or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Withdrawing Journals: Ithaka Report

   November 10th, 2009

magazinesIn case you missed it, Ithaka release a report in September titled "What to Withdraw: Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization" [pdf].

It's really geared towards academic libraries looking to achieve a balance between digitizing journals for access (and repurposing the floorspace they took up), and retaining print journals for preservation purposes.

Being a medium-size public library, our journals are mostly for popular reading, but we do keep a small magazine archive of past issues. The criteria I use on which titles are kept in the archive is basically:

Does this magazine contain information that someone will find useful in two years?

In most cases, this includes things like cooking magazines (for recipes), home improvement/craft/sport magazines (for ideas and tips), those useful for research (like Vital Speeches of the Day), and of course, Consumer Reports (we also have a large [donated] collection of National Geographic, dating back to 1911). But the archive has limited space, so it gets weeded every year to make room for new issues/titles.

And no discussion of digitized journals would be complete without me mentioning one of my favorite tools, the Boston Public Library's e-Journals by Title search. I make some journal collection development decisions based on what I know I can access through them, and just hope it stays that way.

For more on the Ithaka report, check out their website or Marie Newman's summary on Out of the Jungle.

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2 Responses to “Withdrawing Journals: Ithaka Report”

  1. Winnie Says:

    In our tiny library we keep the current year and a the past year only of our magazines. A patron asked why we didn’t have older issues of a magazine and my co-worker asked “Where would we keep them?” The patron replied she’d be happy to keep them at her house.

  2. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Winnie: That brings up the topic I forgot to mention – what do libraries do with magazines they weed? We have a big wire basket we put them in for patrons to go through and take whatever they want (and almost everything gets taken).

    It’s also just big enough for patrons to bring magazines from home and drop them off, for others to take. We don’t really publicize that part of it, because I’m sure we’d quickly get overwhelmed, but right now it’s more or less self-regulating, and so much better than just throwing them all away.