Research Tools - Fall 1995

BACKSERV—The Missing Issues Solution

One of the problems we constantly face in the Serials Department is missing back issues of journals. These issues can be missing for several reasons. Some are mutilated by patrons; other issues are never received in the first place; other issues just seem to sprout legs and walk through the Library's gates undetected. Although the back issues of some journal titles are eventually replaced by microfilm, others are needed for binding. One of the ways to obtain these missing back issues is by using BACKSERV.
BACKSERV is an Internet LISTSERV devoted exclusively to the informal exchange of serials hack issues and books among libraries. This list provides a forum. for the listing of both available and desired serials issues and books in all subject areas. It is meant as a communication vehicle for librarians and library staff offering or seeking back issues of serial titles or books.
We have been subscribing to BACKSERV since April and receive on average between 15 to 20 messages each day from libraries all over the world. Most of the libraries offer the journals for free except for postage. With this service we have been able to fill in many of our missing journal gaps; once we even received a whole volume of an out of print journal. In return, we have sent our duplicate issues to other libraries in need. Since we communicate with the other libraries through the Internet rather than "snail mail" it only takes seconds to reach them.
The satisfaction that the Serials Department gets from this free service is tremendous. Our missing back issues can be filled more efficiently so the collection of journals stays as complete as possible. Also knowing that we are helping other libraries fill their collections boosts our spirits as well. Through modern technology BACKSERV improves our serials service capabilities.
Jane Wang
Pride, Passion, Promise: Experience Our Jesuit Tradition