Magazine article American Libraries

U.S. Serial Services Price Index for 2000

Magazine article American Libraries

U.S. Serial Services Price Index for 2000

Article excerpt


This is the 37th annual survey of U.S. Serial Services, a product of the ALA/ALCTS Library Materials Price Index Committee, working in conjunction with Faxon, RoweCom (formerly the Faxon Company).

The selection of titles surveyed and the 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."

In August 1999 a new standard for library material price indexes, Criteria for Price Indexes for Printed Library Materials (ANSI/NISO Z39.20-1999) was published by the National Information Standards Organization. That standard specifically excludes serials services. Lacking inclusion of serials services in the 1999 standard, I have continued to use the 1983 standard.

A total of 1,294 titles were included in the data for Tables 1-7. This year, 38 titles were dropped from the index, having been discontinued altogether or having been discontinued in paper. Forty-six titles were identified as replacements for the dropped titles and were chosen to correspond as closely as possible in price range and subject content to the dropped titles. There continues to be gradual movement from printed paper publications to electronic publications, most notably to Internet-based access. Additionally, publisher mergers have resulted in the consolidation of some serial services, requiring replacements.

Prices for approximately 750 of the sample titles were extracted from the serial subscription database of Faxon, RoweCom. Prices for the remaining titles were determined by publisher lists (many of which were available on publisher's Web sites), cover prices, publisher correspondence, and library subscription records.

The data as computed by Faxon show that the average 2000 price for U.S. Serial Services titles is $671.94 (Table 1). This is a 5.3% increase over the 1999 average, and over twice the average price for 1984.

Tables 2-7 show the average price changes by subject (including "U.S. Documents") and the numbers of titles added and dropped. The largest average price increase was in Table 7, "U.S. Documents" (+17.2%). This is the most dramatic price increase in this category since the base year 1984. Nine titles were dropped from and 11 were added to "U.S. Documents." The next largest increase in average price was seen in Table 5, "Science and Technology" (+7.7%), in which six titles were dropped and four were added. In Table 6, "Social Sciences," with two titles dropped and two titles added, price increases were only slightly higher (3.8%) than the increases last year. The level of increase in Table 6 titles has been consistent over the last three years. Table 2, "Business," with 14 titles dropped and 17 titles added, showed a 2.8% increase, slightly higher than the increase last year.

Table 3, "General and Humanities," with a price increase of 2.3%, showed the lowest price increase. Four titles were dropped from this index and six titles were added. Table 4, "Law," had a 5.2% increase over last year. Three titles were dropped from this index, and six titles added. The prices for a large number of titles within this index have been carried over from last year, due to undetermined status for titles resulting from recent mergers and acquisitions among legal publishers. Work on the title list for this table will continue in the coming months.

In 1998, the base year for this index was set at 1984 to ease comparison with other price indexes. …

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