Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Print Periodicals

A couple months ago you read about how books and audiovisual items are added to the collection (selected, ordered, received, cataloged, and processed). What about periodicals: newspapers, magazines, scholarly and professional journals? This post will talk about those that come in a physical format (in print or on microform: microfiche, microfilm, or microcard), as opposed to electronic journals accessible through the library’s databases.

“We have individual subscriptions to 740 titles, although some are print, some are online, and some are print+online, just to keep it interesting,“ said Janie Jones, Assistant Director for Serials and Electronic Resources. For both print and microform newspapers and journals, Periodicals Specialist Sandy Dennis checks them in to our SIRSI database, to make the issues show up as part of our holdings in the online public access catalog.

The 15 newspapers the Dick Smith Library subscribes to are processed first, and put out on the shelf ASAP, due to their often-daily nature. The latest issue is on display in the eastern side of the Periodicals area (at the back of the main floor of the library), with slightly older issues on the shelf just below it. Even older issues are kept in a back room for a certain length of time, usually until a microform version of the periodical arrives.

Magazines and journals come out weekly, monthly, or even less frequently. The volume number and issue number are written in the top left corner of the cover with a colon between them (for example, 28:4 for volume 28, issue 4). The volume refers to all the issues published during a given publishing period (usually a calendar year, but not always).

Like newspapers, the latest issue of a periodical is displayed face-out, with a few older issues on the shelf just below. Older issues are kept either until a microform copy arrives, or until one or more volumes can be bound together with a hardback cover.

“We have five rows of cabinets full of microfilm and microfiche,” said Sandy. When the microforms arrive, they are checked in like paper copies and filed.

What happens if an issue of a newspaper or journal does NOT come in on time? How do we get it? “They may be claimed after a designated period of time through [the vendor’s] claims process,” explained Sandy. “Usually we receive a replacement. If we are unable to get a replacement we then add that title to our Gaps list,” and those missing issues are requested through Duplicate Exchange, a national listserv through which libraries offer unneeded titles to other libraries.

Binding helps preserve the journals by keeping individual issues from falling apart or being lost. The Dick Smith Library contracts with a bindery service. The number of issues bound together depends on the thickness of an individual issue. Some journals are thick and you may only be able to bind two or three of the journals at a time,” said Sandy. “The bound thickness cannot be over 2.75 inches.” Very thin journals might have two or more years’ worth put together. They are bound inside a solid-colored hardbound cover which is printed with the name of the journal and the volume number(s) and year(s) it includes.

Bound journals are stored on the northwest side of the Library, going back to 1986. Journals from 1985 and earlier are stored Offsite. Sandy stated, “We have Offsite request forms for patrons [also available online] and we check email [] for requests” as well as for interlibrary loan. “Trips to Offsite are scheduled twice a day,” explained Janie, “but we will try to work with patrons.”

Faculty and grad assistants may check out periodicals for a week. Students are not allowed to remove periodicals from the library, but may make copies as needed. Periodicals requested from Offsite are held at the Circulation Desk for a week for use by the student, and are subsequently returned Offsite. “We do note usage of onsite periodicals, so patrons do not need to refile periodicals; they may be left on tables, or placed in the bins available,” said Janie. “And so it goes!”

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