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Current thinking on binding periodicals (5 messages) SERIALST Moderator 17 Oct 2006 17:12 UTC

5 messages:

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 08:04:24 -0700
From: Mina Davenport <>
Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Current thinking on binding periodicals

I stopped binding everything this year. We are a pediatric teaching
facility, so I will still continue to bind our pediatric-related titles. I
was going to bind such titles as Blood, because it does help to save
space, but I may rethink that. We have quite a few electronic titles now,
many of which we do not have the print. I am going to stop carrying both
print and online for many of our titles next year and see how that goes,
but with titles like American journal of medicine. I guess I have to drag
myself kicking and screaming into the digital age...

Mina Davenport, Librarian
Childrens Hospital
Health Sciences Library
747 52nd Street
Oakland CA 94609  USA
(510) 428-3448 (p)
(510) 601-3963 (f)

-----Original Message-----
From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
[mailto:SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Mark L. Ferguson
Sent: Tuesday, October 17, 2006 8:41 AM
Subject: [SERIALST] Current thinking on binding periodicals

Dear all:

I have recently had my budget for the binding of periodicals slashed from
$3500 to $500 p/yr.  This may only be a temporary situation but I have to
come up with justification for why we should continue to bind, which has
forced me to re-evaluate the value of binding, now that we depend on
digital access to periodicals more and more, and on print less and less.
We have moved a number of our key titles to an electronic subscription
through either Ovid or ECO which guarantees archival access to all the
issues we have subscribed to.  And we have ceased our print subscriptions
to them, when we could, and certainly stopped binding them.

We have also begun to box all of our remaining loose journals that we
subscribe to, which helps to organize and protect them at about one fifth
the cost of binding.  Its not as good as binding, but it is better than
just leaving the issues loose on the stacks.  We could stop binding
altogether and simply box all print titles we receive and increase our
reliance on electronic journals.

I am interested to know what everyone else is doing with binding of
periodicals in this age of digitalization.  Is binding becoming a thing of
the past?

I am looking forward to all of your thinking on this matter.


Mark Ferguson
Periodicals Librarian, Mahoney Library
College of Saint Elizabeth, 2 Convent Road, Morristown, NJ 07960

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 10:22:45 -0500
From: Sarah Tusa <tusa@ALMARK.LAMAR.EDU>
Subject: Binding periodicals

The question of whether to continue binding periodicals is of growing concern.
We still bind most of our periodicals, but I suspect that practice will dwindle
in the next few years.  It seems a lot of people are weeding/tossing bound
periodicals that are included in JStor, and that will probably be our first
step, whereafter we will cease to bind those journals.  For other electronicallyavailable journals, it seems that the first question to be addressed would be
the question of perpetual access.  I am very leary of tossing any bound volumes
for which I do not have written promise of perpetual access.

Another concern is usage.  I have read that there are consortia (or maybe less
formalized library groups) wherein each member agrees to keep a certain list
of bound volumes in perpetuity, so that others can discard them.  This arrangement would appear to be very useful for older runs with continued high use (whether due to lending or local use) or low availability.  (We keep some older journals largely because few other libraries in the region have a run that goes as far
back as ours, and such runs help us maintain a net lender status.)

We are certainly not on the forefront of this development, but I do see a
shifting away from binding to follow behind the shift away from print journal
subscriptions.  It would seem, however, that each library will need to make
some decisions about what to keep binding and what to keep at all, as far as
print backfiles are concerned.

Just my two-cents' worth.
Good luck!

Sarah Tusa
Lamar University
Beaumont, TX

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 10:28:07 -0500
From: Dana Belcher <>
Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Current thinking on binding periodicals

I'm curious as to why you box all remaining current subscriptions.  Just
because you buy something, doesn't mean you need to keep it forever.
That was the philosophy here until a few years ago.  Computer journals
are obsolete as soon as they're printed, so we only keep them for 3
years then we withdraw them.  We've cut way back (over $25,000) in our
microforms, and about 1/2 in our binding budget due to these types of
retentions.  We then offer the withdrawn items thru the duplicate
exchange program.

We still bind quite a bit (several thousand dollars a year), but the
use of that collection is very low.

Dana Belcher
Assistant Library Director
Acquisitions/Periodicals Librarian
East Central University
Linscheid Library
1100 E. 14th
Ada, OK 74820

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 10:32:37 -0500
From: "Mays, Allison" <>
Subject: RE: [SERIALST] Current thinking on binding periodicals

About your binding question:

Sounds like you don't have much choice: your budget is slashed.

It's an interesting question and one I've thought about. What really
brings it to mind is pitching out a run of a journal and I look at the
bound volumes and think, "We could have spent the money it cost to bind
those journals elsewhere." The waste makes me crazy.

You can reuse the boxes.

It's just up to you; one consideration is that if you don't bind, your
journals are never off the shelf for a month or however long it takes to
get them bound.

Do you have a feel for how much the print is used? We have no way to
track usage for our print, so it's just what we observe. We have to drag
students kicking and screaming to the print. What I'm getting at is:
does the usage justify having the expense of binding? Will it be a
problem if they're in boxes? How likely are you to eventually pitch some
of those journals, like the JSTOR titles? If it was me, I'd continue to
bind ones like Time and Newsweek which come out more often and are
heavily used and box the rest. A lot of it depends on format: those nice
little quarterly ones that are about half an inch thick are great in
boxes; the thinner glossy ones don't do so well and are more likely to
get torn up.

Is the print format going away? I hope so. I did an opinion piece in
Against the Grain years ago and said that journals couldn't go online
fast enough to suit me; I walk through our periodicals room and think,
"This is a dinosaur." What really sealed that for me was having to shift
the entire collection 2 years ago. That's when the electronic version
starts looking REALLY good. When you think of the manual labor involved
in maintaining a print collection, it's staggering. I'm just tired of
the checking in, the binding, the claiming, the shifting, yadda yadda.

I wouldn't want to be in the bindery business...that's the only
unfortunate thing about the "new" scenario: some of those businesses
will go under. I hate to see that but I'd say it's inevitable.

Hope this helps. Hope you get your bindery money back; but by then you
may have found a better way to use it. :-)

Allison P. Mays
Coordinator of Acquisitions & Cataloging
Millsaps College
1701 N. State Street
Jackson, MS 39210

Date: Tue, 17 Oct 2006 11:47:06 -0400
From: Beth Burleigh <>
Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Current thinking on binding periodicals

Hi Mark,
Our library's situation may not be like yours. Our college is a
specialized techinical college, we bind a lot of our periodicals because
many are not available online. We have found that even though we are
told we will have access, if the publisher says pull the aggregators
must pull that title. We have found microfilm that has articles cut out
because the author requested that their work not be duplicated in this
For our institution I believe we will always do quite a bit of binding.
I also believe that as more and more titles we subscribe to become
available online, we will certainly consider changing to online access.


Beth Burleigh
Acquisitions Specialist,
Periodicals and Electronic Resources
Pennsylavania College of Technology
Madigan Library
One College Ave.
Williamsport, PA  17701-5799
Phone: (570) 320-2400 ext. 7454
Fax: (570) 327-4503