Oh you really do mean complete like "complete publication run"? Very few of our journal holdings are "complete" in that sense, they are definitely in the minority. We start getting something after issue 1, or stop getting it before the last issue. Or stop and then start again.

Is this really unusual?

If all you've figured out is the "complete publication run" of a journal, and are assuming your library holds it... wait, how is this something you need for any actual use case?

My use case is trying to figure out IF we have a particular volume/issue, and ideally, if so, what shelf is it located on. If I'm just going to deal with journals we have the complete publication history of, I don't have a problem anymore, because the answer will always be "yes", that's a very simple algorithm, "print yes", heh. So, yes, if you assume only holdings of complete publication histories, the problem does get very easy.

Incidentally, if anyone is looking for a schema and transmission format for actual _structured_ holdings information, that's flexible enough for idiosyncratic publication histories and holdings, but still structured enough to actually be machine-actionable... I still can't recommend Onix Serial Holdings highly enough! I don't think it gets much use, probably because most of our systems simply don't _have_ this structured information, most of our staff interfaces don't provide reasonably efficient interfaces for entering, etc. But if you can get the other pieces and just need a schema and representation format, Onix Serial Holdings is nice!


Kyle Banerjee wrote:
On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 10:13 AM, Jonathan Rochkind <rochk...@jhu.edu>wrote:

I'm not sure what you mean by "complete" holdings? The library holds the
entire run of the journal from the first issue printed to the last/current?
Or just holdings that dont' include "missing" statements?

Obviously, there has to  some sort of holdings statement -- I'm presuming
that something reasonably accurate is available. If there is no summary
holdings statement, items aren't inventoried, but holdings are believed to
be incomplete, there's not much to work with.

As far as retrospectively getting data up to scratch in the case of
 hopeless situations, there are paths that make sense. For instance,
retrospectively inventorying serials may be insane. However, from circ and
ILL data, you should know which titles are actually consulted the most. Get
those ones in shape first and work backwards.

In a major academic library, it may be the case that some titles are *never*
handled, but that doesn't cause problems if no one wants them. For low use
resources, it can make more sense to just handle things manually.

Perhaps other institutions have more easily parseable holdings data (or even
holdings data stored in structured form in the ILS) than mine.  For mine,
even holdings that don't include "missing" are not feasibly reliably
parseable, I've tried.

Note that you can get structured holdings data from sources other than the
library catalog -- if you know what's missing.

Sounds like your situation is particularly challenging. But there are gains
worth chasing. Service issues aside, problems like these raise existential

If we do an inadequate job of providing access, patrons will just turn to
subscription databases and no one will even care about what we do or even if
we're still around. Most major academic libraries never got their entire
card collection in the online catalog. Patrons don't use that stuff anymore,
and almost no one cares (even among librarians). It would be a mistake to
think this can't happen again.


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