Periodical Collection


This policy statement reflects the need to build our periodical collection to support the curriculum and to support the curriculum while recognizing the cost implications inherent in the medium.


A periodical is defined here as a journal, magazine, or newspaper. Since even a relatively inexpensive journal title represents a continuing and growing expense, titles are added very selectively.

Selection Process

Suggestions from faculty and students for new periodical subscriptions will be held until March of each year, at which time the periodical collection is reviewed in its entirety. This process allows for a holistic consideration of the periodical collection by librarians and faculty alike. Government periodicals are considered through a separate process in the summer.

Selection Criteria

Electronic journals are considered with emphasis given to collections rather than individual titles (e.g. Project Muse, Business Periodicals Ondisc) but individual titles will be added where appropriate.

Though not limited to these elements, additions and deletions to the holdings will be made on the basis of the following criteria: (not in order of importance)

  • Coverage of title by indexing/abstracting service owned by library
  • Cost of the subscription relative to value of/need for title
  • Format that is most cost-effective, useful and accessible
  • Continued archival availability of electronic formats
  • Importance of recommended title to curriculum
  • Interdisciplinary content or value
  • Justification for new subscription provided by requester
  • Appropriateness for student research
  • Relationship to other journals in collection
  • Reputation of publisher
  • Sample copy for evaluation
  • Use statistics/anticipated use based on interlibrary loan requests
  • English language, except where in support of foreign language course
  • Reviews/recommended lists


Retention and Formats

The library subscribes to periodicals in a variety of formats, including print, microform and electronic. We determine retention based on need, use, and space. In some cases, we have a current subscription in paper which is retain for a limited time, after which the older issues are replaced with microform. In other instances, we purchase only microform because the pattern of use is in the older volumes. Backfiles on paper are kept for varying lengths of time depending on the discipline and the title involved. We back up the most heavily used print titles with an additional format, either microform or electronic.

With the proliferation of fulltext databases, we have experienced passive duplication of titles. To deal with this, we choose to select electronic format over microform due to ease of access and demand. We also consider comparability of electronic format to its print equivalent, including completeness of coverage, graphics, and stability.