A decade ago, the Z Smith Reynolds Library began sending older, lesser-used print journal volumes to off-site storage. In 2000, the first shipments contained volumes older than 1990. Since then, the serials landscape has changed substantially. A high percentage of the journals acquired by ZSR are now electronic, many of them electronic-only. More and more faculty members tell us that they prefer to access the journal literature electronically from their homes or offices. The old worries about the sustainability of electronic journals have largely subsided as libraries and publishers have collaborated to guarantee permanent access in such programs as LOCKSS, CLOCKSS, and Portico. Nevertheless, there is still a need to keep print journal volumes for those years for which we do not own permanent archival rights or for which the electronic version does not fully match the print copy.

I am writing today to announce that over the course of the year ZSR will begin sending another group of older, lesser-used print journals to off-site storage. Journal volumes older than 2001 have been identified to move to the university’s new storage facility, which will open later in the year and is located near the WFU baseball stadium. Faculty members may continue to request journal articles from these volumes and will receive scanned copies delivered to their desktop at no charge. Anyone who needs to see the actual print volume may make a special request. Further, we have purchased a number of electronic backfiles of selected journal titles in the past month and will soon begin removing the print equivalents from our collection.

The new storage facility will greatly enhance our ability to preserve our print collection, which has outgrown the current ZSR building. We will be using sophisticated high-density shelving of the type used by Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Duke, Texas and a handful of other major research libraries to store their lesser-used materials. The storage building is located five minutes from campus and, when renovations are finished, there will be a consultation area for faculty to examine larger runs of retrieved volumes.

It is my belief that this strategy of moving older, lesser-used print volumes to storage will actually enhance access to these materials. If you have questions about this program or its impact on journals that you consult frequently, please talk to your departmental library liaison.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!

Lynn Sutton
Dean, Z Smith Reynolds Library
July 2010