I was asked this today, and it seemed like such an innocuous question. So I decided to do some investigating. I was expecting, oh, I don’t know, maybe 5,000 or so. Was I ever wrong!
First, the definition of the question took some untangling. Does this mean current subscriptions? Does it mean individual subscriptions that we choose specifically to receive, or does it count the titles we receive as part of “big deals” from vendors like Elsevier? Does it mean stuff we pay cold hard cash for, or does it include freebies, such as the 4000+ open access journals that are readily accessible on the web (and which are all included in the library catalog)? Or does it mean just the print stuff we receive in hard copy?
After some hemming & hawing, I decided the most interesting questions were: 1) how many journal titles do we have access to altogether, both current & ceased? and 2) how many journal titles do we currently subscribe to, regardless of format, regardless of cost?
With help from the cataloging, acquisitions, and serials departments, I discovered that:
1) we currently have access to an astounding total of approximately 42,443 journal titles; and
2) of these, approximately 38,000 are current.
Furthermore, about 5,100+ are print titles (current & ceased) and we have free web access to about 4,300+ titles from the Directory of Open Access. Catalog records for all of these titles are in MIDCAT.
This is an incredible resource for our students and faculty (and staff!), and many thanks to all the people — acquisitions & collection development folks, catalogers, systems people, infrastructure people, librarian liaisons & selectors, etc. etc. — who have worked hard over the years to make this possible. And this is just one small part of the many many many services LIS provides. Really amazing.