Library collections in the new year (online and off)

We thought we would ring-in the new year with a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the work required to bring over 76,000 full-text journals and hundreds of online databases to the Middlebury community. Both the end, and the beginning, of each year are the busiest for those of us maintaining library collections online and off, in print.

Most of our efforts from September into early November go toward making sure our subscriptions, for both print and online journals, continue uninterrupted from one year to the next. Of the nearly 2,000 subscriptions we have, there are always a few that somehow fail to get renewed despite our best efforts. For example, we might discover in March that we have not received any recent issues of Veja, a weekly magazine published in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Occasionally, we can fill the gaps of a lapsed subscription, but not always.

There is usually a mountain of mail awaiting us in the new year: books, newspapers, magazines, and journals from all over the world and bills for these books, newspapers, and magazines from around the world. If we spend the last few days of the previous year ensuring access to our library collections after December 31st, we spend the first few days of the new year digging ourselves out of the mail room, looking for those lost issues from the previous year and for bills to pay.

Especially in the new year, but any other time too, please let us know if you cannot find something online or in print that you know was there before. Our email: Happy new year!

2 thoughts on “Library collections in the new year (online and off)

  1. Mike Roy

    Thanks for this! I am curious to know the latest trends in the shift towards electronic journals from print journals. What percentage of our journals are in print? Of those, do you have a sense of how many plan to remain in print and how many have plans to move to an electronic format? A few years ago everyone declared that the print journal was dead, and yet when I go into the stacks, that clearly just isn’t true!

  2. Arabella Holzapfel Post author

    Thank you for reading, and thank you for asking!

    Our third-party vendor that helps us track all of our journal access, print and online, tells us that through journal packages, open-access, and straight subscriptions, the Middlebury community can read 76,446 journals, including some that have ceased publication, changed title, or that we have cancelled. Just over 4071 of those are housed physically at Davis or Armstrong, either in print or microform. So, at this moment, 5.3% of the journals we can access are in ‘print’.

    We currently have roughly 900 current print subscriptions in the Davis and Armstrong libraries. At this point, the only print subscriptions we have are to titles for which the publisher does not offer “perpetual access” to the online version, or perhaps there is no online version. Or perhaps we have online archival access through JSTOR or Periodicals Archive Online, but there is not reliable online access to current content.

    In Davis, many of these are international titles like Revista de Occidente or Revue des Sciences humaines – there are no online versions of these. (And I don’t foresee them offering online versions anytime soon.) In Armstrong, an example is Physical Review – we have online access with our print subscription, but their idea of ‘archival access’ is a truckload of CD-ROMs that we would have to house on our servers.

    We also, of course, have a number of titles for browsing like People, Time, and some similar titles in other languages taught at Middlebury. Will our users ever be satisfied with only the online versions of these?

    Rebekah and I have started reviewing all of our print+online subscriptions to see whether any of them have moved to robust and reliable online access since the last time they were evaluated. We will be converting as many as possible to online-only over the next year or so.


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