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Re: Dropping serials checkin and other issues related Eleanor Cook 12 Aug 2004 03:07 UTC

Dear SERIALST colleagues,

I have been lurking on this thread now for a while and I want to weigh in.
However, before I do - I have a disclaimer to put forward - 1) Rick
Anderson helps me edit ACQNET-L and so we are not strangers - but that has
nothing to do with my comments here; 2) this thread is happening on
SERIALST, where it should be - so please don't get confused and try to
comment on ACQNET! (Thank you very much...)

There has been a lot of discussion about these concepts and practices
since Rick and others from UN-Reno have put them forth in various forums.
There's more than article, plus a number of presentations at NASIG, the
Charleston Conference and other places.

I'm tooting my own horn here, but some of my App State colleagues and I
have discussed some of these questions in <Serials Review> lately as well.

Serials Review, Volume 30, Issue 2
, Summer 2004, Pages 117-121

Here's the real point - We are in the middle of a huge shift. Some
libraries are on the cutting edge, and many others will follow along
eventually. What you are doing now may not be what you do in the future.
Whatever you do, you need to be thinking about this shift and how your
library will handle it.

There are a number of knee jerk reactions that people constantly trot out.
The auditor card is constantly played - I've done it too!  But that is a
red herring - let's face it, the auditors have to face the reality of the
digital world on a number of fronts - not just the library.  At
universities, all kinds of financial transactions and properties that used
to be physical are going digital - so forget using this as an excuse to
hide from the changes that are inevitable.

As to the value of what we used to do compared to what we are going to be
doing in the future - this deserves some real analysis. We will - for the
foreseeable future - continue to receive some physical journals that
require and deserve checking in and claiming and binding and all the
things we are used to doing.  BUT NOT AS MANY AS BEFORE.

There is and is going to continue to be many, many titles that can be and
should be handled differently.  And these titles, as electronic entities,
will have their own special problems. For instance:

When a print title changes publisher, your subscription agent makes sure
you still receive it, and the serials staff may or may not catch that the
publisher has changed.  Sometimes serials catalogers catch this and
document it, but only if they are dealing with a title change or are doing
recon. (like anyone is doing that these days J )But in the print realm,
this does not usually matter too much - as long as you get the issues.
Oh yeah, sometimes the transition causes a claim, or the new publisher
will delay the next volume, but you usually get what you paid for.

In the online realm - not so!  When Publisher A sells Title X to Publisher
B, and all you have is the online version - what a mess!!  Your online
access is summarily cut off and you usually don't know anything about it
until a patron complains or someone stumbles upon it.  And it can take up
 to 6 months to a year to regain the access you have paid for. So welcome
to a new claiming hell.

I know that some publishers are waking up to this problem, but many are
still in the dark.

Another problem that we need to face is that URLs have to be perfect. We
are not in the days when catalogers have the luxury to obsess over making
their MARC records pretty - if the URL is not perfect, it doesn't connect.
Remind your library director about that.

With these and other challenges in mind, serials managers have to ask
themselves whether it is more important to perfectly maintain the
dwindling hundreds of print serials or the burgeoning thousands of online
journals being thrust upon us. That is the point of everything Rick
addresses in his articles and presentations.

A lot of us say - they are both important.  And the shift will take care
of itself - well maybe. But if you are not proactive and take steps to
manage the shift, someone else surely will do it for you. Sounds familiar
doesn't it?

Rick says he only has 2.5 staff to handle all this and hasn't addressed
why he should ask for more. This makes me think that like me, he is doing
a lot of this work himself. We have opportunities here for allowing our
staff to learn new skills and have chances for position upgrades.  I
desperately need help with the online maintenance of e-journals.  And not
from other librarians - I need good, well-trained, staff to help with

Systems staff and serials staff need to work more closely together to
define the kinds of things they and the serials staff do on an every day

There are many opportunities here - and we have to accept that things are
changing in a big way.

Thanks for listening,

Eleanor I. Cook
Serials Coordinator & Professor
Belk Library, ASU Box 32026
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608-2026
828-262-2773 fax