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All the obvious reasons for binding count IF you keep the journals for more
than a few years - given this era of cost consciousness, I would not bind
anything kept for five years or less.  Many small hospitals keep journals
for only five to ten years; academic libraries generally keep them longer.
 
However, if you plan to keep some journals for a long period of time, they
should be bound.  The trap to avoid is formulas like "hospital libraries
should keep journals for only X years."  In my first hospital libray, I
discovered that we needed Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery back to the 1920's
- the orthopedic residents there needed them all the time, and I even
purchased back volumes to fill in for what I was missing.  Your residencies,
teaching programs, etc. will determine what you need to keep and bind.  The
rest will be recycled faster than you know...
 
Try to keep a simple log by title/year of what is borrowed and copied from -
this will help you make these decisions over time.  In the meantime, get
input from your clients on what titles they expect you to keep for ten years
or more. These are candidates for binding.
 
As for copying, I know at least one library that keeps duplicate sets of
JAMA and NEJM near the copier just for that purpose - for five years.  This
is larger collection that keeps most journals forever.
 
In the last library I managed, we bound some titles, but not all.  We also
used a colored tape system, formerly marketed by Highsmith, to identify
years/months and help reinforce spines.   Colors were rotated in a three
year cycle of blue, red, & green, and length of color corresponded to the
month.  It was easy to see out of place issues, etc.  Clear tape was used to
reinforce the whole spine.  Colored book tape from library supply catalogs
could also be used.  That LRC now has a similar system produced in-house -
it has proved very useful. It helps with both appearance and durability.
 
As for theft, we used circulation/usage statistics to justify multiple
subscriptions to heavily used titles - this served a nursing school where
heavily used titles like AJN and Nursing96 were not that expensive.  For
example, AJN accounted for 25% of circulation (at that time).  This
retention policy really helped with lost/missing issues and problems like
mutilation.  When supply is in-line with demand, problems are avoided.  This
policy was developed with faculty/student committee input, and replaced one
I inherited of keeping EVERY donated copy...  (my favorite story:  journals
were also shelved by size, in cast-off non-adjustable shelving - I'm sure
many others have similar stories to tell).
 
Enough nostalgia - just remember that every library needs to make these
decisions based on their own clientele and budget factors.  Perhaps your
users want to keep journals forever (maybe they like ambiance of nice long
journal runs and/or want back volumes available on-site for the occasional
need), and space and budget is not a problem.  Then, I'd certainly bind -
even if use and statistics did not warrant this decision.  This is where
professional judgement comes in...
 
Peg
********************************************
Margaret (Peg) Allen, MLS-AHIP
Library/Information Consultant &
Editor, AJN International Nursing Index
PO Box 2, 308 Kann,  Stratford, WI 54484-0002
(715)687-4976 or (715)687-2287  Fax:(715)687-4976
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