Periodicals Collection Development Policy
Effective periodical collection management necessitates systematically evaluating the collection in order to insure its continued relevance to University teaching and research needs. This need to evaluate, coupled with rapidly rising prices for periodicals and increasing demands by the University community for more titles, places a growing burden on the Library’s ability to maintain the collection and necessitates establishing criteria by which titles may be evaluated for purposes of selection and continuation or cancellation decision-making.
Responsibility for the development of the Library’s periodicals collection rests with the Head of Collection Development and Information Access Services; and, it is the Head of Collection Development’s obligation to assure University-wide (faculty, students, library staff, and administration) participation in the evaluation process.
The primary purpose of a periodicals collection development policy is to establish guidelines for the identification, selection, and continuation of periodicals in accordance with the intellectual and informational needs of the Library’s constituency. Needs must be determined, then titles must be chosen and retained in accordance with ascertained needs and within the context of prevailing feasibility levels. This policy pertains to serials held in individual subscription, and those held in aggregate form as an electronic journal collection (JStor, Kluwer, etc.).
II. Identifying Need
The needs of the Library’s constituency are identified, to the extent possible, in any or all of the following ways:
- By acquiring information reflecting the broad goals and objectives of the University from official sources;
- By obtaining information reflecting departmental needs from departmental mission statements, UND catalogs, course syllabi, faculty profiles, and liaison activities;
- By obtaining information reflecting areas of interdisciplinary interest or interest not incorporated in the curricula from student contacts, faculty contacts, and reference services;
- By obtaining data reflecting demands for library materials and services from interlibrary loan transactions, circulation activity, reshelving of materials, browsing activity, questionnaire responses administered to users, etc.
Given the non-static nature of curricula and research, assessment of needs is viewed as a continuous process.
III. Factors Used in the Selection, Continuation, and Cancellation of Titles
The following factors, when and to the extent present, are those which support selection and continuation. While listed in the order of their approximate importance, they are used in conjunction with each other and emerge as singularly decisive only when all other factors are equal for competing titles. It follows that titles failing to meet, or that measure poorly against these criteria are candidates for cancellation.
- A) Relevance of the title
- Does it support present or projected official curriculum and research programs? Information to determine relevance will be obtained from departmental mission statements, University catalogs, University objectives, curriculum planning documents, and through bibliographer-faculty liaison activities.
- B) Demand for the title
- Is there evidence that the title has been or will be used? Demand is evidenced by data obtained from interlibrary loan transactions, use studies, browsing statistics and/or requests made of the reference staff. Use statistics for individual e-journal subscriptions, or for titles within an e-journal collection, may also be used to evaluate demand for these serial title formats.
- C) Perceived need for the title
- What is the projected use for this title? Perceived need is determined by ratings and rankings systematically solicited from the academic constituency.
- D) Coverage (scope and content) of the title
- Is the coverage unique in terms of areas not already covered by the Library’s collection? Is the coverage multidisciplinary in terms of application to various disciplines? Information on coverage is derived from examinations of sample copies; use of published reviews; and ratings of the various relevant departments. For existing subscriptions considered for cancellation, department attribution(s) of a title may also be used to help determine the multidisciplinary nature of a journal.
- E) Accessibility (physical & electronic) of the title
Can it be borrowed from a North Dakota or Minnesota library? To be considered is the nature of the periodical’s content (e.g., plates, drawings) as determined by examination of sample copies. Accessibility shall also take into account electronic availability of the title in any current subscription database, noting for example the following:
- Journal content is purchased or only accessed;
- Format of electronic text (text, text + graphics, etc.);
- Comprehensive or partial inclusion of full-text in database;
- Licensed access to electronic format (in-building only, on-campus, off-campus).
- Copyright clearance can be obtained for the anticipated demand on a per-article basis.
- F) Accessibility (bibliographical) to the title
- Is the periodical included in an index or abstracting tool? Sources of information used to determine this factor are periodical guides, the indexing and abstracting tools themselves, and sample issues.
- G) Language
- Will the title be used if it is not in English? This will be determined by the demonstrated language needs of the departments involved in evaluating the title.
- H) Cost
How much is it worth to have this title in our collection? Cost is not the major factor in an attempt to evaluate a periodical qualitatively; however, it becomes increasingly significant when considering rarely-used periodicals that haven’t been rated as “essential” by the relevant departments. Cost becomes even more important in evaluating a title which may be rarely used, is duplicated heavily by another title, or is rated as having no more than “moderate value” and yet offers access to unique or not otherwise accessible information. Cost considerations will also take note of the following:
- Per-article copyright fees that will have to be paid;
- Library fees or commercial service fees for obtaining articles not locally available (not including copyright fees);
- Duplication of journal content/subscription elsewhere on campus or in an online format.
- I) Current strength
- Does the title strengthen a weak area in the collection? Titles will be evaluated in relation to the informational needs on a subject and the depth to which that subject is covered by currently available campus resources.
IV. Adding, Replacing, and Cancelling Periodical Titles
- A. New Serial Titles
- At such times that the Director of Libraries specifies the funds that are to be available for new periodical subscriptions within each successive budget period, the Head of Collection Development and Information Access Services will initiate the “Procedure for Adding Periodical Titles.” (See Appendix X)
- B. Replacing Attributed & Unattributed Serial Titles
When a serial title has ceased publication, the funds used toward its subscription purchase may be applied to a replacement title of equal or lesser cost. The selection of a title shall be at the discretion of the department(s) for which the ceased publication has been attributed, in consultation with the relevant bibliographer. The department and bibliographer are expected to provide an alternate title within a year of the cessation of a publication. Selection criteria as outlined in Section III of this Policy will apply to any such decisions. (See Appendix Y)
Unattributed serial titles (those attributed to “general”), that have ceased publication can be assigned to a subject bibliographer due to the nature of their content and should be replaced at the discretion of the bibliographer and relevant department. Selection criteria as outlined in Section III of this Policy will apply. Those titles that cannot reasonably be assigned to a subject bibliographer shall have a decision made by the Head of Collection Development and Information access Services and these decisions—to replace or not—shall be reported to the Collection Development Committee. Suggestions for replacement general titles may also be solicited of the Collection Development Committee.
- D. Adding Free Serial Titles
- New serials which do not entail cost, whether in print, electronic, or other formats, must meet appropriate selection criteria set out in Section III of this policy for inclusion in the periodical collection before being added.
- E. Canceling a Periodical
- A journal may be cancelled due to deficiencies in meeting the above selection criteria. Cancellations may also be required on a large scale if the library is directed to review and/or reduce its total expenditure on materials, including serial subscriptions. (See Appendix Z)
- F. Canceling and/or Replacing an Individual Periodical Title
- Each academic department shall have discretion in maintaining journal subscriptions uniquely attributed to it. They may also participate in joint decision-making for journal subscriptions shared with another department or departments. It is expected that the long-term research and instruction needs of the University, together with the academic needs of students, shall be considered with regard to subscription cancellations. Further evaluation of cancellation decisions will be made by bibliographers against criteria outlined in Section III of this policy. If a department or departments, together with library bibliographers, conclude that a print or electronic journal subscription no longer meets the research and instruction needs of the University community, then procedural steps shall be taken. (See Appendix AA)
V. Mandatory Review of Serial Titles Due to Cost
Limited ongoing resources available for serial purchases make it untenable to sustain excessive price increases in subscription costs. Serials that increase in cost beyond the average and beyond what the serials budget can bear shall be reviewed. (See Appendix BB)
A department and bibliographer will be asked to review titles and substantially justify the journal’s inclusion in the collection as core to a particular academic discipline. Journals that fail to meet the selection criteria for continued inclusion shall be cancelled and/or substituted by alternate titles in the same discipline at a cost of equal or lesser value than the original subscription price prior to its increase.
VII. Change in Publication Format
The library will consider acquiring the format (microfilm, print digital) that is most advantageous to the University for cost, storage, preservation, access and usability. In some cases, the library may chose to acquire duplicate copies of a periodical when it’s original format may not withstand long term use and/or storage. The decision to acquire a duplicate copy of a periodical will be determined based on the long-term research needs that will be met by the title, and shall be guided by issues of cost, format, usability, etc., as outlined in section III of this policy.
The library will make it a priority to resolve space limitations in favor of a print subscription when retention of a print edition is determined to be necessary by a bibliographer and academic department. This may be accomplished by off-site storage of part of an extensive run of holdings, or other means not presently available in the library (compact storage shelving, etc.). Space for projected growth should be allowed in conformity to whatever guidelines are currently in place for the library’s print periodical collection.
When a periodical itself undergoes a format change (from print to microform, CD-ROM, Internet, etc.), it shall be evaluated for retention based on criteria outlined in Section III of this Policy. If a decision is made to discontinue the title in its new format, then the procedure as described in “Appendix Y” shall be followed.
VIII. Appeals Procedures
In the event that a department feels that the interpretation of the criteria is leading to a prejudicial situation, the department can appeal the situation to the Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost.
This Periodicals Collection Development Policy will be reviewed as needed.
Revised and Adopted 2/25/03