Magazine article American Libraries

U.S. Serial Services Price Index for 1998

Magazine article American Libraries

U.S. Serial Services Price Index for 1998

Article excerpt


This is the 35th annual survey of U.S. Serial Services, a product of the ALA/ALCTS Library Materials Price Index Committee, working in conjunction with the Faxon Company.

The selection of titles surveyed and determination of prices were in accordance with the guidelines of the American National Standard for Library and Information Sciences and Related Publishing Practices - Library Materials - Criteria for Price Indexes (ANSI Z39.20-1983). The standard defines a U.S. Serial Service as "a periodical publication that revises, cumulates, abstracts, or indexes information in a specific field on a regular basis by means of new or replacement issues, pages, or cards, intended to provide information otherwise not readily available."

Two notable differences occur with the 1998 U.S. Serial Services Price Index. First, the base year has been changed to 1984. This allows for comparisons to be made more easily between this index and other price indexes for which 1984 is the base year, including the Consumer Price Index. Adjustments in the percentage changes in prices as well at the index figure reflect this change in the base year.


(excluding Russian Translations as of 1988)
(51 titles dropped; $2 titles added)

Year      Number of Titles    Average Price    Price Change    Index

1984            1537             295.13             -          100.0
1985-87          NA                NA              NA            NA
1988            1310             341.32            NA          115.7
1989            1308             363.20           6.4%         123.1
1990            1308             377.24           3.9%         127.8
1991            1307             412.38           9.3%         139.7
1992            1294             445.37           8.0%         150.9
1993            1294             466.57           4.8%         158.1
1994            1294             489.76           5.0%         165.9
1995            1280             522.01           6.6%         176.9
1996            1280             556.58           6.6%         188.6
1997            1281             578.22           3.9%         195.9
1998            1282             604.31           4.5%         204.8

Secondly, there is no longer a table for the Wilson Indexes. The H.W. Wilson Company was responsible for accumulating the data on the 19 titles represented by that index, and they have chosen to no longer participate in the creation of that table. Following is the statement from Deborah Loeding, director, product management at the H.W. Wilson Company:

"Due to the tremendous response to Wilson's Internet service, WilsonWeb, and ever-increasing CD-ROM subscriptions, the Wilson Company will not be supplying figures this year for its print index subscriptions. We believe that such figures might be misleading without an electronic services component.

"Unlike the Wilson print indexes that are based on 'service-based pricing,' in which subscription rates are based on a library's journal holdings, WilsonWeb and CD-ROM full-text, abstract, and index databases are not based on a library's serials holdings.

"Concerning serial price increases, it should be noted that Wilson, similar to many large libraries, has experienced escalation of journal subscription rates. We have paid subscriptions to more than 6,400 periodical titles used for our indexing and abstracting operations and have experienced a 13.6% increase in periodical subscriptions for our index and abstract databases, compared to 1997 figures. It should be noted that we have added 194 new journals for indexing and abstracting since 1997; these additional titles are not reflected in the percentages."

A total of 1,282 titles were included in the data for Tables 1-7. This year, 51 titles were dropped from the index, having been discontinued altogether or having been discontinued in paper format. …

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