Monday, December 26, 2011



The Publisher is my Tormentor. I shall not smile:
He maketh me to work all day at my desk.
He leadeth me astray with misnumbererd issues:
His Roman numerals confound me.
He changeth titles over and over for His own sake.
Yea when I walk through the shadow of missing or irregular issues, I can find no respote, for He has moved
He answereth not my letters, not useth the correct mailing lab,
He starteth not when I ask and quiteth before it is time,
My work never endeth.
Rising prices and duplicate issues shall follow me all the days of my life; and
I shall moan and groan in the library forever.

(Evans, Developing Library and Information Center Collections, 2000)

• Serial: a publication in any medium issued in successive parts bearing numeric or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials include periodicals; newspapers; annuals (reports, yearbooks, etc.); the journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, etc. of societies; and numbered monographic series.
(AACR2, Glossary)

Key elements of definition
  • Any medium
  • Successive parts
  • Numeric and/or chronological designation
  • Indefinite continuation (no planned end)
Series 1. A group of separate items related to one another by the fact that each item bears, in addition to its own title proper, a collective title applying to the group as a whole. The individual items may or may not be numbered.
(AACR2, Glossary)

For our purposes, a series is not a serial.

Types of serials
  • Journal: periodical publication dealing with matters of current interest; often used for official or semi-official publications of special groups. Term often used for learned or peer-reviewed publications.
  • Magazine: periodical that usually contains a miscellaneous collection of articles, stories, poems, and pictures and is directed at the general reading public.
  • Newspaper: a serial issued at stated frequent intervals (usually daily, weekly, or semiweekly) containing news, opinions, advertisements, and other items of current, often local, interest.
  • Newsletter: a serial consisting of one or a few printed sheets containing news or information of interest chiefly to a special group.
  • House magazine (aka house organ, house journal): a periodical issued by a commercial, industrial or non-profit organization for distribution internally to its employees and/or externally to its customers.
  • Zine: Derived from “fanzine” (a contraction of “fan magazine”), the term came into use during the 1980s to refer to a small, low-circulation magazine or newspaper, self-published out of passion for the subject rather than for personal gain, usually with the aid of desktop publishing software and a high-quality photocopy machine. (ODLIS)
  • Trade journal: a periodical devoted to disseminating news and information of interest to a specific industry or trade, often published by a trade association. (ODLIS) It carries advertising and charges a subscription fee.
  • Controlled circulation serial: available (usually without charge) only to those specified by the author or publisher. (ALA Glossary).
    o Are frequently available to libraries.
  • Electronic journal: a website graphically modeled on an existing print journal (example: Library Journal), or which provides access to an online journal that has no print counterpart (Electronic Journal of Differential Equations). Synonymous with e-journal.
  • Electronic magazine: A Website graphically modeled on an existing print magazine (example: The New Yorker), or which provides access to an online magazine that has no print counterpart (example: Slate). Synonymous with e-zine, e-magazine, and Webzine. (ODLIS)
Selection tools
  • Ulrich’s International Periodical Directory
  • Serials Directory (EBSCO)
  • Standard Periodical Directory
  • Gale Directory of Publications and Broadcast Media
  • Willings’ Press Guide
  • Magazines for Libraries (William Katz)
  • Serials in Cyberspace
Selection issues
  • Long-term commitment
  • Continuing costs of purchasing, binding, processing, etc.
  • Discouragement of “casual” initiation of new serial subscriptions
    o Due to budget pressure some libraries will only order a new serial if one of equal cost is dropped
    o On-going costs of serials may reduce budget available for purchase of monographs
Which titles?
  • Analysis of Ill data and citation analysis information helps in deciding if a title needs to be added
  • For new titles, the subject area, cost, and, when available reviews are elements to consider. Some libraries will only order titles that are indexed.
The problems with serials
  • Title changes
  • Title peculiarities
  • Numerous titles within same issue, e.g. Sea, Sea Magazine, Sea Combined with Rudder
  • Generic/overused titles e.g. Bulletin, Journal
  • Numbering oddities e.g. Vol. 2, no. 1 called also consecutive issue no. 3
  • Dating by season
Subscription agent
  • One order, one invoice service
  • Common renewal
  • Vendor handles any complaints about missing or overdue issues
  • Vendor tracks down addresses of publishers for your orders
  • Service charges may make prices on surface more expensive than direct purchase from publisher
  • Not all publishers will make their titles available through an agent
References: Collection Development Training for Arizona Public Libraries: Selection of Library Resources: Periodicals

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