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Serials: Department Information

Your place for information on magazines, journals, and other serial publications. Located on the third floor of the Library.

Mission Statement

Mission of the Serials Department 

The mission of the Serials Department of Ellender Memorial Library is to acquire and manage continuing resources to support the curriculum, instruction, research and public service programs of Nicholls State University.  Materials in all formats are acquired and cataloged (or made accessible) in an accurate and timely manner, so that Serials staff and the Reference Department may maintain a high level of customer service.  All students and faculty therefore will have access to information published in periodicals. 

Because serial selection must be a carefully considered activity treated differently from book selection, as subscriptions represent long-term fiscal, logistical, and resource (both human and otherwise) commitments and annual price increases for serial materials in recent years have been high (approximately 10% per year), new serials subscriptions will be considered, and current subscriptions will be evaluated, once a year, between December and March.  This practice will promote fairness across disciplines and allow the Serials Department to plan responsibly for the budget in any given year. 

Policies

Serials Circulation Policy

Materials in the Serials Department are available for in-house use by everyone.  However, only current students, faculty, and staff with a valid Colonel Card have borrowing privileges.  Only bound journals are allowed to be checked-out.  If you need information in a loose journal issue, you are welcome to make a copy or scan the article.  

Loan Periods

  Undergraduate Students          Graduate Students         Faculty/Staff  
  Bound Journals   2 bound journals for 3 days

  3 bound journals for 3 days  

  3 bound journals for 3 days  
  Loose Issues of Journals    in-house use only  in-house use only  in-house use only 

1. COLLECTION DEVELOPMENT

Because serial selection must be a carefully considered activity treated differently from book selection, as subscriptions represent long-term fiscal, logistical, and resource (both human and otherwise) commitments and annual price increases for serial materials in recent years have been high (approximately 10% per year), new serials subscriptions will be considered, and current subscriptions will be evaluated, once a year, between December and March.  This practice will promote fairness across disciplines and allow the Serials Department to plan responsibly for the budget in any given year. 

1.1.1

Serials Costs

Costs take into account not only subscription pricing, but also processing and binding fees, as well as microform replacement fees.  Yearly inflation of about 10% will also warrant consideration.  Foreign journals will receive special consideration because of constant currency adjustments.  however, the cost of serials within a specific discipline will not be compared to and weighed against the costs in other disciplines; it is widely known that serials in the science and health areas are uniformly much more costly than those in the humanities and social sciences.  Comparing the two areas, and weighing them against one another, would only serve to place undue strain on those fields in which serials are too costly.

1.1.2

Access versus Ownership

The Serials Department maintains a core collection of serials that are essential to the University’s mission.  Beyond this core collection, the addition of some materials may be approved by the Serials Librarian, based on the need for and access availability of the content.  In other words, if a seldom used title is housed at an institution which freely participates in ILL with Nicholls, and the content of that title is therefore readily available on a limited use basis through ILL and /or document delivery, then the Serials Department will choose to prioritize access over ownership, and will not devote funds towards the purchasing of the title. 

1.1.3

Gift Policy

The Serials Department reserves the right to accept, reject, or dispose of any gift at its discretion, based on how well the gift fits into the collection and addresses the needs of the University’s programs.  Selection criteria mentioned in Sections 1.2, 1.2.2 and 1.2.3 will be used to evaluate gift print subscriptions and donated serials. 

1.2

SELECTION CRITERIA

Periodical titles are selected in light of their contributions towards meeting the needs of the university’s programs.  In this selection process, the Serials / Electronic Resources Librarian, after consulting with the faculty department liaisons, will make selection decisions that take into account each of the following factors:

  • existing resources already within the collection
  • funding limitations, which evolve with budget constraint issues
  • program priorities, including accreditation requirements
  • indexing factors, which determine the accessibility of the information
  • reputation of the journal and publisher
  • level and scope of the periodical, in as much as these fit the mission of the University
  • availability of the periodical, both short-term and long-term
  • alternative access to the information, such as document delivery and interlibrary loan (ILL)

1.2.1

Electronic Resources

Electronic journal subscription requests are evaluated using the basic selection criteria identified in Section 1.2.  In addition, the following criteria are also used:

  • reasonableness of cost in comparison to available to print version
  • archive availability, preferably with online access
  • archiving costs
  • available and cost of viewing software needed
  • access (IP address is preferred to password)
  • copyright and licensing restrictions
  • coverage differences between electronic and print versions

1.2.2

Print Journals

In addition to the basic selection criteria stated in Section 1.2, the following guidelines are considered in the review of any print periodical subscription request:

  • electronic or print indexing available via the Library
  • limited retention issues
  • availability of the same information in electronic full text format
  • other alternative access, such as document delivery and / or interlibrary loan (ILL)

1.2.3

Newspapers

The basic selection criteria identified in sections 1.2 and 1.2.2 are used to evaluate newspaper subscriptions.  The following guidelines, specific to the format, are also considered:

  • scope, or whether the paper is local, national, or international
  • subject area, especially for special interest newspapers that support the curriculum
  • availability of microfilm backfiles (depending on need / usage)

The Serials Department, working with the Automation Department, provides access to over a thousand newspaper archives via fee-based databases such as LexisNexis and Academic Search Complete.  As part of our mission, the Serials Department also tracks usage of our print newspapers, to insure that we continually provide print access to those newspapers used most frequently. 

1.2.4

Interlibrary Loan Statistics

Our Interlibrary Loan Librarian provides important statistics about the demand for and use of journals which are not owned by Ellender Memorial Library.  These are tabulated annually and sent to the Serial / Electronic Resources Librarian so that they may make informed purchasing decision when it comes to adding new serials content to the Department’s collection. 

2. COLLECTION MAINTENANCE

The Serials Department houses current and back issues of periodicals, and its staff are responsible for both technical and public services.  Technical services include bibliographic control of the titles, check-in and process of physical items, maintenance of the collection itself and the physical space which houses it, and binding of library materials.  Public services include providing information on holdings, assisting patrons in locating materials, and instructing patron in the use of materials and machinery. 

2.1

PRESERVATION AND REPLACEMENT
The Serials Department reserves the right to decide which materials in the collection should be preserved.  Its staff determines whether items are worthy of long-term preservation and ongoing replacement, or whether they are ephemeral, and will therefore quickly outlive their usefulness, based on the University’s mission.

2.1.1

Preservation of Serials

At the time a journal or other serial title is added to the collection, the Serials Staff will make preservation decisions, such as the following:

  • Appropriate holding period, options include:
    • Latest only kept
    • Latest three months kept
    • Kept until replaced by microform
    • Kept indefinitely
  • Preservation methods, options include:
    • Binding
    • Microfilm replacements
    • Electronic archiving (storing)

2.1.2

Replacement of Serials Issues

The Serials Department will make every attempt, within budgetary limits, to replace missing or damaged serial issues if the titles are to be kept indefinitely.  It will consider such factors as evaluating the need for replacement issues by anticipating usage and the possibility of access to the information via other means such as Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Document Delivery.  In cases where a missing issue is more than two years old, or where the cost of replacing an issue is prohibitive, the Serials Staff will have to examine the situation to decide whether or not the item should be replaced.

2.1.3

Replacement of a Single Missing Serial Volume

When an entire bound volume of a journal is declared lost by the Serials Staff, a replacement will be considered.  However, in most cases, access to the information in a lost volume will be provided via microform or Interlibrary Loan (ILL) and Document Delivery.

2.2

CANCELLATIONS, CESSATIONS, DESELECTION, AND DISCARDING

Deselection and discarding, or weeding, is an essential, ongoing aspect of Serials Collection Management.  Materials that are found by the Serials Librarian, after a careful evaluation, to no longer be essential to the mission of the University, may be removed / withdrawn from the collection.  The purpose of weeding is to address spacing and other logistical concerns, so as to provide more efficient service overall by improving access to the collection.  Weeding is also an opportunity to ensure that the collection is up-to-date with current information in appropriate subject areas.

In addition, titles may be cancelled (no longer ordered for a given yearly budget) at the discretion of the Serials Librarian, as a result of their publication being ceased, or for budgetary concerns.

2.2.1

Criteria for Cancellation

The Serials Librarian will determine the best time for cancellations and for weeding the collection.  Weeding will be considered when shelf space becomes a hindrance to the efficiency of the Department.  Crowded shelves waste time – for a patron looking for a title, for the library attempting to reshelve items, and particularly for the library staff member who is attempting to place new titles into the collection. At those times, the Serials Staff may embark on a weeding project, using the following criteria in determining what will be done with each title:

  • Reliability, as older information becomes outdated and possibly erroneous
  • Relevance, as problems such as the presence of multiple copies and unindexed titles threaten to overwhelm the number of reliable, indexed titles in a sea of worthlessness
  • Other means of accessibility, particularly through online databases and publishers’ sites
  • Budgetary concerns, as the price of Serials increases on average of 10% per year

These criteria will be applied by the Serials Staff, under the direction of the Serials / Electronic Resources Librarian, in conjunction with faculty departmental liaisons when appropriate (as for example, when the deselection process begins solely as a result of budgetary concerns).  A title is officially withdrawn when it is removed from the catalog and labeled as discarded. All discarded titles are given to Gifts and Exchanges, to be donated to other libraries. 

Considerations of cancellation can be initiated by the faculty departmental liaison.  When it is not so initiated, consideration for cancellation can be initiated by the Serials Staff, based on the criteria outlined in the above bulleted list (Section 2.2.1).  In cases where budgetary concerns are the main impetus for cancellation, faculty departmental liaisons will be consulted and informed as to the available options. 

3. REQUESTS AND DONATIONS

3.1

Submitting Requests 

Requests from faculty, students, patrons and the Collection Development Librarian for new subscriptions of periodicals are accepted by the Serials / Electronic Resources Librarian for consideration.  Requests can be submitted via email or phone, and will be subject to the criteria outlined in Sections 1.2, 1.2.1, 1.2.2. and 1.2.3 of this policy.  If the Serials Department, in consultation with the Head of Collection Development, decides in favor of adding a particular title, it is added to the next year’s subscription list.  If a request is denied, it is kept on file in the Serials Department, with a brief note delineating the reason(s) the title request was denied.

3.2

Donations

Back issues of serials that are donated are handled through the Gifts and Exchange Department.  A donated issue of a title to which we already subscribe will be added to the collection or rejected, according to need.  A donated issue of a title to which the library does not subscribe will be evaluated based on the criteria established in Section 1.1.3.  Those donated issues that do not meet these criteria will be forwarded to the Gifts and Exchange Department.

The policies as outlined in this guide are intended to be reviewed annually.  It is understood that as programs, curriculum, and other information needs of the University and its population change, the collection development policy will respond to meet those needs. 

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