be shocked at such management since you would not be
> able to prove that you
> were getting what you paid for!!

If the auditors don't like it, they can tell the university to give me
another 20 or 30 staffers.

>(I mean, maybe the item would be
> in the stacks, but
> then again, maybe it wouldn't! You would have no way of knowing
> unless you actually
> did a search. And if it was missing, you wouldn't know if it was
> from non-receipt,
> or if it was lost, stolen, or just misplaced within the library itself.)

You've just articulated one of the best arguments for doing away with
journal check-in.  The only thing check-in tells us is that an issue was
once received (or wasn't).  If it was received but is not on the shelf,
check-in tells us nothing about where the journal is or why it's gone or
when or whether it will return.  Check-in tells us if the journal is gone
because of non-receipt, but that's it.  There's value in that, of course,
but is there sufficient value to justify the tremendous and ongoing cost of

> And by the way, if you are not checking things in, how do you
> know what to claim, or
> which missing issue would be a legimitate claim?

See above.

> This whole concept is beyond belief to me!

I hear you.  I hope this helped.

Rick Anderson
Director of Resource Acquisition
The University Libraries
University of Nevada, Reno      "I'm not against the modern
1664 No. Virginia St.            world.  I just don't think
Reno, NV  89557                  everything's for sale."
PH  (775) 784-6500 x273             -- Elvis Costello
FX  (775) 784-1328

Subject: Re: Quit Checking in Journal Issues?
From: "Diane M Lewis" <dilewis@usgs.gov>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 13:23:00 -0400

An interesting discussion, but we cannot all abandon checkin without
shirking some responsibilities.  Libraries which participate in cooperative
collection agreements might need to keep track of serials within their area
of responsibility. One hopes that folks who stop doing so at least work out
this out with their cooperators.  At least, then we'll all know who cannot
participate fully in ILL.

 If the online journal version differs significantly from the paper, if no
one is preserving a viable, permanent digital copy of the entire run of the
title, if researchers must cite the paper edition for verification
purposes, some libraries are obligated to continue checkin.  Many of us
still checkout journals and must determine who has what. Perhaps there is a
way to do all of this without checking issues in....

Lastly, although a large number of subscription titles are digitized, not
all journals, especially the more obscure ones, are electronic.  I, for
one, don't want to drink this Koolaid until I know what's in it!

Diane M. Lewis, Serial Records Librarian
U.S. Geological Survey Library--MS950
Reston, Virginia  20192  USA
Tel. 703-648-4399
Fax 703-648-6376

"If you're going to play the game, you'd better know every rule."--Barbara
"Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of the agency or the Federal

From: "Rick Anderson" <rickand@unr.edu>
Subject: Kluwer example (RE: Quit Checking In Journal Issues? (5 messages)
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 10:29:21 -0700

> Here is one example of what can happen.  Our library has subscriptions to
> 102 titles from Kluwer.  Of those, 16 were placed with one vendor during
> the 2001 subscription year.  Of those 16, 12 of the subscriptions were in
> trouble.  Several of the subscriptions, in their entirety, had
> been sent to
> an incorrect address.  We still have the entire year missing on a
> couple of
> the titles.  If we had not checked in or claimed printed issues, we would
> have (on these 12 titles alone) wasted $5,468 for the State of Arkansas.

We prevent this sort of thing in a low-tech, but pretty effective, manner.
Now that our students are spending less time on routine check-in, they spend
a lot more time in the Current Periodicals stacks (where we keep multiple
recent issues of each title, not just the most current issue).  They're
charged with three primary duties: reshelving, tidying up, and watching for
significant gaps.  When they see them, we follow up.

Is this a perfect solution?  Absolutely not.  But perfect solutions are not
available to us; we have to do the best with what we have.  Traditional
check-in saved you $5,468 in the situation above.  But unless you were also
"checking in" (i.e., constantly monitoring) all of your online products, you
were risking even deeper losses on the online side.  We have online products
that cost many times that amount, and under the old regime we were basically
ignoring them while we carefully managed our subscriptions to Redbook and
Rolling Stone.

In the case of Kluwer, we've also prevented this sort of thing in a more
high-tech manner: we get all Kluwer titles online.  This is the real
solution, frankly.

Rick Anderson
Director of Resource Acquisition
The University Libraries
University of Nevada, Reno      "I'm not against the modern
1664 No. Virginia St.            world.  I just don't think
Reno, NV  89557                  everything's for sale."
PH  (775) 784-6500 x273             -- Elvis Costello
FX  (775) 784-1328

Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 12:51:37 -0500
From: Susan Andrews <Susan_Andrews@tamu-commerce.edu>
Subject: Re: Quit Checking in Journal Issues? (7 messages)

Okay, I have one really big question about this (I can see your point
however).  How do you know when you stop receiving a title that you are
subscribing to?  Or are you just luckier than I am and you have never had
this problem.  I know that every year I have at least a few (and sometimes
more) titles that just stop coming.  If I am not checking in, I would have
no way of knowing that this had happened.  So, how are you handling this?

Susan Andrews
Head, Serials Librarian
Texas A&M University-Commerce
P.O. Box 3011
Commerce, TX 75429-3011
"Your Success Is Our Business"

At 02:38 PM 8/13/2002 -0700, you wrote:
> > Rick, would you be willing to elaborate for the group?
>Okay.  I can't really go into all the details here, of course, but I'll
>happily talk with anyone who wants to call or e-mail me.
>First of all, I should refer you to a brief (and very badly edited, grrrr)
>piece I wrote on this topic in the May issue of Library Journal ("A sacred
>cow bites the dust," Library Journal v. 127 no. 8 [May 1 2002] p. 56).  My
>boss and I are also preparing a more thorough treatment for a future issue
>of LCATS.
>Here's the long and the short of it: At the University of Nevada our print
>journals represent the least-used 20% of our journal collection.  Yet with
>traditional check-in, we were devoting the majority of our student time and
>a significant chunk of our classified staff time to the management of that
>least-used 20%.  If check-in is necessary, why were we only doing it for the
>least-used segment of the collection?  And if it's not necessary, why were
>we doing it at all?  (Our Dean of Libraries actually posed this question to
>me when I first arrived at Nevada, and I laughed it off.  It took me seven
>months to suddenly realize that he was right.)
>We decided it's not necessary.  It's now been a year since we stopped
>check-in, and the results have been great.  We claim only selectively, we
>box instead of binding, and we do a much better job of maintaining our
>online offerings, which are heavily used.  I think the liberating
>realization for me was that there was no way my small serials staff was
>going to be able to closely manage 15,000 journal subscriptions.  That meant
>we were going to have to prioritize.  In the past, our default setting had
>been to manage print carefully and to manage online sloppily; that's an
>increasingly goofy way to offer information to patrons.  Doing away with
>check-in basically meant switching those priorities, and so far it looks
>like our patrons have benefited significantly from that decision.
>Rick Anderson
>Director of Resource Acquisition
>The University Libraries
>University of Nevada, Reno      "I'm not against the modern
>1664 No. Virginia St.            world.  I just don't think
>Reno, NV  89557                  everything's for sale."
>PH  (775) 784-6500 x273             -- Elvis Costello
>FX  (775) 784-1328

Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 14:01:28 -0400
From: David Goodman <dgoodman@Princeton.EDU>
Subject: Re: Quit Checking in Journal Issues?

This is one of the few times I disagree with Rick-- but only partly. At
our Biology Library many of those few titles which we continue to get in
print only are titles of third world organizations or  of specialists in
obscure groups of organisms. (I suspect that there are analogous cases
in other fields.)  Sometimes we have found we are the only library with
nearly complete files. I therefore think we have a special obligation to
take particular care for the completeness of these and for maintaining
accurate records about them. As has been mentioned, they are if missing
sometimes very difficult to claim. But if they are sufficiently valuable
from a scholarly perspective, we'll try to fill in with  photocopy--if
we can even get it.

As for keeping track of electronic, yes most definitely we need a good
way to do this, especially a good way to do this efficiently.  Perhaps a
cooperative effort to verify the completeness of publishers' files might
be an appropriate step ?

David Goodman
Research Librarian and
Biological Science Bibliographer
Princeton University Library
Princeton, NJ 08544-0001
phone: 609-258-7785
fax: 609-258-2627
e-mail: dgoodman@princeton.edu

Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 11:36:45 -0700
From: "Carol Morse" <MorsCa@wwc.edu>
Subject: Re: Quit Checking in Journal Issues? (7 messages)

We would not consider this. How would you keep tabs on claims, etc.?  Of
course, most of our journals are still in print.
Carol Morse

Carol Morse                                                  Tel.  509)
Serials Librarian                                             Fax 509)
Walla Walla College Library                     Email  morsca@wwc.edu
104 S.W. Adams St.
College Place, WA  99324-1586

Give us strength for the journey and wisdom to know the way.