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Serials are publications that appear on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.), and have an annual subscription price. They may appear in print or electronic form.
As the nature of serials is fundamentally different from that of books, serials selection must be carefully considered and treated differently from book selection. A subscription to a serial title represents significantly greater long-term fiscal, space (in the case of print), and staff commitments than the acquisition and processing of a book. Annual price increases for serials (see price projections and price history) are historically higher (approximately 5 to 7 percent a year) than for books, and thus have a dramatic impact on the entire materials budget.
The Smith College Libraries purchase serials to support the teaching, learning and research of the Smith community. Within the context of maximizing budget resources the Libraries seek to provide a balanced portfolio of titles that reflect the wide variety of campus needs and provide the greatest access to scholarship. In order to maximize both budget and space resources:
To ensure our online serials holdings will remain accessible in the future, Smith belongs to Portico, a permanent electronic archive of scholarly journals.
The Libraries’ Collection Development Working Group (CDWG) (see note #3 below) is responsible for making decisions for adding or cancelling titles in the serials portfolio. Any member of the faculty may recommend to CDWG that a journal be added to the serials collection. CDWG considers subscription requests twice a year (October and April) and adds new titles that fit its selection criteria (below) and as the budget allows.
Some of the factors to consider in adding new subscriptions are:
The Smith College Libraries will not always be able to meet all the needs of faculty members for their personal research through local collections, but aim to support their curricular needs whenever possible.
New subscriptions are generally begun with the next complete volume/year after selection is made. If backfiles are needed, they may be requested.
The Smith College Libraries define continuations as ongoing but non-serial publications such as monographic series, regular supplements, and sets. Continuations may or may not have a completion date and many, especially sets, are issued at irregular intervals. It is difficult to budget for continuations due to their often erratic publication schedules. Because they are not a predictable annual commitment, the Libraries manage continuations as standing orders charged to book rather than serials funds.
New continuation titles can be requested at any time during the year. Requests should be sent to the department’s library liaison.