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including The Conductor, a special section of the Spectrum printed 4 times a year

Libraries look at cancelling serials

By Eileen Hitchingham,

dean of University Libraries

Spectrum Volume 20 Issue 25 - March 26, 1998

Because funding support for 1998-99 is not yet known, the University Libraries is preparing information for cancelling serials. Serials include both journals and abstracting and indexing resources. Currently the collegiate librarians, branch librarians, and other public-services staff members are compiling lists of titles which might be considered least cost-effective in the current environment. Academic departments are being offered the opportunity to participate in this initial listing. Those not wishing to participate at this early juncture can be involved later. All titles under consideration at the end of the current project will be posted on the libraries' home page for an extended comment period beginning in early to mid-April
It is not clear to what degree the libraries' serial holdings need to be reduced. The cumulative number of titles removed in the last three cuts (1991, 1995, 1997) is 3,500. Most recently the magnitude of the cuts has been linked to a root problem of serial costs inflating at 10 percent or more a year for many years and a library budget which has not been incremented for the last several years.
The Library Serials Committee, commissioned last fall by Erv Blythe, vice-president for information systems, to examine the serials problem, has issued a report A Proposal for Content, Technologies and User Informatics for Digital Library Development at Virginia Tech (http://scholar.lib.vt.edu/VTDLprop.pdf). The report includes recommendations for strategies and funding to establish a Digital Library to meet the information needs of Virginia Tech faculty members and students wherever they are located. At this time it is not known whether some or all of the recommendations will be funded so the current review process is under way.
Because of the unusually dynamic situation, the libraries will periodically issue updates on our progress and plans. As indicated above, any full-blown cancellation process will involve an extended, easy to use, and well-publicized public call for comments. Comments or queries can be directed at any time to collegiate or branch librarians or to Paul Metz, principal bibliographer (pmetz@vt.edu; 1-5663).