Looking to the Future

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    Linda Connors
    Head, Acquisitions & Collection Development Department, Library
    Drew University, New Jersey, United States

Like many other small institutions, Drew University does not have adequate funding to pay for both print and online versions of journals if the online version costs extra; with the exception of titles in JSTOR, Project Muse, and similar collections, we have retained print subscriptions. For all JSTOR journals for which our holdings are incomplete or split between bound volumes and microform, we withdraw all bound volumes and microform from circulation. This policy recognizes that a catalog listing with multiple formats and locations is confusing to users and that some users have assumed that a partial run means that JSTOR does not include those particular volumes. In a few cases where we have a complete run of a journal in bound volumes and only in a subject where we offer the Ph.D degree, we have retained the bound volumes. We may re-think this decision in the future.

Despite our users’ preference for electronic journals, we have been reluctant to move in that direction exclusively, in part, because of our concern about maintaining an electronic archive. We simply would not be able to do this on our own and thus would be relying on the journal publisher to maintain its archive, and understanding that, we became an Archive Founder of Portico in 2006.

Keeping in mind that access to Portico requires a trigger event, we have decided that with the 2008 renewals, we will convert to electronic-only all those titles which are committed to Portico. As additional titles become part of Portico we will mark them for conversion to electronic with the next renewal cycle. We are applying this decision across-the-board: we are not agonizing over whether Professor X really prefers print or whether the illustrations in a given subject are better in print (and as one colleague pointed out, if you photocopy from an art journal, it’s in black and white. If you print from the electronic, it’s in color).

Our library is also using this information to plan for future growth in the periodicals stacks and we are canceling the corresponding microform subscriptions. This policy recognizes that patrons rarely want to browse scholarly journals in print. What they want to do is find the citation and click through to the full-text article. Portico allows us to provide the electronic journal this year without worrying whether the electronic version will continue to be available in future years. We anticipate considerable savings in time: electronic issues do not have to be checked in, stamped with ownership marks, shelved and re-shelved, gathered and sent to the bindery or be replaced by microform.