Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Journey Begins...Week 1

And so the journey begins.  The process to get signed up for the LIS 668 Practicum was quite smooth as everyone involved was so helpful and was able to guide me in clarifying the objectives/activities for this practicum.

I spent my first week working on a "Serials Audit" (a.k.a. Periodicals Renewal List Project).  Although it is my normal responsibility to compare current Periodical Renewal Lists/Invoices with past ones for pricing info, format, and database coverage, this specific project was beyond my normal responsibilities.  The good thing about this project is that it will help the Reference Librarians and Library Director decide on what titles to keep and what titles to cancel.

The world of Periodicals/Serials has seemingly been turned upside down with the emergence and growing popularity of databases and online journals.  The challenge for many libraries, at least in the arena of serials, is at least threefold.

The first challenge for many libraries is a shrinking or stagnate budget.   Unfortunately, the trend is for subscriptions to increase in price.  This has led several libraries to cancel subscriptions.  The second challenge is that a large number of students are seeking information on the web.  Databases can be a helpful tool especially as they make it easy to locate vast information quickly.  The drawback for databases is that not everything in print can be found in a database.  And there is the cost of paying for databases and online journals.  The third challenge is duplication.  Is it not wasteful to pay for access to a journal through a print subscription, a database, and an online journal?  The purpose of my first practicum project was to discover duplication and figure out a way to limit or minimize it.

For this Periodicals Renewal List Project, I developed a spreadsheet listing the title, price, format, database coverage, and recommendation for every one of our serial subscriptions that are covered in a database.  Through this information I provided a starting point for the librarians and director to make final decisions about which items to cancel and which to keep.  It showed where we have duplication and gave suggestions of how to minimize this duplication.  One suggestion was to find one or more document delivery systems to provide articles for the titles within a database that have a brief embargo.

My next project is to research document delivery systems.

Until next time...

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