Re: New Periodicals Librarian... (3 messages) Stephen Clark 27 May 1998 17:00 UTC

    I am finding this entire discussion very interesting.  Over the past 28
years that I have worked with serials, starting as a student assistant and
working my way up to being a department head, I have had varying experience with
two periodicals vendors -- Faxon and EBSCO.  It is obvious from the "playing
field" of vendors that both of these vendors, as well as the other vendors out
there, that all of the vendors are doing something right for some of their
clients.  Otherwise, they would not be in business.
    As a matter of fact, my very first contact with EBSCO was not complimentary
at all.  I also acknowledge that since that time, the level of service that
EBSCO provides has changed and that this company has a great deal to offer.
Faxon's service has also been variable in the past.  Regarding our situation at
the present, they have made great strides in solving the problems which we have
been having.  Some of the problems that Faxon was experiencing several years ago
were alluded to earlier in this discussion.  From  my experience, those times
are past.  We (Faxon and the College of William and Mary) are continuing to have
fruitful conversations resolving problems as well as setting a new direction of
    I have to agree with some of the statements made previously to the effect
that a great deal of one's service depends on the service and account
representatives with whom one deals.  This makes a tremendous amount of
difference as to what you receive, if  you receive anything at all.  The level
of service which this library has gotten from vendors for firm orders, standing
orders, approvals, and serials has been determined in many instances by the
representatives in the office and field.
    References are an important part of deciding who to use as a vendor, but
make sure that you ask questions of the references.  Very detailed questions.
Ask about how a vendor can handle some areas with which you are having problems,
but also ask about areas which you take for granted now -- you do not want to
pick up a new set of problems just to solve some others.
    Do not forget to be objective about your analysis.  This is sometimes
difficult, but it is essential that you do not become swayed just because you
like the sales rep. or the way he/she made a presentation.  You have to look
much deeper than that.  The fact that all Virginia state supported institutions
have to send out Requests for Proposals (RFPs) has helped us in looking at
services and prices with more open and non-judgemental eyes.
    So, keep your eyes and ears open, but also make sure that you do some
in-depth, objective research before you make your decision.

Stephen Clark

Stephen D. Clark                              phone:  757-221-3107
Acquisitions Librarian                       fax:    757-221-2535
Earl Gregg Swem Library                 e-mail:
P.O. Box 8794
Williamsburg, VA  23187-8794