E-JASL: The Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship


Date of this Version

Fall 2003

Document Type



Electronic Journal of Academic and Special Librarianship (Fall 2003) 4(2-3). Also available at http://southernlibrarianship.icaap.org/content/v04n03/Salisbury_l01.htm.


Copyright 2003, the authors. Used by permission.



Using several variables, the University of Arkansas Libraries conducted a survey in 2002 to measure the nature and extent of journal use in the Mathematics Reading Room, the Virtual Periodicals Room and Mullins Library.

The aims of this survey were two-fold: firstly, to collect information on the current level of support for electronic-only journals to aid in collection development, and secondly, to ascertain whether a Virtual Periodicals Room is a viable alternative to the physical Reading Room for the Mathematics faculty.


It is obvious from the results of the survey that greater use is being made of the Mathematics Reading Room and the Virtual Periodicals Room than Mullins Library Periodicals Room. Faculty and graduate students are beginning to accept the use of electronic journals. The majority of faculty and graduate students agree that electronic journals access is indeed a viable alternative to the physical Mathematics Reading room. This information will certainly help us in our selection decisions when we are considering whether to buy journals in online or print formats. However, in order to satisfy the needs of faculty and researchers in this department in the short term, we continue to maintain a Mathematics Reading Room and to build the Virtual Periodicals Room. In the long term, as more journals are added to the Virtual Periodicals Room and with options to purchase electronic-only subscriptions, fewer and fewer journals will be available for housing in the Mathematics Reading Room. Of course, the added advantage to continuing to build the online collection of serials for this department is the accessibility of the full-text current and retrospective articles from their remote locations either through MathSciNet or through InfoLinks, the online catalog. The Library will also benefit because there will no longer be the need to house the current issues of these journals in another location. However, we need to be sure that when deciding on electronic-only subscriptions, that the criteria identified as being important to the users are present in the interface selected.