Collection Management Policies: Periodicals/Serials
1140 Beall Avenue
Wooster, OH 44691
As the number of periodicals continue to proliferate and the price of periodicals continues to increase, we need to consider very carefully which periodicals to select for the library. To help you evaluate possible additions, the librarians offer the following guidelines.
Will you Require its Use?
Whatever the quality of the journal, it may remain largely unused by students unless there is a library component in the course or courses for which you are recommending the journal. Will it be used by lower level students, by majors, for Independent Study? Will it be used by students in other departments? The librarians will gladly assist you in developing a library component for your courses to help insure that students do, indeed, use the journals.
Is the Journal Appropriate for our Collection?
Many of the scholarly journals available are intended for use at the graduate level. One measure of the appeal of a journal is its circulation figure. If the journal has only a few hundred subscribers, this may indicate that this journal is too specialized, too expensive, or in some other way inappropriate for an undergraduate college library.
Is it Indexed?
Experience and studies have shown that access to periodical information is made primarily through those indexes which are simple to use. Studies also have shown that browsing does not play a major role in use of journals. The library has current subscriptions to many indexing and abstracting services which collectively index several thousand periodicals representing almost all of the disciplines. The librarians can help you determine if a periodical is indexed in any of these sources.
Is the Journal Likely to be Heavily Used?
If only a few pertinent articles are published in a journal each year, your needs may be served adequately by requesting those articles through Interlibrary Loan, or by visiting nearby libraries, such as Kent State University, University of Akron, Case Western Reserve University, etc. The library's computer-based interlibrary loan system allows most journal articles to be readily available within a few days.
Other items to consider in selecting a new periodical title include the number of years the title has been in existence, the reputation of the editorial board, editor, and publisher, whether or not the journal is refereed, and the uniqueness of the information found in the journal. It is often difficult to determine the usefulness of a newly published journal based on the publisher's advertisement. The librarians can assist you in evaluating a new journal through the acquisition of a sample copy, or by locating reviews.
Note: Due to the long-term financial commitment involved, grant funds cannot be used to purchase periodical subscriptions.