serial titles under the new definition. That is, in general, libraries reporting
high numbers of subscriptions tend to report high numbers of titles. Some
individual library figures may be questionable until the processes for
implementing the new definition are standardized from institution to
institution over the coming years. Overall, though, ARL is collecting serials
data from more institutions, which indicates a shift in the right direction.
Modern technologies have made information so abundantly available that
the size of a research library’s collection is no longer the primary measure of
quality that it used to be.2 The vetted, scholarly, and authoritative information
that the library provides, matched with the ability to deliver it effectively at
the appropriate time and place, is one of the key elements that makes a
research library distinct, effective, and relevant today. Being able to manage
serial titles effectively by eliminating unnecessary duplication and enabling
integration into library discovery tools is part of the process of enhancing the
library experience for faculty and students as they engage in research,
teaching, and learning. This new way of counting serials should help ARL
libraries more accurately describe their contributions in the 21st century.
1
See the ARL Statistics 2006–07 mailing materials, especially the FAQ and the instructions,
http://www.arl.org/stats/annualsurveys/arlstats/07statmail.shtml; see also the ARL Statistics Webcast:
Counting Serial Titles, December 10, 2008,
http://www.arl.org/arldocs/stats/statsevents/2008webcast/121008ARL.html.
2
Martha Kyrillidou, “Reshaping ARL Statistics to Capture the New Environment,” ARL: A Bimonthly
Report, no. 256 (February 2008): 9–11, http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/arl-br-256-stats.pdf; see also,
Martha Kyrillidou, “The Impact of Electronic Publishing on Tracking Research Library Investments in
Serials,” ARL: A Bimonthly Report, no. 249 (December 2006): 6–7,
http://www.arl.org/bm~doc/arlbr249serials.pdf.
© 2009 Association of Research Libraries
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0
United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/.
To cite this article: Kyrillidou, Martha. “ARL Statistics: Redefining Serial Counts and
Remaining Relevant in the 21st Century.” Research Library Issues: A Bimonthly Report from ARL,
CNI, and SPARC, no. 262 (February 2009): 18–20. http://www.arl.org/resources/pubs/rli/.
RLI 262 20
ARL Statistics: Redefining Serial Counts and Remaining Relevant in the 21st Century
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C O N T I N U E D
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FEBRUARY 2009 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
For more information about the ARL Statistics or to download the data files or a PDF of the publication, visit
http://www.arl.org/stats/arlstat/. To order print copies of the publication, send e-mail to ARL Publications
pubs@arl.org.
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