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Opinion on serials (fwd) Mitch Turitz 16 Jul 1992 19:13 UTC

I am forwarding the following from Autocat - I think it is
very interesting from a patron's point of view -- Mitch

Forwarded message:
> Date:         Thu, 16 Jul 1992 00:55:32 -0500
> From: Winship <winship@TENET.EDU>
> Subject:      Opinion on serials
> Dear AUTOCAT Folk;
>     Having rashly volunteered to give an opinion to professionals on
> how they ought to do their job, I find I cannot do so as briefly as I
> would like.  I could write a small book on the subject at hand and
> not exhaust it (as I'm sure could most of you).  Many of the points
> I wished to raise have been addressed, in bits and pieces, by the many
> who have contributed to AUTOCAT on this topic.  However, fool that I am,
> I shall dare.
>     I assume this discussion has been primarily about what would generally
> be called magazines, journals, newsletters, etc.
>     I would say the overriding criterion for deciding the cataloging and
> shelving of such material should be the needs of the library's users,
> which will be different for each library.
>     I have used libraries which classify all periodicals and shelve them
> with all other material of the same class.  This arrangement is excellent
> for a library geared to scholarly research.  If one is researching a par-
> ticular idea it is nice to be able to find the majority of material on it
> in a relatively small area of a large library.  If this scheme is used,
> *please* do not have the most recent, unbound issues in a different
> location.
>     That last sentence also applies to libraries which have all period-
> icals in a central location.  Latest issues with the older, bound
> volumes, please, regardless of whether the collection is alphabetical
> or otherwise.
>     In a library with a broader range of users, I believe alphabetical is
> the way to go.  As someone mentioned, many people check the periodicals
> with a particular item in mind without looking in the catalog, periodicals
> list, or what have you.  Also, the commercial indexes of articles do not
> generally give call numbers.  It is a real pain to search indexes for
> pertinent articles and *then* have to find where *this* library's
> librarians decided to hide the periodical(s) you need.  And yes, I do
> quite often feel that finding what I want in a library is a game of hide
> and seek.
>     The matter of title changes in an alphabetized arrangement does
> present problems.  I give you carte blanche to do as you please with the
> nightmare of an irregular publication whose issuers can't remember what
> they called it last time; if no one can find the stuff, tough luck.
>     When considering long running, regular publications with a span of
> years and many issues between title changes, the situation is different.
> If the title changes, please keep the previous issues in the same place
> under the old title and put the new issues where they belong alphabetically
> with the new title.  By all means, put dummies on the shelves indicating
> the change of title, but make it clear what is going on ("continued as",
> "preceded by" and the like are rather cryptic and not immediately clear
> to the uninitiated).
>     Summary:
>       Whatever arrangement is used should fit the needs of the users,
>          not the convenience of the staff, and *definitely* not the
>          whim of some new administrator.
>       If classed, shelve with other material of same class.
>       If alphabetized (preferable in most cases), keep it strictly so:
>          if the title changes, don't move all of it to the new title.
>       Regardless of system used, put the most recent issues with the
>          older, bound volumes.
>     I realize much of what I've said pertains more to shelving than
> cataloging, but since much of the discussion has been slanted that way
> I haven't a guilty conscience.  I figure you folk can sort out the
> cataloging ramifications of my opinions, if you so wish.
>     If I haven't addressed someone's question or position (I haven't
> spoken to browsing, for example, as there are different forms, to
> different ends), let me know directly and as explicitly as possible and
> I'll respond as able.
>     Please direct all flames to rather than burdening
>     Cordially,
> Douglas Winship
> Austin, Texas