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serials workflow summary BMACLENN@UVMVM.BITNET 22 Jul 1991 01:30 UTC

Thanks to everyone who responded to my question (of last month) Re.
Serials workflow patterns in your institution.

There were 10 responses (public and private) and the workflow patterns
from each response was quite varied -- which makes them difficult to
summarize in a short message.  Nonetheless, here's an attempted summary
and a brief list of sources for further reading.

NOTE:  No one took into account the size of their staff or collection
(i.e., amount of staff time needed for processing, relative to volume
of work or size of their serials collection).

There was only one "integrated approach" (i.e., periodicals "from cradle
to grave"), meaning ordering, cataloging, check-in, public services in
one centralized location.

All others have various configurations of responsibilities:

    -  Serials Acquisitions separate from Public Services
    -  Serials Acquis./Ordering with Public Services (3 responses)
    -  Serials Dept. consisting of: Acquis./Cataloging/Bindery
    -  Serials Dept. consisting of: Acquis./Binding/Public Services

In most instances, serials cataloging is done by a separate unit
(i.e., Cataloging or Bibliographic Control Depts.) or contracted out.

Bindery work (except where mentioned above) was either a separate unit,
or not mentioned.

In almost all instances, people stressed the importance of communication
and coordination of workflow between various units.

Sources for further reading (compiled from this discussion only; there
are probably others):

The Good Serials Department, edited by Peter Gellatly (a compilation
  of several articles related to this topic) in Serials Librarian,
  v.19, no.1/2 (1990).

"Where are Serials in Your Organization Chart?"  Miriam Palm's summary
  of a workshop presented by Terry Ann Sayler and Carol Schaafsma at
  the 4th Annual NASIG Conference in Serials Librarian, v.17, no.3/4
  (1990): 159-161.

Collver, Mitsuko. "Organization of Serials Work for Manual and Automated
  Systems," Library Resources and Technical Services, v.24, no.4 (Fall
  1980): 307-316.  (Discussion of "reciprocal interdependence" as a
  theoretical basis for grouping serials activities).

Carol Magenau of Dartmouth also tells me of a library science thesis at
Northwestern (ca. 1978-82) that surveyed 150 serials units and found
that no two are alike in their configuration of responsibilities!

I suppose one can take heart that there are so many possible workflow
arrangements and that they are all getting the job done in one way
or another.  However, this seems to be one question in the library
world that defies any notion of "standardization."

Thanks again to all of you who responded.  If anyone else has thoughts
on this topic or feels like posting additional workflow responses
(to me or the list) I'd welcome hearing from you.

Birdie MacLennan             bmaclenn@uvmvm.BITNET
University of Vermont  (Internet)