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Re: Direct subscriptions Martin, Heath 25 May 2004 19:47 UTC

We get the vast majority, 172, of our titles through EBSCO, a number at
least roughly comparable to what you're talking about.  When I stepped
into this position, we had moved many of our titles to EBSCO (initially
spurred largely by our need to quickly find a new home for our erstwhile
Divine subscriptions), and I've continued doing so as much as possible.
I can't imagine handling all of our subscriptions direct (at least with
the number of staff available these days).  In fact, it often strikes me
what a disproportionate amount of time we spend managing the handful of
direct subscriptions we still do have.  (There will always be at least a

Even with this few titles, I believe any premium we pay for EBSCO's
services is more than made up in savings in staff time/money, as well as
less potential for collection gaps (from occasionally dropping one of
those subscriptions you're juggling) that need to be filled.  I've also
been pleased by EBSCO's ability to make arrangements with specialized
publishers.  We're able to get many of our maritime-related titles
through them.

Other benefits I think have already been mentioned.

One potentially (though not necessarily) offsetting thing, though, about
going with a vendor like EBSCO.  You'll still get a lot of renewal
notices from the publishers for titles you get through the vendor.  To
handle these as efficiently as possible, our procedure is to check the
renewal notice's titles against our always-at-hand list of current
subscriptions from EBSCO, and if our subscription through EBSCO is
current, throw away the renewal notice from the publisher and pretend
you never saw it.  If you don't put in place a clear and streamlined
procedure for handling these very frequent false alarms, your savings in
staff time can start to dwindle.  Even worse, depending on your workflow
in other areas, you can end up with duplicate subscriptions (and
payments), one to the publisher and one to EBSCO.  And again, that
savings in staff time dwindles further.

Best of luck,

Heath Martin
Acquisitions/Collection Development Librarian
SUNY Maritime College Library
6 Pennyfield Avenue, Fort Schuyler
Bronx, NY  10465
(718) 409-7229

-----Original Message-----
From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
[mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Mays, Allison
Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 3:28 PM
Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Direct subscriptions

I don't know about the literature but the practical experiences of other
librarians is probably more useful to you. You just have to balance out
the extra work in processing 164 more invoices. We have about 550
current subscriptions, plus some direct. I have to say that the direct
ones are a pain, mainly because we HAVE a mix. I have to remember which
ones are direct. The other thing you have to remember is the claiming. I
have just this year started using EBSCONET to process claims and it's
great. You'll have to call every single publisher yourself when
claiming. This alone would keep me from going direct on everything. I
don't have the staff to handle this extra work load.

I tend to go direct on local newspapers and standing orders.

You may save money going direct on your serial subscriptions, but you'll
spend more on staff time processing the invoices. It's just up to you.
You might also talk to your business office or whoever writes the
checks. Find other small libraries with the same number of subs and see
what they're doing.

Good luck.


Allison P. Mays
Acquisitions Librarian
Millsaps College
1701 N. State Street
Jackson, MS 39210

-----Original Message-----
From: Laura Milliman [mailto:lmilliman@VW.VCCS.EDU]
Sent: Monday, May 24, 2004 1:41 PM
Subject: [SERIALST] Direct subscriptions

I am new to this list. Would like to know about feasibility of direct
subscriptions. I have searched the archives, but without standard
subject headings it is difficult to gather all the information in one
place. Are there any published articles or chapters that deal with this
issue? I understand that direct subscriptions would not be practical for
larger libraries. However, we only have 165 current subscriptions. Would
dealing with this small amount of titles make a difference?  Are there
types of titles, such as monographs or newspapers for which ordering
direct might make a difference? Thank you.

Laura Milliman
Brown Library
Virginia Western Community College
PO Box 40012
Roanoke, VA 24022-0012