Serial titles consist of publications issued in successive parts, usually at regular intervals, and intended to be continued indefinitely (periodicals, annual reports, yearbooks, proceedings etc). Periodicals are serial publications published more frequently than once a year such as magazines, newspapers, and scholarly journals. Serials differ from monographs in that a serial subscription is an ongoing financial commitment. In addition, serials prices have historically increased at a rate that far exceeds such standard economic indicators as the Consumer Price Index and great care must be taken to ensure that the Libraries’ ongoing commitment to serials do not consume a disproportionate share of the total acquisitions budget. Therefore, requests for new serial subscriptions must be considered very carefully. Generally, a new serial subscription will not be entered unless another subscription of similar expense can be canceled. Faculty members who wish to request the addition of a new subscription will be asked to review existing subscriptions in their subject discipline to identify a current title that might be discontinued. The Serials Librarian and the Collection Development Librarian and the Stafford Campus Librarian review new serial requests. Criteria are the same as outlined for other materials. In addition to those guidelines, the following must be taken into account:
- Accessibility to indexing
- Cost of the title
- Overall availability of funds
- Subject emphasis, interdisciplinary nature of the publication, size of enrollment in requesting program, potential usage
- Appropriateness of print versus microform versus electronic format
- Number of interlibrary loan requests for this serial
- Current subscription held by either Library
- Availability in current online database subscriptions
Whenever a new serial is selected, a decision should be made concerning the retention of that serial. If it is to be retained indefinitely, a decision should be made as to whether it should be bound or purchased in electronic or microform format.
Back file purchases of serials are based on the same criteria as current and new subscriptions and are purchased as funds allow. Back files are usually acquired in electronic or microform formats.
A retention period is established for each serial title. A title is either retained permanently or retained for a limited period only. Limited retention may be based on such factors as currency of the information and/or condition of the material. Electronic versions of serials are accessible through the online catalog and/or the Library home page.