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I really like my job. I process serials. I check them into the computer, put various stickers and/or stamps on them, and distribute them to the right people. I also copy the ToC for professors so they can see what is current without having to use the paper copy or return anything.

Certain publishers are getting on my nerves, however.

I accept that there are going to be problems with student-run journals, which is the norm for law journals. Any other academic field, not so much. But there you are. I accept that journals run late; it happens.

Nonetheless.

Do you really HAVE to change the title of your journal? How does changing the title from University of whatever journal of labor relations to University of whatever journal of employee relations make a difference? At least enough to justify the aggro to catalogers and library patrons who are now lost? Libraries are by far the biggest market for these journals - you should be sucking up to us. Everyone else uses databases. Changing your title there isn't that much more useful to your readers.

I'm talking to you, University of Pennsylvania. Knock off the name changes unless your name is actively offensive or really no longer reflects the content of the journal.

Use some common sense on cover design. Give me some damn room for the stamps. If you can't leave me a margin for 3/4" sticker for your glossy, text-jammed cover, you are not doing your readers any favors either. Space is good. Don't get me wrong. I love having A ToC on the cover. Please print it on the inside, too.

By the way - an interesting sidenote on legal journals - generally, the most prestigious the journal, the cheaper it looks. Yale Law Journal, one of the oldest and most prestigious of the law journals, looks like crap. It's printed on newsprint, with a dingy looking paper cover. To look any cheaper, it would have to be mimeographed. Tier 4 journals - glossy, pretty, full photo cover. YLJ is easy to process. There is not an exact correlation, but it's right more often than not.

And a black cover with gold lettering - very declasse. And annoying, I use ink on paper covers but have to use stickers on black covers. Stop being so goth, I don't care if black and gold are your school colors. Besides, how many of us still care about school colors at this point in our careers? Just print your school logo, that's frequently done and can be unobtrusive.

Prepunching holes - please don't, unless your journal is 16 pages or less and explicitly comes with a binder. It's almost impossible to get the tattle tape in. Plus it looks lame.

Print a freaking indicia. I'm looking at you, library journals. If you can't be bothered to print your series number elsewhere, preferably conspicuously on the ToC page or the cover, it should be on the indicia. Which you really should have. I want your ISSN; with all the bloody name changes, it makes it easier to track journals down. I want dates.

And put dates on the journal! I want more than a bare issue number. A year is fine. A two-year span is fine. But put down something!

*pant* *pant*

In my perfect world, the publisher would note when they decided to skip two issues. Or, you know, publish all the issues in order.

Please try to keep the series numbers consistent. Now, admittedly this problem is far worse with comic books, but you are supposed to be highbrow academic people. You can't just start over, people are citing from these articles.

Off to class now. I hope Aardy got something out of this, at least. :)
 
 
 
 
 
 
Do you really HAVE to change the title of your journal?

Posts like this make me wish the Worst Serial Title Change of the Year award hadn't been retired. (Even if you aren't a library geek, the previous awards and the accompanying snark are worth reading.)

Also, Friendship, Easter, Mother's Day, Countryside (or Hometown), Summertime, Autumn, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are not volume numbers! (I'm looking at you, Ideals. I haven't been so happy in a long time to learn that a magazine ceased publication. Naturally, that happened just after I finally figured out which issue was which.)

an interesting sidenote on legal journals - generally, the most prestigious the journal, the cheaper it looks

That's often true for the sorts of magazines public libraries get, too, except that some look arty instead of cheap. (E.g. JAMA)

Print a freaking indicia

"Indicia" is the term used in the comic book world, but as I recently discovered when writing up some cataloging rules for comic books and graphic novels, the official librarese term for that block of info is "masthead". (Yes, even if it appears at the bottom of the very last page.)

I want your ISSN; with all the bloody name changes, it makes it easier to track journals down.

IIRC, when they change the name, they're supposed to apply for a new ISSN, too, which can really make it difficult to track the history of a journal that repeatedly radically changes its name. (And if it's a "major" change, then it gets a new bibliographic record, and may need a new checkin card or electronic checkin record and may also need to be shelved separately from the rest of the run and either have only half a year sent to the bindery or have two names on the spine of the bound back issues.

Please try to keep the series numbers consistent. Now, admittedly this problem is far worse with comic books

You mean like the times Marvel printed identical indicia (down to the publication month and issue number) in several issues of the same series? Or just forgetting how many "volumes" of Punisher there have been over the years and using "Punisher, vol. 1" for everything?

I hope Aardy got something out of this, at least.

Always. :)

Edited at 2008-02-06 10:23 pm (UTC)