Identifying Representative Serials for Various Readerships (Albert Henderson) SERIALST Moderator 15 Oct 2002 21:20 UTC

Date: Tue, 15 Oct 2002 15:59:20 -0400
From: Albert Henderson <>
Subject: Identifying Representative Serials for Various Readerships

on Fri, 11 Oct 2002 Janet L. Flowers <> wrote:

> I am posting this message on behalf of a colleague who does not
> subscribe to this listserv.  She would be grateful for any suggestions
> that anyone can offer.
> Thank you.
> Janet L. Flowers
> "Here is my situation and my questions:
> My dissertation work examines how different social groups perceive and
> understand the World Wide Web in the US and I propose to analyze the
> selected groups' representative periodicals in the last decade to extract
> their social interpretations of the Web. The groups include librarians,
> computer science person or technology developers, business person
> /managers, and the general public. But I found some difficulty identifying
> their 'representative' periodicals. I have used Ulrich's International
> Periodical Directory to locate periodicals with high circulation, and got
> confused by different kinds of circulation numbers: paid, controlled, or
> free. I sorted my search results by circulation (descending), and some
> journals with paid or controlled circulation are listed before other
> journals with higher circ. numbers.

        In the industry the terms usually mean the following:

        "Paid" means subscribers pay to receive it

        "controlled" usually means the subscription list
        is compiled by the publishers, including readers
        who have requested it be sent. These are usually
        trade journals whose revenue comes from advertising.

        "free" usually means the list is compiled

> My questions are:
> * Do the different kinds of circulation numbers carry different weight?

        In your context I would say yes.

> * What are the standard ways of evaluating the impact or importance of a
> periodical?

        The standards vary depending upon your goal. A media
        buyer would not be interested in 'social interpretations
        of the web.' Citation impacts are typically several
        years behind the current issue and probably of historical
        usefulness. A periodical may have a limited circulation
        but be influential because of its readership.

> * And what would our serials experts say are the representative
> periodicals of the groups of librarians, technology developers, business
> person/managers, and the general public in the US?

        Association publications aim to speak to and for
        their memberships. Commercial publications may be
        more successful -- if they take an interest in your
        subject -- in the sense that they are more influenced
        by advertisers' interests more than by volunteeer

        When it comes to information technology, nearly all
        periodicals are likely to have broken down the
        insulation between the editorial and ad sales
        departments. That means that you can expect to find
        propaganda supporting new developments and visions,
        dismissing negative reports.

        Best wishes,

Albert Henderson