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Journals & Series Policies

Note: Some terminology on this page has changed to align more closely with language in the Smith College Catalog. “Serials” are now “Journals”, and “Continuations” are now “Series”.

Journals Policy and Ordering Procedures

Journals Overview and Context

Journals are publications that appear on a regular basis (weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.), and have an annual subscription price. They may be published in print or electronic form.

As the nature of journals is fundamentally different from that of books, journal selection must be carefully considered and treated differently from book selection. A subscription to a journal 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 journals (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.

Journals Policy

The Smith College Libraries purchase journals 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:

  • The Smith College Libraries do not purchase journals in multiple formats
  • Electronic format is preferred as it provides the greatest on- and off-campus access and is favored by most users
  • Print format will be selected only when the online content does not adequately meet the needs of our users (for example when important editorial material is omitted or visual materials are poorly reproduced or not included at all)
  • The Libraries will not normally purchase single issues of journals (exceptions may be made in the case of a special issue on a specific topic)

To ensure our online journal 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) is responsible for making decisions for adding or canceling titles in the journals collection. CDWG will check for institutional pricing and the cost of backfiles (if requested). CDWG will then review the justification provided and make a decision in light of other new subscription requests as well as other current funding needs. Any member of the faculty may recommend to CDWG that a journal be added to the journals 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.

Journal Selection Criteria

Some of the factors to consider in adding new subscriptions are:

  • Relevance to the curriculum, both existing courses and new directions
  • Relevance to faculty scholarship, with preference given to titles needed by more than one person
  • Needs of newly hired faculty, to support both new courses and their own scholarship
  • Cost of the subscription
  • Number and cost of other titles in the field available at Smith
  • Accreditation requirements
  • Coverage in indexing and abstracting services, Google Scholar, Discover, and other access tools
  • Demand as demonstrated by interlibrary loan requests

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.

Journal Backfiles

New subscriptions are generally begun with the next complete volume/year after selection is made. If backfiles are needed, they may be requested.

Procedure for Requesting a New Journal Subscription

  1. Consider your request in light of the selection criteria above.
  2. Although cancellation of existing titles is not always a requirement, the Libraries ask that academic departments make a good faith effort to review their current subscriptions, as curricular and scholarly needs change over time. Consult with the department’s library liaison to obtain a list of the current direct subscriptions in your discipline. Please note that many current titles are delivered through large, multi-disciplinary subscription packages (e.g., Project Muse, Wiley Journals Online, Oxford Journals Online, etc.), and individual titles in these packages cannot be canceled.
  3. Use the online Journals & Series Request Form to request the new subscription.
  4. The Libraries’ Collection Development Working Group (CDWG) will check for institutional pricing and the cost of backfiles (if requested).  CDWG will then review the justification provided and make a decision in light of other new subscription requests as well as  other current funding needs.

Series Policy and Ordering Procedures

The Smith College Libraries define series as ongoing but non-periodical publications such as monographic series, regular supplements and sets, typically in print format. Series may or may not have a completion date and many, especially sets, are issued at irregular intervals. It is difficult to budget for series due to their often erratic publication schedules. Because they are not a predictable annual commitment, the Libraries manage series as standing orders charged to book—rather than serials—funds.

Series Policy

The Smith College Libraries purchase series 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.

When suggesting a new series, the requester should consider the scope. In some cases, it may be more appropriate to purchase specific volumes within the series as monographs, without committing to the entire series. This is most likely to occur when the scope of the series is wide-ranging, possibly covering disparate disciplines and topics (e.g. different volumes on music, literature, history, etc.). In this instance, it may be possible to add a series to the approval slips that the Libraries receive, so faculty members are alerted to new volumes in the series and can make individual selections accordingly.

In other cases, it is appropriate to commit to the entire series with a series order. Examples include:

  • Archaeological excavation reports
  • Complete works of an author, artist, or composer
  • Multivolume dictionaries or encyclopedias
  • Multivolume histories

In these cases, it makes sense to commit to the entire series, as receiving only scattered volumes would reduce the utility of the set.

The Libraries’ Collection Development Working Group (CDWG) is responsible for making decisions for adding or canceling series. The CDWG is chaired by the Head of Collection Development and Management, and members include the Director of Teaching, Learning and Research, the Director of Discovery, Access & Digital Engagement, the Director of Special Collections, and other librarians representing different areas of expertise. Any member of the faculty may recommend to CDWG that a series be added to the library collection or canceled. New series titles can be requested at any time during the year; CDWG considers these requests at its regular monthly meetings. CDWG will add new series that fit the Libraries’ selection criteria (below) and as the budget allows.

Series Selection Criteria

  • Some of the factors to consider in requesting new series are:
  • Relevance to the curriculum, both existing courses and new directions
  • Relevance to faculty scholarship, with preference given to titles needed by more than one person
  • Needs of newly hired faculty, to support both new courses and their own scholarship
  • Cost of the series
  • Number and cost of other titles in the field available at Smith
  • Other availability within the Five Colleges
  • Accreditation requirements
  • Demand as demonstrated by interlibrary loan requests

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.

Series Backfiles

If a series is requested mid-series, the requester should indicate whether earlier volumes in the series are needed.

Procedure for Requesting a New Series

  1. Consider your request in light of the selection criteria above.
  2. Use the online Journals & Series Request Form to request the new series.
  3. The Libraries’ Collection Development Working Group (CDWG) will check for pricing and the cost of back-files (if requested). CDWG will then review the justification provided and make a decision in light of other funding needs and current monographic expenditures in the discipline.