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Postal problems (Albert Henderson) Marcia Tuttle 09 Jan 1998 00:51 UTC

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 8 Jan 1998 17:13:49 -0500
From: Albert Henderson <70244.1532@COMPUSERVE.COM>
Subject: Postal problems

Diane Lewis <DILEWIS@IGSRGLIB01.ER.USGS.GOV> writes, in part:

> My observation-based opinion is that our claiming problems might also be
> the result of by delayed publication schedules, computers that bump us
> mailing lists for no reason, payments that aren't recorded at the
> vendor, and general clerical slipups on the part of
> (choose one) staff at the publisher or vendor who are, like us, trying
> to "do more with less." Everyone is being squeezed right now and one
> truly wonders when those with the power to change the situation will
> wake up.

Automation has enabled the USPS to deliver record amounts
of mail at lower cost, posting profits over $1 billion in each of
the last three years. The downside of automation of periodical
class mail is that it needs customers to change.

In particular, the old academic address style does not fit into
the USPS database system that assigns the ZIP+4 and barcodes
labels.  With a streetless address, the software bumps you "for
cause" and you take your chances. Or your mail gets misdirected
after it is picked up and sorted by campus mailrooms. With a
proper street address, the USPS truck will deliver right to the library.

Most academic libraries that I have visited are large enough to
have their own street addresses, ZIPs and bar codes. Someone
"with the power to change" may have to  name the street and give
the building a number. You still have to inform your publishers and

My copy of the USPS database indicates this is still a huge
problem, with many institutions ignoring the new rules. Not that
clerical errors can be eliminated entirely, but bar-coding can make
a dent if given a chance.

Albert Henderson, Editor,