You are on page 1of 8

SERIALS PROCESSING ACITIVITIES IN THE LIBRARY BY: AYOTUNDE BADARU (badaru.ayotunde@gmail.

com) UNIVERSITY OF ILORIN, LIBRARY AND INFORMATION SCIENCE DEPARTMENT OCTOBER, 2012

The library located anywhere is symbol of knowledge and a major information disseminator in any part of the world. Adubika (2007) in his study focusing on serial management in polytechnic libraries in Nigeria referred to the library as the heart of knowledge. He went further to mention that Kwampong (1970) described the library as the heart and aorta of an institution and the state of the library tells on the educational and academic excellence of any institution. It is important to note that the library in any location has a parent institution or a larger group of people it serves. The library being mentioned above doesnt refer to the building but the information resources located inside of it. Information resources range from reference sources, monographs, online resources and so on. The quality and availability of information resources in a library determines the extent to which it is working towards its objective: to satisfy information needs. A serial publication in print form is one of the information resources in the library that are written, published, printed and made available to library patrons to satisfy their information needs. Serial publications posses their greatest value in their ability to provide up-to-date or current information Adubika (2007). In addition to this, serial publications are great sources for the announcement of new discoveries in a particular field and also provide information on ongoing research. However, the original intention for serial publications in print form may not be accomplished if not properly processed. The processing stage is vital in the cycle a serial publication goes through in the library. Serial processing activities are activities involved in the management of serial publications for effective use. Amaakaven (1995) describes serials management as routines and procedures for administering serials collection. Serial processing activities may have varying steps and procedures according to different libraries and different scholars in the field but this blog focuses on the standard steps and procedures with the help of references and industrial training at the University of Ilorin Library. The steps involved in the processing of serials in print form are similar to the processing of textbooks and other monographs only with a few differences. Mullis (1992) grouped the processes involved in the processing of serials into acquisition, cataloguing, classification, retrieval, accessibility, use and preservation. Serial processing may vary based on the experience of various authors although there is always a similarity.

ACQUISITION Acquisition of serial publications is usually based on a continuous financial commitment or payment for a fixed interval; this is because of the nature of serials coming on interval bases. Although, other acquisition forms such as gifts, exchange and legal deposit do not require any financial commitment. This aspect of serial processing activity usually carries the bulk of financial commitment of the library. In agreement with Adhikari (2000) and a few scholars, acquisition of serials involves the following processes: Selection: Selection of serials is usually based on policy, feedback gotten from patrons and enquiry from potential patrons. Ogunrombi (1997) gives an in-depth look at selection by including procedures such as collection analysis and user survey. Catalogues that list the available serials and the price of each is reviewed and selection is made. Ordering: This is a process of enquiry for availability of serial publication and placing an order for which ever is needed. During this process, the library being represented by the serials librarian contacts the publishers or vendor and places order. Szilvassy (1996) insisted that lack of standard ordering mainly in poor countries is a reason for problems of serial acquisition. For serial publications, ordering is usually known as subscribing; which can be direct or through a subscription agent i.e. a representative of the library. In addition to this, ordering may be broken down into other processes such as price list checking, fund allocation and invoice preparation according to Ford (1999). Check-in: As the name implies, is being sure that a serial publication ordered for is being delivered. According to Adhikari (2000:95) check-in involves the process of making a record that a particular periodical issue has been received. Check-in essentially translates to being sure. A major advantage of the check-in procedure is the record being kept. The record keeps track of all serials delivered and received by the library. Osborn (1980) agrees that it maintains the integrity of serials file. Claiming: Claiming process involves the transfer of ownership for serial publications that have been ordered for and checked-in. This procedure usually involves signing of essential documents and taking of ownership for serials delivered. In some cases, invoice sent to the vendor is used to cross checked and each serial present is ticked to signify acceptance. Payment: Serial publications are paid for once the serials librarian as ensured they arrive in the right condition. Payment may be made in cash, cheque and so on. Payment may also be made in advance for future issues of the serial publication. In some cases, the invoice sent to the vendor is produced, the price for all titles listed is added up to a total amount.

Fund Accounting: Fund accounting involves the comparison of the initial budget for purchase and the actual amount spent for the purchase. This checks for the state of the budget i.e. surplus, deficit or balanced. Fund accounting ensures accountability on the part of the serials librarian. Fund accounting also is essential not only for the serial section alone but also the entire library. Tools used during acquisition procedure. Adubika (2007) in his study of serials management in Yaba College of Technology mentioned three tools which conform to the American Library Association guidelines used by the library for incoming serials which are: The Kardex, Daily Arrival Register and Accession lists. Kardex are designed to have columns and rows for recording date for arrival of a new issue for the serial publication it is meant for. The card also allows for provision of other attributes of a serial such as the title, frequency, call number and price. Daily arrival register as the name implies is used to keep record of the serial acquired by the library on a daily basis, this is usually useful for newspapers. Accession lists contain a list of each serial and its accession number.

ORGANIZATION Organization is an umbrella term that covers the procedures done only by professionals like the serials librarian majorly to aid an organized use of serial publication by patrons. Organization can also be seen to be term describing the bibliographic control procedures for serial publications. Szilvassy (1996) describes bibliographic control for serial publications as involving: Cataloguing and classification: Cataloguing and classification is the provision of bibliographic information for each serial publication. Bibliographic information in this case involves attributes such as title, author, issue number, interval of publication, ISSN number and others. Cataloguing is bibliographic description of a serial publication. Classification specifically deals with assigning class mark through the classification schemes. A major aspect of cataloguing and classification is catalogue maintenance. Serial publications removed from the shelf for any reason should be also have its catalogue card removed from the catalogue collection as this will definitely mislead potential users of that serial.

In some libraries however, serials are not catalogued. Instead, a stripdex is maintained. Maintenance of stripdex involves the updating it to reflect the current serials available in the section. A good example of this is the Yaba College of Technology Library as studied by Adubika (2007). Shelving: This is the arrangement of already acquired, catalogued and classified serial publications on the shelf. As simple as this sound, this procedure is reserved exclusive for professionals such as the serials librarian. Shelving involves the use of the class mark gotten from the classification schemes during the classification procedure. Shelving policies differ depending on the library; the simplest shelving is to arrange current titles on the open shelves as done at Yaba College of Technology, Adubika (2007). Others may integrate books and serials together thereby catalogue and shelf them together. Patrons sometimes remove publications with the assumption that they know where it was located during the removal; in an attempt to put the publication back they unknowingly put it probably on the same rack but not in its exact spot. This happens because of the lack of expertise patrons have in shelving of serial publications. This is where daily shelving comes in. Daily shelving is a daily routine in the serial section that is done usually at the beginning of each day. Daily shelving is done to clean up the mess done by patrons while retrieving serial publications the day before. In some other cases, the serial section has a rack apart from the shelf that displays new arrivals to patrons as practiced at University of Ilorin Library; this is also an organization technique aids easy access and retrieval of serials.

DISSEMINATION After acquiring and organizing serial publications, dissemination techniques are employed to ensure that potential patrons are aware of their existence in the library. Effective dissemination technique should be employed to ensure that patrons are aware as this is the main point for acquiring and organizing serials: use.

Various dissemination techniques are adopted by serial sections globally. In agreement with Clark and ODriscoll (1990) some dissemination techniques include: Circulation desk: The circulation section in the library is usually referred to as the public relations aspect of the library. The circulation desks occupied by trained librarians attends

to potential patrons directly and provide services to help them satisfy their information needs. The circulation desk being the first point of contact the section has with its patrons, is essential to effective dissemination of serials. Librarians at the circulation desk can apply techniques like introducing new serial titles to patrons as they make their enquiries, patrons can also be referred to new arrivals rack if any for them to consider serials placed there. Current Awareness Service: Current awareness service as the name implies is a service designed to keep patrons informed about new titles available in the section. New issues of existing serial publications and entirely new serials are displayed usually on the entrance to the serial section of the library. This way, patrons are easily informed of new titles from their favorite serials. Photocopying: Patrons who have accessed and used serial publication are usually allowed to photocopy parts that are useful for their work, but not the whole publication. Photocopying of helps patrons to have a copy of an important part of the publication and take a better look at it at home. Photocopies are important tools patrons can refer to during their work instead of returning back to the library. Serial publications are not allowed to be borrowed, the nearest service to this is photocopying. Interlibrary loans: Interlibrary loans involve the exchange of serial publications between serial sections of two or more libraries. Serial section of a library may not have publications they need; usually on request serials section may exchange resources to satisfy their patrons. Interlibrary loans are usually based on agreements made by the libraries in question.

STORAGE AND PRESERVATION Serial publications are withdrawn from the shelf faster than books due the frequency of new issues. Accumulation of issues will force the serial librarian to withdraw older issues. Withdrawn issues should be stored and preserved in appropriate environments to prolong their lifespan and to make them available on demand by patrons. Serial publications like daily newspapers which have the fastest rate of frequency would require adequate storage and preservation techniques. A major preservation technique is binding. Most libraries have a bindery unit that bind books and give hard cover to materials with soft ones. Serials are also bound to provide hard covers to help preserve them.

Air conditioning is also a way of preserving serial collection, cool air produced by air conditioners help to neutralize humid temperatures in the library. Libraries who cannot afford air conditioners can provide fans and open windows instead. Proper ventilation is essential for serials preservation and storage. Proper lightning is also essential in preservation especially at night. Light scares away rodents which can destroy serials especially in print form. A policy like no eating in the library is also a preservation technique. Food droplets will attract rodents and insects into the library, in search of food droplets insects infest print serials and even computers contain online resources. Serial processing activities if observed carefully is cycle of procedures that ensures quality serials holding in the serial section. An important part of serial processing activities is weeding. Weeding: This is an agricultural term adopted by library science to describe the process of removing unwanted, mutilated, or old publications from the shelf. Weeded materials are either disposed or bound and return back to the shelf of they are still needed by patrons or deemed useful in the future. Weeded materials are usually kept in closed shelves. Serials management is one of the most challenging and expensive function in the library, this is a function that challenges the serial holdings of most libraries. Patrons would often visit the serial section only to discover that issues they are not subscribed due financial constraints. I believe this is challenge that would continue to taunt the serial holdings of libraries despite the immense benefits gotten from the use of serial publications.

REFERENCES Adhikari, R. (2000).Library serials automation. Delhi: Rajat Publications.

Adubika, T. 2007. Serials management in polytechnic libraries in Nigeria: a comparative study of Kaduna Polytechnic and Yaba College of Technology Libraries. Samaru Journal of Information Studies 7.2:28-33. Ammakaven F.G. (1995) Comparative study of serials management in Kashim Ibrahim library and the University of Jos. Clark, P. and ODriscoll, C. (1990). Direct services to the user. Serial Management: a practical handbook. Eds. M.E. Graham and F. Buettel. London: Aslib. 103 -118. Ford, G. (1999). Finance and budgeting. Collection management in academic Libraries. Eds. C.Jenkins & M. Morley. England: Gower Publishing Ltd. 39-69. Mullis, A. (1992). Serials, In Michael, P. (ed.), Non-standard collection management (pp.83-115). Aldershot, England: Ashgate Publishing. Nisonger, T.E. (1998). Management of serials in libraries. Englewood, Colorado: Libraries Unlimited, Inc. Ogunrombi, S.A. (1997). Serials selection and deselection: a survey of Nigerian university libraries: African Journal of library, Archives and Information Science 7.1:33-42. Osborn, A. (1980). Serial publications: Their place and treatment in libraries. 3rd ed. Chicago: American Library Association Szilvassy, J. (ed.) (1996). Basic Serials Management Handbook. IFLA Publications 77. Munchen: K. G. Saur.