Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

From Innovation to Transformation: A Review of the 2006-7 Serials Literature

Academic journal article Library Resources & Technical Services

From Innovation to Transformation: A Review of the 2006-7 Serials Literature

Article excerpt

This paper reviews the leading trends in and contributions to the peer-reviewed and professional literature of serials librarianship published in 2006 and 2007. The review shows that a central topic in the literature is the nature and effect of libraries" ongoing transition from acquiring serials in print to providing access electronically. Propelled forward by user preferences, this transition is reflected in publications that reconceptualize collections and describe innovative initiatives and strategies for acquisition, access, and management. Throughout the literature, the review traces a prevailing sentiment that libraries are advancing well beyond the confines of print-centered models and are assuming new roles, imagining new possibilities, and developing new solutions.

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The literature of serials librarianship published in 2006 and 2007 reveals a field in rapid transition. The changes occurring range from the shifting nature of serial collections to evolving models, initiatives, and management strategies used to acquire and administer access to these collections. According to Plutchak, serials librarianship and scholarly communication as a whole are currently in a period of innovation in which emerging technologies are ceasing their emulation of the past and revealing extraordinary new possibilities. (1) Plutchak believes that this period will culminate in the transformation of scholarly communication so that technology "overturns the capabilities that were previously thought to be the pinnacle, and brand new ways of doing things become possible." (2) From this perspective, the 2006-7 serials literature might be said to offer a first, nascent glimpse of the landscape stretching before libraries as they pioneer their way from a period of innovation to one of transformation. Indeed, there is a prevailing sentiment in the literature that libraries have advanced well beyond the confines of print-centered models in their strategies for acquiring and administering serial access. The literature shows libraries assuming new roles, imagining new possibilities, and developing new solutions.

This paper, the latest entry in LRTS' ongoing series reviewing the serials literature, starts where Genereux's review of the 2004-5 literature left off. (3) It examines the peer-reviewed and professional literature of serials librarianship published in 2006 and 2007. The primary resource for identifying publications to include in the review was Library Literature and Information Science. In addition, citations in publication reference lists, postings on electronic discussion lists, and serendipitous discovery all contributed to forming the body of literature that was examined. Within this body of literature, the criteria for selecting publications to review was based on the author's judgment of which publications most fully exemplify the leading trends in and contributions to serials librarianship's literature.

The first section of the review, "'Collections and Concepts," takes a broad perspective, surveying the forces that the literature indicates are reshaping the nature of serials in libraries. Specifically, it reviews changes in the use, formats, and cost of serials and analyzes the effect of these changes on how serials are defined. The next section, "Acquisition," considers the literature's discussion of the evolving means through which serial access is acquired. In addition to assessing the current state of publisher packages, it gives particular attention to the effect of the open access (OA) movement and acquisition models that shift emphasis from ownership to access. The third section, "Access," examines publications describing libraries' three primary serial access points: online catalogs, link resolvers, and metasearch engines. The fourth section, "Management," reviews the literature's discussion of how the managers of serial collections are responding to new challenges and opportunities. …

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