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The Rise in Consumerism: The Year's Work in Serials, 1990
Major issues and trends in serials management represented in the literature published during 1990 are examined. Topics covered include general works relating to serials management; discussions of the pricing crisis; publishing and scholarly communication; cancellation projects; technological developments and alternatives to print; claiming and replacement activities; acquisitions and collection development; cataloging and classification; and serials reference work. The 1990 serials literature reflects the profession's attempt to come to terms with the ongoing crisis brought on by spiraling price increases.
It is clear that we have been in a period of "rising consumerism" for at least the past three years. By this statement I mean, among other things, that we as librarians have been working hard to become better consumers - to learn more about the system of journal publishing and purchasing to which we are so closely tied. 
This declaration from a recent article by Becky Lenzini characterizes the overriding theme of the 1990 serials literature. The overpowering influence of the serials pricing crisis has forced those involved in serials management to look beyond the symptoms and begin searching for the underlying causes of their predicament. The range of publications reviewed in this article reflects the search for answers to our deepening dilemma.
Most works published in 1990 were reviewed, although a few 1990 journal issues that appeared in early 1991 were not available for examination. Focus was restricted primarily to the literature from the United States; publications dealing with non-U.S. libraries or issues have for the most part been excluded. Although articles on pricing issues and the scholarly communication process have begun to surface in the literature of other disciplines, time and space considerations precluded a review of works outside the library and information science field.
Two significant compilations of essays appeared in 1990. Volume 3 of Advances in Serials Management is highly recommended reading for all serials specialists and for any librarian wanting to gain insight into the publication, control, and use of serials. Editors Cook and Tuttle have assembled contributions on a wide range of topics. Most noteworthy is the chapter by Dean on serials binding, which includes illustrated descriptions of present binding practices and a brief but useful glossary. Gorman and Associates' Technical Services Today and Tomorrow examines past, present, and future trends in technical services work. While discussion of serials is not the central focus here, there is much of relevance to serials librarians, such as Kruger's chapter on serials acquisitions.
Several continuing sources of information on serials should also be noted. Clack and Riddick's "Balance Point" column, which appears regularly in Serials Review, aims at presenting balanced viewpoints on a wide range of thought-provoking topics. In addition to covering current activities of the North American Serials Interest Group, The NASIG Newsletter frequently reports on conferences and meetings of interest to serials librarians. The ALA Yearbook of Library and Information Services offers an annual overview of issues in serials librarianship; the 1990 essay, which covers events from the previous year, is written by Houbeck. For a detailed examination of 1989 serials literature, see the review article by Susan Davis.
The Serials Pricing Crisis
While blatant examples of "publisher bashing" are becoming less frequent that in the recent past, the ongoing serials-pricing crisis continues to take center stage in the literature. In an insightful summary of current publishing and pricing trends, Lenzini states that developments revolve around two major issues: the growth in the number of manuscripts and in the number of journal titles being published and the concomitant growth in journal prices. Pascarelli suggests ways in which librarians can wield their considerable economic power with the publishing industry. Bebensee, Strauch, and Strauch apply econometrics and the concept of elasticity of demand to an examination of publisher behavior in setting journal prices. Douglas examines Peter Drucker's vision of entrepreneurship management for its applicability in addressing the unsettling changes libraries are presently experiencing. Byrd maintains that the twin crisis of spiraling growth and prices of scholarly journals are indicative of a "distorted economic marketplace." Libraries' growing reliance on technological solutions might enable them to handle larger volumes of information at lower unit costs, but this strategy fails to address the underlying pattern of overproduction and overconsumption.
Careful analysis of price statistics is gaining tantamount importance in the struggle to maintain adequate serials budgets. Hamaker and Grinell compare publisher volume growth with concurrent price increases to support their contention that publishers can and do control production rates, and Lynden reviews standard sources of data on both serial and monographic prices. Young and Carpenter produce the 1990 U.S. periodicals price index, which appears annually in Library Journal, and Clack analyzes price increases for U.S. serials services. The periodicals survey indicates that over the past four years the library materials price index has increased annually at a rate two and a half times that of the consumer price index, proof that periodical prices are continuing their relentless upward trend. Young also identifies patterns and trends in Faxon's annual comparative study of domestic and foreign journal prices for the period 1988-90. Anderson surveys price trends for veterinary science journals, and Sap offers a breakdown of core mathematics journals into domestic versus foreign and commercial versus nonprofit categories.
Two ongoing sources of information have arisen in response to the burgeoning interest in pricing issues. The electronically produced Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues, edited by Tuttle, along with Ivins' "Serials Prices" column in Serials Review, serves a vital role as current awareness services on this hot topic.
Publishing and Scholarly
The rise in consumerism has also led to closer scrutiny of the publishing industry and scholarly communication process. Papers from two professional meetings that addressed these topics were published in 1990. Presentations from the Seminar of the Future of the Scholarly Journal, held in 1988 at Chapel Hill, were reproduced in a 1990 issue of Library Acquisitions: Practice & Theory (LAPT). Taking a publisher's perspective, Hunter (B) predicts that the crisis will have a negative impact on the current awareness function of the scholarly journal, but that the print format will continue to exist. Conversely, Rice foresees the extinction of the point journal in favor of online publication databases created and maintained by universities. Hatcher, Thomas, and Thyfault also see great promise in electronic knowledge dissemination but warn that paper is here to stay until adequate computer technology is available to all researchers. Addressing the complex economic aspects of a move to electronic information delivery, Kaser nevertheless suggests that scientists will demand journals in electronic format. Although publishers and librarians are not in agreement on the scholarly journal's fate, this dialogue reveals two recurring themes: that economic constraints will force libraries to emphasize access over ownership and that electronic technology eventually will transform the knowledge dissemination process.
LAPT also published papers from "Publish or Perish: The Future of Journal Collections is Libraries," a program at the 1989 American Library Association (ALA) annual conference in Dallas. Stankus (B) submits that librarians excel at inventory control but fail miserably in the customer satisfaction department. He proposes the cultivation of stronger alliances with faculty, who are the real revenue generators in the scholarly communication equation. Hunter (A) returns to the theme of technological advances, stating that advances in identification, retrieval, and document-delivery systems are of paramount importance in designing a new economic model for information dissemination. The establishment of a university copyright policy, …