Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Building Connections: A Review of the Serials Literature 2004 through 2005

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

Building Connections: A Review of the Serials Literature 2004 through 2005

Article excerpt

This review of 2004 and 2005 serials literature covers the themes of cost, management, and access. Interwoven through the serials literature of these two years are the importance of collaboration, communication, and linkages between scholars, publishers, subscription agents and other intermediaries, and librarians. The emphasis in the literature is on electronic serials and their impact on publishing, libraries, and vendors. In response to the crisis of escalating journal prices and libraries" dissatisfaction with the Big Deal licensing agreements, Open Access journals and publishing models were promoted. Libraries subscribed to or licensed increasing numbers of electronic serials. As a result, libraries sought ways to better manage licensing and subscription data (not handled by traditional integrated library systems) by implementing electronic resources management systems. In order to provide users with better, faster, and more current information on and access to electronic serials, libraries implemented tools and services to provide A to Z title lists, title by title coverage data, MARC records, and OpenURL link resolvers.


As in past years, electronic journals pervaded all aspects of the serials literature in 2004 and 2005. Electronic journals were changing pricing models as well as management of and access to serials. Support and satisfaction with large, bundled collections of online journals diminished as librarians questioned their benefits and affect on collections. Librarians began looking at other pricing models, such as tiered pricing and open access. Managing and providing access to serials became more complicated, especially as the number of e-journals available to libraries grew. Typical print workflows did not work with online serials. Additional information, such as tracking subscriptions, licenses, URL changes, and title level coverage information, needs to be monitored. In response to those challenges, new serials management services and tools were developed and implemented by libraries. Some of those services assist in tracking coverage information, generating A to Z title lists, and providing MARC records. These services are changing the way serials are cataloged. Loading records has led to libraries changing their cataloging policies and is changing the responsibilities of serials catalogers.

Although e-serials touch all aspects of serials literature, another topic frequently mentioned directly and indirectly is the relationship between libraries, publishers, and vendors. The importance of communication and collaboration among all parties in the scholarly communication circle is illustrated by events and endeavors captured in the literature during 2004 and 2005. Examples of collaboration include those between publishers and libraries in dealing with the demise of divine, Inc. and the RoweCom bankruptcy; between an integrated library system vendor and libraries in creating a new serials management tool; and among all three groups in establishing standards for communicating serials metadata. Dialogue between libraries and scholars, who create, edit, and review journal content, has created greater awareness among scholars of journal pricing and open access issues.

Recent Literature Reviews

In looking back at the serials literature of 2004 and 2005, examining past literature reviews to get an idea of where the profession was prior to 2004 and where it might be heading is valuable. Two serials literature reviews have been published in recent years. In 2004, Silva reviewed the serials literature of 2002. (1) Noting that a review of literature had not been written since Riddick's in 1992, Silva did not attempt to fill in the gap between 1992 and 2002. (2) Instead Silva focused on serials literature of 2002 while briefly comparing 2002 topics of cataloging, electronic publishing, collection management, serials pricing, and serials management with the major themes identified previously in 1992. …

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