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