The Library Uncovered: Behind the Scenes with Collections Services

Electronic Resources & Serials Acquisitions

ERSA staff member meeting on Zoom.

ERSA Zoom Meeting 2022

Staff in Electronic Resources & Serials Acquisition acquire, process, and maintain access to print serials/periodicals and electronic resources (online journals, ebooks, databases, and more!). In 2022 we processed over $11,000,000 in invoices, while also adding new serial volumes to the catalog, prepping serials and periodicals for binding, and maintaining access to the library's online resources.

Why do I have to sign in with my NetID to access online resources?

The Library pays for electronic resources in the same way that it pays for books.  When you have a physical book, only one person can use it at a time, but for online resources, one item could be used simultaneously by thousands. For online resources, use is outlined in license agreements negotiated by Collections Services staff - for example, how many patrons can access a resource at a time or how many pages of a journal can you download in one session. Signing in with your NetID is how the publishers know that you should be granted access to the journal article through Duke’s subscription. Even if you find an article through Google, you likely still get access because of the work done in this department. Have you ever seen “Access brought to you by Duke University Libraries” on the top of a journal website? You can thank CRA staff for that!

Adam Hudnut-Beumler working at his desk at Smith Warehouse.

What’s a periodical, anyway?

A periodical is something published on a regular schedule – like newspapers and magazines, or academic journals, which come under the umbrella of “continuing resources”. Duke Libraries collects about 1,500 print periodical titles, and when new issues arrive, older issues are bound so that you can access them safely for years to come.

Shonen Jump (少年ジャンプ. Tōkyō: Shūeisha, 1900.) is a popular, long-running periodical in Japan that follows multiple serialized comics at a time. While many copies find their way to recycle bins in train stations in Japan, Duke has collected and preserved these for future comic, advertising, and publishing scholars to access through the work of staff across multiple departments.

So how does it happen?

Periodicals like these arrive at Duke from all over the world, and in all forms – from academic journals to big serialized comics like these, from Japan. We open their boxes and envelopes, check them in and stamp them before they’re accessible to patrons.

When newer issues replace older ones, the older ones are sent back to Collections Services for binding. Electronic Resources & Serials Acquisitions staff update the records in the computer, tie issues together into bundles, and send them on to the bindery staff in Resource Description, who prepare them for commercial binding off-site. Once they’re complete, bindery staff with the help of student workers will make sure they are received and routed to the right spot in the library for you to find.

Binding preserves items for years of scholars to come! Maybe you’re doing research on advertising or print culture in Japan - or maybe you just want to reach back and see the first time your favorite character appeared in print. But no matter the reason, we have them here for you, along with almost 3,000 other titles in the stacks and online.

Staff and student assistant working together at a computer.
Electronic Resources & Serials Acquisitions

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