Re-thinking Serials Librarianship Birdie MacLennan 08 Mar 1993 18:30 UTC

2 messages, 85 lines:

Date:         Mon, 8 Mar 1993 09:30:59 EST
From:         Joyce Gartrell <gartrell@CUNIXF.CC.COLUMBIA.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Re-thinking Serials Librarianship

Excellent question, Birdie.  Seems to me it would be a very good topic
for an informal discussion at NASIG this year.  Is it too late to
squeeze something like this in?  And the discussion really needs to
happen this year as many of us are in the midst of these kinds of
serial cancellation fall-out.  Columbia University cancelled some
$250,000 worth of serials, but we're not sure whether we're seeing the
fall out yet or not, because, of course, the subscriptions don't run
out until the end of the current subscription.  We're certainly feeling
a slowdown, but we're not sure if it's the cancelled subscription
syndrome, the budget cuts that have affected some binding funds, etc.
In regard to your question about combining depts., with the use of an
integrated system, like NOTIS, the overlap between the acquisitions
process, the downloading/cataloging of titles, the adding of holdings
all become intertwined, and we find we are more and more dependent on
each other for problem solving, much of it caused by this intermingling
of tasks.  Here at Columbia the two departments are physically
separated, so it would be rather difficult to combine us, but once the
building we are in is renovated, the plan currently is to put us in the
same room together.  And although it hasn't been discussed at great
length, there certainly will be some combining of and elimination of
tasks.  Currently two of my support staff in Serials Cataloging are
helping with the Kardex Conversion, which has nothing to do with their
jobs, but their expertise in serials makes them invaluable as extra
hands for this monumental task.  Thanks for asking the question.  I'll
be interested to hear what others have to say.

Joyce Gartrell
Head, Serials Processing (formerly Serials Cataloging)
Columbia University Libraries

Date:         Mon, 8 Mar 1993 08:47:33 -0800
From:         Mitch Turitz <turitz@SFSUVAX1.SFSU.EDU>
Subject:      Re: Re-thinking Serials Librarianship

Birdie - in response to your questions, here are my (personal) observations:

* "Downsizing" has a NEGATIVE effect on morale.  People are expected to to
at least the same amount of work as prior to the "downsizing", but with
less resources (staff, subscriptions, resources, even phone calls)..

* Automation, which had in previous decades been justified by claiming
that it would reduce the need for staff, has turned out to be the
opposite!  Serials automation is very complicated and does not reduce the
number of people checking in issues.  Maintenance of automated systems are
equivalent, or longer, then maintenance of older catalog card and/or
manual check-in systems.  All system-generated claims need to be manually
checked before sending out, to make sure that the claims are indeed what
we want to claim (and who to claim from).

* Hardware/software shelf-life has decreased so that it needs replacing
EVERY 5 YEARS at least!  This is especially frustrating as vendors cease
to support old hardware/software and funding for upgrades is non-existant.

* The role of Collection Development seems to be changing from ordering
new serials to cancelling current subscriptions and trying to define what
a "minimal core collection" is.

* Inter-library loan staff seem to have increased workloads, but no
compensation for the consequences of the massive periodical cancellations.

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