Tag Archives: periodicals

Where’s the Harman Periodical Reading room?

If you’re an avid reader of newspapers or magazines…wait, that is, if you’re an avid reader of newspapers and magazines in their paper format, then maybe you’ve spent time in the Harman Periodical Reading Room located on the ground floor of the Davis Family Library. Comfy blue chairs, copies of the Burlington Free Press, New York Times, الأهرام (Al-Ahram from Egypt), 人民日报 (The China People’s Daily), and The Times of India to name just a few. Sound familiar?

Over the winter break we moved thirty-six of our most popular magazines to Harman from our current periodical shelves. So now, twenty-four of our newspapers from around the world live side-by-side with thirty-six magazines. So, if you have the urge to leaf through the most recent copy of Wired, The Economist, Rolling Stone, The New Yorker, Atlantic, MacWorld, Mother Earth News, or many others, pull up a chair.

Those of you using Apple’s Newsstand app for your magazine and newspaper reading can kindly ignore this message.

Do you consume reports?

Since moving in to the Davis Family Library six years ago, we who keep track of print periodicals have received some good news and some bad news.  The good news: print periodicals get used a lot more in this Library than they did in our previous building.  The bad news: print periodicals get used a lot more in this Library than they did in our previous building.
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Collection Management Goal #3: Withdraw PAO periodicals

Goal Statement

Complete online withdrawal and physical removal of bound periodical issues duplicated by PAO (Periodicals Archive Online) digital coverage.

Bound volumes are duplicated by digital coverage and take up valuable shelf space. Often shifting of volumes is required to accommodate new volumes, etc. These items are now rarely used as digital access is preferred.
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How Many Journals Does The Library Subscribe To?

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.

Periodical use survey

Submitted by Bill Warren


For reasons that are surely obvious to everyone, we have had to cut the current year’s library acquisitions budget by 5.5%.  It is entirely possible the budget will have to be reduced even further next year.  Consequently, we are looking for ways to save money as we never have before.  A still-substantial portion of our budget is devoted to print journals, so one possibility might be to cancel our subscriptions to some titles.  Obviously, if we have to resort to this, we would like to cancel titles that are relatively expensive, and get little or no use.


We have quickly mounted a use survey of most of our currently-received periodicals—current issues, bound volumes, and microform.  Some popular titles, like Time and Newsweek, are exempted, since we know they are very heavily used.  Since virtually all our subscriptions are non-cancelable once the year has started, the soonest we could make any cancellations is for the 2010 subscription year.  Unfortunately, we will not have enough time to do as complete a study as we would like.  Ideally, a study should cover at least one complete academic cycle:  fall and spring semesters, winter term, and summer school, in order to encompass all the courses given during the year.  To be really useful, a survey should extend for more than one year, since many courses are not offered every year.  Since we have to make our subscription commitments for 2010 in September 2009, we obviously would not be able to include even one fall semester in a survey intended to identify titles for cancellation for 2010.  In fact, we might not be able to adequately cover summer school, since we would need time to compile and digest results, consult, and reach decisions.


Notwithstanding this time drawback, it still seems worth doing.  If we found we had to make cancellations for 2010, we would have at least some use information, which would surely be helpful in making decisions.  And we could certainly keep surveying and accumulating information for the future.  If, as seems likely, hard times are with us for a while, we may well have to make cancellations in subsequent years, and as much use information as we can gather would definitely be beneficial.


So, for the foreseeable future, we are asking users not to return journal issues, bound volumes and microforms to their homes, but rather to leave them on strategically-placed carts or designated shelves, where they will be tallied by staff members before being re-shelved.  While this will render less-than-perfect information, to the extent we can induce users not to conscientiously re-shelve journals (arranging them in chronological order and assiduously replacing the layer of dust on the top issue in the pile, as some folks have been known to do), it will provide some illumination.