I have just looked over a summary of some of our serials cataloging
statistics since 1985 and noticed a significant fluctuation in the number of
title changes. There was a big increase in title changes processed in 1986,
some decreases in 1988 and 1989, a big drop in 1990 followed by a big
increase in 1991, and then a significant decrease since then. Overall, it
looks like in 1995 we handled about half the number of title changes as in 1985.
We have a lower number of current subscriptions and standing orders than we
did 10 years ago, but perhaps only by about 10%.
Things that come to mind:
1. Maybe we have been succeeding in eliminating a lot of the
publications that change titles.
2. Maybe publications that change title frequently are now more
likely to die (we should be so lucky).
3. Maybe we haven't been catching the title changes.
4. Maybe the Worst Serial Title Change of the Year Awards are
having an impact.
Looking at a graph of my statistics shows definite fluctuation, but the big
downward trends are hard to miss. However, since I never took a course in
statistics, I'm not going to try to read to much into the numbers.
Basically, this just made me curious. Have any other libraries noticed
Kevin M. Randall
Head, Serials Cataloging Section
Northwestern University Library
Evanston, IL 60208-2300
phone: (708) 491-2939
fax: (708) 491-7637