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Re: Difference between database and electronic serial Mark L. Ferguson 02 Oct 2008 16:27 UTC

I'm jumping into this discussion midstream but I think there are some real differences between databases and collections of e journals.  For one, in certain instances, like Electronic Collections Online, you get to pick and choose the titles you want, rather than just taking on an aggregate collections.  In this instance you are also required to pay individual print subscription prices, but you do get the added benifits of electronic formats plus often a nice backfile

Secondly, you should get a guarantee of archival access to all titles subscribed to, again offered by ECO and other collections, such as Sage's collection of ejournals.  Titles can come and go from standard agregate databases (and have;  Do you remember when Sage pulled all of its titles out of the databases a few years back?) but ejournals subscribed to individually should guarentee continued access to what you already have paid for, regardless of whether you continue to subscribe to the e-journal (Again ECO offers this.)

Thirdly, ejournals will allow you to use the issues for inter-library lan, which databases often prohibit.

We need to pay attention to the model being offered when we subscribe to these electronic resources.  Costs and means of access do vary.

Mark Ferguson
Periodicals Librarian
College of Saint Elizabeth


From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum on behalf of Chad Hutchens
Sent: Wed 10/1/2008 11:32 AM
Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Difference between database and electronic serial

Charles hit the nail right on the head...there is a very fine (and often
blurry) line between all these resources.  If one really wanted to look at
these things from a purely technical point of view, the argument could be
that almost all of our e-journals are databases, since the vast majority of
them are run by databases on the back-end.  It's all a matter of

And now we can add even more confusion to this mess by lumping in e-book
collections that are annual subscriptions, can be searched just like an A&I
databases, have a lot in common with both aggregators and packages, and that
also have titles being added to the collections on a regular basis :)

I think we're seeing that there's no silver bullet and that we need to be
flexible in how we deal with these things.  I know here, our budget is tied
to historical decisions made long ago that are almost impossible to change.
Makes for interesting budget meetings.

Chad Hutchens
Electronic Resources Librarian
University of Wyoming Libraries
Dept 3334, 1000 E University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-20000
Ph: (307) 766-5560

> From: Charles McElroy <cnmcelroy@FSU.EDU>
> Reply-To: "SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum"
> Date: Wed, 1 Oct 2008 10:53:14 -0400
> To: "SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum" <SERIALST@LIST.UVM.EDU>
> Subject: Re: [SERIALST] Difference between database and electronic serial
> Obviously, sometimes it seems to be a fine line with this definition but
> I generally view a database as a compilation of information from
> different sources whereas an electronic journal title is just that, a
> specific journal title in electronic format that can be classified by a
> subject area.
> We separate these formats in our payment model by using a database
> budget code, a general electronic journal budget code (used mostly with
> packages, which are multi-disciplinary), and subject specific electronic
> journal budget codes in addition to subject specific print journal
> budget codes. This helps with generating reports to see what is being
> spent in different subject areas even though it does take a little more
> budgetary management.
> Charles
> Charles McElroy
> Serials Acquisitions Librarian
> Florida State University Libraries
> 711 West Madison Street
> P.O. Box 3061005
> Tallahassee, FL  32306-1005
> Phone: 850-645-7911
> Fax: 850-644-5671
> E-mail:
> Angelica Freitas wrote:
>> Hello Serials people!!!
>> I have a question!
>> We all know that eventually most of our print collection will convert into
>> electronic format.
>> Here at our library we have a budget line for "database" and another for
>> "serials" (any format, including electronic).
>> Due to budget constraints, some of my colleagues have decided to "pay" for
>> some of their databases from the serials budget. I am a bit confused by all
>> of this and I would like to know if anyone out there knows the difference
>> between a database and electronic journal???
>> Sorry if I sound confusing
>> Angelica Freitas
>> Serials Administrator
>> Sarah Lawrence College Library
>> One Meadway
>> Bronxville, NY
>> 10708
>> TEL: 914-395-2477
>> FAX: 914-395-2473