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Counting Serials Birdie MacLennan 05 Aug 1994 14:54 UTC

Ed. note:  Please send responses to Martha Kyrillidou <>.
Date: Thu, 4 Aug 1994 08:13:56 -0400 (EDT)
From: Ann Okerson <>
Subject: Counting Serials

The activities of a number of national library and higher education
organizations include statistical programs which involve measuring
libraries' work and outputs.  One of the continuing conversations in our
organization lately has been how to count serials, a topic that (to no
one's surprise) is being revisited because of the increasing number of
substantial, although "de-massified" (that is, they have no physical
presence) serials.

Included below are some of questions we've been pondering at ARL.  Some
are "old" questions and some are new ones.  If SERIALST readers have any
views on these, or other aspects of counting serials, we would be
delighted to hear them.

1.  If a serial is on microform, should it be counted as:  a serial
    subscription, a microform/volume equivalent, or both?

2.  If a collection (a microform set or a CD, say) contains many serials
    under what circumstances should each individual one be counted, or does
    one count the single subscription as one?

    o What about collections like ABI/Inform?

3.  Under what circumstances do you count an Internet serial as a local

    o If you bring it into your own campus system and store it there for
      your users, and make a bibliographic record for it?

    o If you don't bring it into your own system but provide remote access
      to it (say it is is held in a good e-archive at NC State and your
      patrons can gopher to it) but you provide a record for it?

    o What if the serial is a TOC service and the user still has to go
      get the articles remotely?

    o  Does "free" or "paid" make a difference in counting?  Should it?

In other words, how much of an "investment" should be made in order for
the title to be counted?  How much user support on the library's side
is involved?

4.  What are the ways of counting accesses to serials you don't hold?

    o Under what circumstances would you want to count them?

Please contact Martha Kyrillidou ( with your thoughts.  We
will be pleased to report back to the list with a summary of responses.

Thank you,
Ann Okerson/Association of Research Libraries