Re: "Quarterly" publications (was: Jrnl of Multicultural Social Work) Albert Henderson 31 Aug 1998 21:35 UTC

on 28 Aug 1998 Simone JEROME <sjerome@ULG.AC.BE> wrote:


> Maybe is it the true reason but I am not entirely convinced.
> I have been in the library business since 28 years and what I
> noticed is that publishers do only what they want: irregular
> publication schedules, chaotic numbering of issues, vanishing
> contents of issues (I mean a vol.n, 1-4 with 50 pages in it,
> do I exagerate ?), prices which are climbing well above the rate of
> inflation... and so on. The situation is far from being better
> as time goes on.
> In a time when certification becomes so frequent (certification
> of laboratories, of methods of analysis,...), why do not we, librarians,
> ask for the creation of standards in publishing, stir independant
> committees for the evaluation of each new title and the monitoring of the
> evolution of existing ones? The certified journal might display a quality
> label (a sort of iso-9000) so that consumers, scientists and librarians,
> might know what they are writing in and what they are buying.

This is a valid criticism. There are standards for publishers but
they are relatively narrow and not enforced except where they are
required, such as bar codes and ISBNs, for trade. PUBLISHING RESEARCH
QUARTERLY has devoted considerable pages to standards and will do
so in the future.

But then standards for library quality are also ignored. THE STATUS
by the National Center for Education Statistics cites an ACRL study
suggesting that academic libraries should receive about 6 percent
of their institution's total budget. That standard has never been
achieved. The U.S. national average is 3.8% in 1992.

Accreditation panels and the professional associations chartered
to "promote the diffusion" of whatever discipline they support
ignore the decimation of collections and inadequate staffing.
What is the use of a standard when its intended beneficiaries
don't seem to care. Or, I should say _the_representatives_ of
the intended beneficiaries.

In 1968, Jacques Barzun wrote in THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY that
universities like Columbia allocated 6 percent to their library
and that the library was heavily used by nonmembers of the
university. The Mellon study indicated Columbia's library got
only 3.22% in 1979 and 2.93% in 1990. In CHRONICLE OF HIGHER
EDUCATION, Columbia professor James Shapiro wrote recently that
most faculty never set foot in the library any more (LXV,16:B4-5,
Dec 12, 1997)

So, yes; what about standards?