Print newsletters moving to e-mail Barnard, Sarah 31 Jan 2007 21:22 UTC
My library, Hebrew Union College Klau Library in Cincinnati, Ohio, is experiencing this problem big time. We collect exhaustively in Judaica and one of the many areas in which we collect is newsletters of Jewish organizations. Until now we have striven to catalog fully as many of these newsletters as we can. They have always been fairly labor intensive to deal with, but since they are not accessible in many places, we have felt that we are providing a worthwhile service. Now many of these publications are switching to being available on websites, by e-mail and/or in other electronic formats. Our first thought was to treat them as we would other e-journals with full cataloging and access points. However, we have a small staff to do that and we are becoming totally swamped with them. We've been having discussions about how to handle them. Two of the suggestions have been: to provide less than full cataloging in our OPAC but to include hot links wherever possible, or, to have some sort of finding aid or listing on our library's website, providing users with links to the organizations' websites.
I really feel that printing them is retrogressive, space consuming, and not very helpful, although we have been known to do it, especially for some missing back issues, or issues from an organization that is now defunct when we doubt that the website will remain viable. The e-mail newsletters are a particular problem because they are sent to one address. In that case, the temptation to just print them is strong.
For password protected sites, we try to use a small number of passwords and have them available at the circulation desk, but we obviously need to get more hi-tech with that. We don't yet have remote access to our full text online titles but it is coming.
In short, we are discussing the problem and coming up with some ideas, but I'd be happy to hear what others are doing. It's a relief to know that others are having similar problems.
Sarah M. Barnard
Hebrew Union College - Klau Library
3101 Clifton Ave.
Cincinnati, OH 45220