Print serials lists (2 messages) Bob Persing 07 Oct 2003 14:51 UTC

Message #1:
Date: Tue, 07 Oct 2003 10:27:05 -0400
From: Edwardo Gil <>
Subject: Re: print serials lists

I don't think we do a disservice considering the fact that most users
today (at least in our institution) want to utilize the full-text
databases so they don't have a need to check the online catalog for a
periodical title.  We still maintain and generate several copies of
periodicals holdings list in paper format (it is also available on the
web linked to our Articles & More page). We keep several copies in the
periodicals stacks for convenience sake our users don't have close
access to online catalogs; we also keep a few copies in the microfilm
room, again since there is no access to computers.  The reference people
tell me they never use the opac to locate periodicals even though they
are an amazing group of  bibliographic instructors.

One last note, our periodicals holdings list has been maintained for
years by librarians and library assistants.  The old card catalog was
also maintained by people.  These opac's??

Ed Gil
Periodicals Librarian
Sprague Library

Message #2:
Subject: RE: print serials lists
Date: Tue, 7 Oct 2003 09:15:50 -0500
From: "Ronald Hardy" <>


Our library has 850 active subscriptions, 1250 total serial titles.  We
maintain a printed list, our "red book" of serials titles and holdings
information.  One rationale is that it is a very handy alternative to being
chained to the computer, as we print about two or three dozen and have them
distributed around the library, especially around the serials stacks
themselves.  It has also been a life saver when the network is down.  It is
also used to track changes throughout the course of the year (the serials
assistant marks her copy with changes, and periodically pens in changes in the
copies out in the library), and until last year we also used a copy of the
redbook to do regular "pick-up-and-count" stats at circulation with hash marks,
which we collect all year.  (I have automated this process now, so it is no
longer done that way).

We have had discussions about why we keep it, the strongest arguement against
it is what Steve stated: the catalog has the most up to date information and we
should make everyone look the info up on the catalog.  Nonetheless, the Red
Book is 99.5 percent accurate, and the idea of "making" our students use the
catalog versus giving them what they want is sometimes (and I mean sometimes,
not all the time) idealistic and forced.  While we have an educational role,
and as a mission teach students how to search our catalog, our online journal
list, and other resources, when a student just wants to know if we have the
1963 Lancet or not the Law of Least Effort picks up the redbook and flips to
Lancet.  We are not going to make a student sit down at a computer (if one is
available), log in to their campus account (most of our stations require patron
logins), and look it up online just to find out if we have this.  This is one
example of Least Effort and Good Customer Service.  In most situations in which
a student is trying to determine if we have a title, our Online Journal List is
the superior tool, as it not only indicates what is in our library (generated
by the catalog) but also full text holdings in databases and online equivalents
of titles.  This is what we teach them, and this is still the first choice, but
the Red Book is a very convenient alternative.

On the other hand, if the generation of the Red Book was a time consuming and
expensive process, it wouldn't be worth it.  At one point it was a complicated
process as it was generated by a custom serials database which also served the
role of annual statistics processing, holdings information, and quality
control.  Now, however, in the wonderful world of convenience, we merely need
to update the 140 page Word document that was previously generated by the
serials database, line up the page breaks, and print!  It takes about a day and
the cost is about $75 tops.

Just my opinion.


-----Original Message-----
From: Steve Murden [mailto:stevemurden@MINDSPRING.COM]
Sent: Monday, October 06, 2003 11:16 PM
Subject: print serials lists

I continue to be amazed at how many libraries maintain
print lists of their serials.  I was the serials librarian at
Va. Commonwelath Univ. for 10 years (late 80s to late
90s), and we managed to jettison it at least 14 years ago,
as soon as we got our holdings in the catalog.

I wonder if those same libraries maintain print lists of their
monograph holdings.  Or their microforms.  Or their realia.
Or [fill in the blank].  We used the opportunity to educate
the public in using the online catalog effectively.  I always
think that to do otherwise does a great disservice to the
library's users and really underestimates their ability to
learn to use the catalog.

Steve Murden