Cancellation Projects Marcia Tuttle 19 Nov 1992 20:48 UTC

Date: Thu, 19 Nov 92 09:01:24 EST
From: Cindy Hepfer <>
Subject: cancellation projects

In response to Cheryl McKee:

   The Buffalo Health Sciences Library has reviewed its entire journal/index &
abstract listing annually for cancellation.  We maintain a very dynamic journal
collection, adding new titles continually.  In order to do that, naturally
we have had to adopt an annual pruning process.  It seems to be a natural and
necessary part of collection development, particularly in a STM collection.

   The core individuals involved in the process are the head of collection
development and the serials librarian.  Even when inflation has not been dread-
ful, we have both taken time to review the entire list and have created a hit
list.  Our selections were based on price/price history, index coverage (or
lack thereof), where else located on campus/in Western New York, language,
publisher, etc.  We do have some use data from previously conducted use studies
(we sampled use by means of a reshelving study done one week each quarter) that
was also used, but taken with a grain of salt because of the small sample size.
We are looking forward to using the data gathered during the 1991/92 CRL use
study as we believe this will give us a much truer picture of use.

Once our target list was put together, we have consulted with relevant teaching
and clinical faculty, with the subject selectors on our staff, and with the
teaching hospital librarians.   The process has always been very consultative.

How have faculty reacted?  Until last year, I contacted faculty directly
by phone and discussed titles on the target list with them.  In the majority
of cases, I found them interested, flattered and happy to talk.  Some showed
a great deal of interest, asked many questions, offered the names of other
faculty members who might be interested in the titles.  Last year we had a
very large list to circulate to faculty, and so sent printed lists to
department chairs and other faculty known to have a particular interest in
the collection.  This was less satisfactory than actually talking to the
faculty directly, but did give us some useable feedback.  Given sufficient time
however, I'd prefer to use the phone call approach.  Phone calls are
personal, end up involving a number of folks (in some cases, as many as
100), and provide insights you don't get from a paper list. They also allow
you to DISCUSS price/publication trends with faculty one-on-one, rather than
expecting them to read a cover letter accompanying a "hit list."

Anyway, I heartily endorse an annual review process as a natural part of
collection development.  Considering inflation, a changing curriculum, the
publication of new titles, stagnant budgets, the growth of document delivery
services such as CARL, etc., I really believe that an annual review of serials
subscriptions should be obligatory for collection development librarians.

Cindy Hepfer
Serials Librarian
State University of New York at Buffalo Health Sciences Library