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Serials Review Participation Invited

By Paul Metz, head of collection development

Spectrum Volume 19 Issue 28 - April 17, 1997

The University Libraries are reviewing their serial lists and have initiated a one-month "call-for-comments" period during which members of the university community are both invited and urged to comment on a list of more than 1,200 serial titles which have been nominated for possible cancellation.

As with the 1991 and 1995 serials-cancellations projects, the reduction in serial titles is necessitated by inflation in serials costs, which continue to double every six or seven years. Periodic reviews and reduction in serials lists have become the norm for American research libraries in general.

In the current review, three categories of serials have been nominated for possible elimination. The majority of titles are the residue of the most recent serials cancellation and represent titles that were identified in 1995 but which it was still possible at that time to retain. These titles have been supplemented by newly nominated resources, chiefly electronic data bases, which the libraries should no longer need to fund because they are now being funded collaboratively through the VIVA (Virtual Library of Virginia) project, of which the University Libraries are a founding member. A final set of nominated serials is simply new additions whose value in relation to their current costs makes them candidates for possible cancellation.

Not all serials that have been nominated for cancellation will in fact be canceled, and all titles not already nominated will be retained. The libraries will reduce the current list in response to community commentary as this is weighed against budgetary realities and the libraries' need to support monographic purchasing while engaging in selected efforts to widen information access through reliance on document-delivery providers and publishers of electronic journals or other resources.

The lists of nominated serials have been posted on the World Wide Web at http://www.lib.vt.edu/Facilities/colldev/Serials/cancelcover.html for community comment. Three versions of the list are available, giving listings sorted by fund code, by title, and by call number. For each title the listed information includes call number, cost, notes if relevant, and fund code. Each title also appears in the category "old" (for previously nominated), "VIVA" (for resources superseded by VIVA), or "new."

Any member of the university community is welcome to visit this site, where, by following the instructions provided, it is easy to initiate a note to the library bibliographer responsible for the title. Printed lists are also on reserve at each library facility and at both Newman Library Reference Desks for individuals who cannot obtain access to the Web site.

Comments received through May 15 will be carefully weighed in making the final decisions about which titles to cancel. Everyone is encouraged to participate.