Re: Alpha or Subject (i.e., call number) order? Sarah Sutton 04 Sep 2003 16:23 UTC

Dear Valerie,

We're about a year in to a project to convert our print and microform
collection of about 2000 titles from arrangement in alphabetical order by
title to arrangement by call number.  We made the decision to convert for
consistency sake (the rest of the collection is shelved by call number)
and based on growth and changes in the university's mission and goals.

We're moving slowly because I don't want to have to do this twice!  And
because, as is typical, there's far more work than there are people to do
it.  We decided to work on the microform collection first because it's
smaller and we hope to establish a work flow that we can apply to the
conversion of the print collection.

We've inventoried the collection and are in the process of assigning call
numbers to those titles that don't already have them.  When that's
finished, my intention is that I and the Serials Assistant will barcode
and create item records for each roll of microfilm.  Then our student
assistants will create and apply call number labels to each roll and
reshelve them by title.  Once the whole collection is labeled, then we'll
rearrange it by call number in one fell swoop.  I'm hoping that the
rearrangement will take less than a week and that we can do it during
winter intersession so we inconvenience as few patrons as possible.

Whew, that's a bit more than you asked for, I hope it helps.  Feel free to
pick my brain if it will help, I'm happy to share ideas.

I'm also anxious to hear how your informal survey turns out...I've always
heard that it's about 50/50 between libraries that shelve by call number
and libraries that shelve in alphabetical order.


Sarah Sutton
Serials Librarian
Mary and Jeff Bell Library
Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
6300 Ocean Drive
Corpus Christi, TX 78412
phone 361.825.2355
fax 361.825.5973

>>> langval@HVCC.EDU 09/04/03 08:56AM >>>
Hi all,

I am the one who sent the message below some months back. My sincere
thanks for the many responses received.

The responses spurred another question:  How many of you actually have
your periodicals in call number or subject order?  The prospect of
converting our periodical arrangement from alpha to subject matter
(hence call number) order has many implications and is surely more
complicated than originally anticipated.  Frankly we are wondering what
other academic libraries are doing out there re: arrangement of their
periodical collections.

If you would simply send me a quick e-mail off the list indicating
whether your periodicals are in alpha or subject matter order, that
would be wonderful.  If there is interest I'll summarize for the


Valerie A. Lang, J.D., M.L.S.
Hudson Valley Community College
Troy, NY

-----Original Message-----
From: Valerie A. Lang [mailto:langval@HVCC.EDU]
Sent: Wednesday, January 22, 2003 4:00 PM
Subject: Newcomer question


I am a relatively new periodicals librarian at Hudson Valley Community
College.  I would like to group our periodicals according to subject
matter, provide this list in hardcopy format (in a binder), and also via
a link off of our Library web page.

We have a very large, outdated binder titled "Periodicals:  Alphabetical
by Academic Division."  This will not work at this point; it is too
outdated. Our journals are physically arranged in the Library in
alphabetical order, so we really cannot base this prospective subject
list of periodicals on the arrangement of our collection.

Does anyone have experience with creating such a list - and any advice
on pitfalls to avoid, things that worked, etc.  Otherwise, I'll just
start plugging.......


Valerie A. Lang
Periodicals Librarian
Troy, NY 12180