One of the big projects I’ve been working on at MPOW is preparing to shift the bound journal collection, which also includes some systematic deselection. I don’t mean cancelling subscriptions. I’m talking about weeding the journals.
We’re about to run out of space in the building with no prospects of anything new on the horizon, so for the first time in forty years, the books are being weeded. The same thing has to happen to the journals, or we’ll be out of room for them, too. As it is, some areas are so tight that several sections of a range need to be shifted in order to add a new bound volume.
We started by pulling everything that is in JSTOR. This has freed up some significant space, but there is still a bit of dead wood in the collection. With online access, we’ve noticed a precipitous drop in print usage. Whereas we use to have an entire range of shelving for reshelve-prep, we now use a single book truck, which is rarely filled. Sure, we still need the journals that are not online in some fashion, but our students would prefer to use the electronic journals with free printing than get up from the computer, find the volume, and make a not-free photocopy of an article.
Sometimes I wonder why we continue to buy print journals at all, and the answer usually is that the publisher doesn’t have a good platform for their ejournals (if they have them), or for whatever reason, they seem kind of sketchy. Still, we’ve made a lot of transitions to online only in the past couple of years, and I think that will pan out well for slowing the collection growth to maximum capacity.