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Questions and Answers: Journal Deselection

Are books being weeded from the collection?
No.  We are not weeding books from the collection, only selected journal back volumes. We are beginning a withdrawal project for research journals only that will provide growth for among other things, book space we desperately need for future additions to our collection.
What are you discarding?
We are recycling back volumes of certain scientific and research journals, being careful to only discard volumes with permanent digital access.
They are being withdrawn because our print journal holdings are incomplete compared to recent purchases of e-journal or digital archives.85% of the scholarly journal titles we hold in paper areincomplete, lacking volumes, issues and often missing important individual articles.  We will increase valuable shelf space while enabling enhanced access to important content. 
What kinds of journals are Not going to be removed?
Heavily illustrated popular magazines are not appropriate candidates for backfile withdrawal from our collections. Regional titles are not being withdrawn. We anticipate this current project will remove fewer than 10% of the bound volumes from the shelves.
Why Digital?
Since 1997 Atkins Library has been adding electronic journal subscriptions to its services for the campus and community. In 1998 we had 5,000 print journals. Because of the switch to electronic formats, we now receive fewer than 1000 current subscriptions in print format. Today we have about 42,000 electronic journals. Journal publishers normally provide a price differential for moving to electronic only.  Several have also offered digital subscription packages that include all or most of the titles they publish, (a practice that has had significant advantages for UNC-Charlotte). Our digital or e-journals across all disciplines are the most heavily used resources the library provides to the campus community.  This decision to replace print versions with digital saves money, space and staffing and e-journals are more easily accessible for research.
Why Now and What?
Last year we made significant progress in acquiring digital access to backfiles of e-journals. It was the culmination of a process that has been ongoing and supported by the campus. Among the digital archives that have been purchased are the following: The American Chemical Society, Elsevier, ISI Journal Citation Indexes, The Royal Society of Chemistry, Springer Verlag, The American Institute of Physics, Sage, Wiley and Blackwell (selected subjects purchased), Annual Reviews, The Institute of Physics and others.
Will this continue?
As the library has funds, we will continue adding appropriate digital backfiles of journals.   If they meet safeguards for digital archiving, print volumes will be considered for withdrawal.
Are these digital archives safe?
The files we have purchased which will replace print volumes are also being archived internationally. In case of failure of the publisher to provide access, U.S. based and international archives will become the source for the publisher content. The archival institutions guaranteeing the publisher content we have purchased are:   CLOCKSS Archive, e-Depot, Global LOCKSS Network, HathiTrust, and Portico.  Atkins library is investigating establishing its own LOCKSS box, a digital archiving system supported by Stanford University Libraries and other major institutions.
How can I find out which print journals are being withdrawn?
As each set of the print journal volumes are prepared for discard, we will post the complete list of titles and volumes we are de-accessioning on the library’s website along with the electronic archival list of the discarded journals. We are establishing a webpage with the titles arranged by publisher. The first list we have prepared is from Elsevier’s Science Direct database, which will permit us to withdraw over 6,800 print journal volumes.
Can I have the journal volumes you are discarding?
We are forbidden by state policies from giving state property to individuals.

Do other libraries need or want these journal backfiles?
Only state institutions are eligible for state surplus property. Several of the state institutions we are aware of with research journal collections are either de-accessioning print or placing backfiles of print journal volumes in offsite storage. The Triangle research libraries are actively placing a copy of these types of titles in journal backfiles storage to serve as a backup for maintaining a state based copy.  Smaller libraries indicate they don’t have space for these back runs. They would prefer the digital too!
Aren’t these valuable, can’t they be sold?
The market for print backfiles of journals has collapsed over the last several years, and there are few if any organizations that will accept them for redistribution. Most of the journal backfile vendors have gone out of business because of the availability of electronic archives. The market demand for print journal backfiles except for antiquarian and specialty serials is nonexistent. 
What if I disagree with withdrawing a specific title?
The main areas we are concerned about, and hope you will help us identify are titles that might have important photographic illustrations in them that do not reproduce well in the PDF format. Please contact us to discuss such titles: Chuck Hamaker:  or Stanley Wilder, University Librarian:
Research Preferences for digital access
Our experience and the experience of many research collections is that access to digital scholarly journals increases use because students and scholars prefer digital materials for the convenience of access from anywhere, anytime. Upon accessing these files, the ease in the ability to search, print, download, or otherwise use and store gives them real advantages over their print counterparts. This results in enhanced use of expensive research intensive resources. 

Click here for the complete listing of deselected journal backfiles. INote updates will be added as deselection continues.