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Re: dropping serial check-in? Rick Anderson 10 Aug 2004 21:55 UTC

> I think what amazes me, Rick, is that this hasn't risen up and bitten
> you hard once or more.

I understand your amazement.  But maybe there's a lesson there...? ;-)

> It often seems like the issue of a
> journal that a
> student wants most NOW is the one that is somehow missing and
> has fallen
> through all the cracks.

At the risk of sounding glib, if the issue a student wants NOW isn't
online, she probably doesn't want it.  But more seriously, the print
issue a patron wants now is usually on the shelves, and it gets there
faster if it isn't held up in the Serials Department by needless
procedures.  If the issue isn't there and the patron needs an article
immediately, we respond by offering free 24-hour document delivery
(instead of shrugging our shoulders and saying "Sorry, we did receive
that issue, so it should be on the shelf.  Feel free to schlep back to
the library and look again tomorrow.").

> I think what you're hearing from a
> lot of people
> on the list is that they would feel uncomfortable working without the
> safety net of check-in, claims, etc.

I agree, and you've hit the nail on the head.  The problem is that I'm
not powerfully motivated by the prospect of making myself or my staff
more comfortable.  I'm powerfully motivated by the idea of allocating
scarce staff resources in ways that mean the best possible service for
our patrons.  That doesn't always mean doing radical new things, but
when it does, fine.  We're professionals, and can handle a little

> I just keep coming back to the same thing: how do students-faculty-etc
> react when they need an item IMMEDIATELY and you tell them
> you not only
> have no way of knowing if it's being used or was stolen (par for the
> course in serials) but in fact have no way of knowing if you ever even
> received it?

You're thinking like a librarian, not like a patron.  Librarians care
whether the issue has been received in the past; patrons care whether
it's available to them right now.

> still, I feel that there IS a certain comfort level in
> being able to say "Well, we own it; I checked it in" or "It was
> received; here's proof."

You're absolutely right -- but if that comfort level is the most
powerful argument for check-in, then that fact itself is a powerful
argument for eliminating check-in.

Rick Anderson
Dir. of Resource Acquisition
University of Nevada, Reno Libraries
(775) 784-6500 x273