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synopsis of answers to "changing serials departments demands" Rosella Thomas 03 Jun 2005 17:08 UTC


This is a response, or summary, of my earlier e-mail sent to the list on
05/13/05-asking for input from other libraries on how they've changed
procedures to accommodate the growing workload of e-resources. The short
answer is that more libraries contacted me because they were interested in
what libraries were doing and not many libraries have any definite answers

First off, I've been asked to give you all an idea of the number of staff
(paraprofessional and professional) in our department: we are a department
of 12 people, including 2 librarians (professionals); 2 supervisors, 1
office specialist and 7 library technicians (paraprofessionals). One of our
librarian positions is currently vacant and due to start the process of
advertising/interviewing soon.  My own position has recently been upgraded
from library technician to a supervisor for our newly created renewals unit
(supervising 2 library technicians and overseeing our annual serials
renewals). We currently have a hiring freeze-which means one library
technician position will likely not be filled. Our department covers
collection development, acquisitions (monographic order and standing
orders), and serials. We have not had any student workers in our department
for, oh, maybe 5-10 years now. For 2005, we went e-only for almost all of
our Elsevier, Wiley, Kluwer, Springer and Oxford titles. We ordered
print+online for our Sage and Cambridge titles. Changes to e-only has
created a huge workload to try to order correctly and manage these changes
on top of our continuing print subscriptions.

So, here are my reports from other libraries:

Johns Hopkins reported they had changed their claiming parameters for
journals from waiting 15 days before claiming to 30 days before claiming
and that change seemed to be working well for them. They also said
everything else was still in flux, but they are still binding, checking in,
and ordering-although they no longer order replacements for titles that are
available online.

Keene State College reported they have streamlined the processing of some
of the journals that they know will be easily replaced if they are lost.
They also use EBSCOnet for claiming and let EBSCO keep track of the
claims-which they review their Interactive Claim Checker on a daily basis.

Colgate University Libraries reported to the list that they didn't modify
processes, but did redistribute manpower from public services to
accommodate the hiring of their digital resources librarian.

California State Library reported their staff is half of what they had two
years ago-with a serials budget that has been reduced by almost half as
well.  Budget cuts have resulted in cancellation projects, letters to
publishers, closing records, etc.  They did say they've automated a large
part of the record-keeping process, improved their cross-training among
staff, and collaborate to help each other out as the workload requires.

Auburn University reports that they are evaluating their claiming process,
and had stopped claiming for print issues for 2004 in late 2004 when they
knew they were going to e-only for Elsevier with 2005.  They also stopped
ordering replacements for print issues if it is available online.  Even
replacements for those titles not available online are considered for their
cost effectiveness when staff work/time is figured into the ordering
process. They pointed out as more titles are ordered e-only, check-in,
claiming, binding drops off and the noticeable drop-off may mean that
staffing may be reworked in the future.

Finally, there was one library that contacted me directly to phone them,
but I have not been able to connect with them.

So, following on the heels of my post to this list, our whole department
had a big meeting and brain-stormed on what we think could either changed
or dropped.  Just for the serials side of things, which we'd already been
thinking about some of these things prior to my post, some of the items
suggested were:

-revising our claiming parameters (claims reduced from twice to once)
-stop claiming print issues when we have e-access as well
-automatically bind volumes incomplete when issues are missing/not order
-use subscription vendor databases/systems more to automate our processes
(less manual review, more clarification of what we do need to order, keep
track of claiming, etc.)
-redistributing some of the simpler processes, such as check-in of the
print, to fewer staff members to accommodate more staffing to deal with

Nothing was definitely finalized, but, per our department head,  we're
moving ahead quickly to get started with the suggestions that are more
straight-forward and could be done quickly.

I hope this helps. It seems like we are all in the same struggle.  Keep up
the good fight!

>I've poked around the SERIALST archives a bit and I'm interested in
>hearing from serials departments and libraries about what serials-related
>tasks they have let go of or re-prioritized  in order to keep up with the
>current demands of e-resources with the same amount of
>staffing.  Specifically, I'd like to know what libraries have done
>successfully. Some examples would be: ceased claiming altogether, changed
>frequency of timing in claiming or decreased the number of claims that you
>send, changed to claiming only for print that you do not have on-line
>access to, or are now taking advantage of more frequent use of
>subscription vendor databases and reports to streamline their claiming,
>ordering, and renewing processes for serials subscriptions.
>I know all libraries are struggling to keep up, and our library is working
>to implement a module to manage electronic resources in the near future.
>But examples of any processes that you have dropped in the last five years
>or so would be helpful for us to begin rethinking our own serials
>processes.  NOPE!-not checking in print serials is not an option for us.
>As a long-time library worker struggling to keep up, I'd appreciate your
>observations and input.

Rosella D. Thomas, Serials Specialist
Acquisitions Dept/Serials
Knight Library
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299
Phone: (541) 346-1842   FAX: (541) 346-3485