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Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
Spring 2001

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[Refereed]

Characterization of Unique Serials Indexed in the Zoological Record

Janet Hughes
Biological Sciences Librarian
The Pennsylvania State University
University Libraries
jah@psulias.psu.edu

Introduction

Biological Abstracts (BA), published by the BIOSIS organization, is generally considered to be the premiere life sciences database available (Wyatt 1997, Davis and Schmidt 1995, Biological Abstracts web page 1998). It indexes nearly 6,000 international journals in virtually every life sciences discipline, including: agriculture, biochemistry, biotechnology, botany, ecology, environment, microbiology, neurology, pharmacology, public health, veterinary medicine, virology and zoology. Its companion, Biological Abstracts/Reports, Reviews and Meetings (BA/RRM), provides access to meetings, symposia, proceedings, workshops, editorials, review articles, noncritical reviews of books, book chapters and software, and U.S. patents related to the life sciences. Together these indexes comprise the BIOSIS Previews database.

Zoological Record (ZR), published jointly by the Zoological Society of London and BIOSIS, is the authoritative and most comprehensive source of zoological information (Zoological Record web page 1998). It covers nearly 6,000 international journals, review annuals, newsletters, popular magazines, monographs, meeting proceedings, books and reports. The coverage represents research in all major areas of zoology, including: behavior, ecology, evolution, genetics, habitat, nutrition, parasitology, reproduction, and zoogeography, although it is best known for its coverage of systematics, taxonomy, and nomenclature.

In the Life Sciences Library at the Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), BA in print is available from 1926 to date, and on a web server from 1985 to date. BA/RRM in print is offered from 1965 (called Bioresearch Index at that time) until 1996. Access to ZR in print is offered from 1864 to 1995. There are other life science CD-ROM and online databases and print indexes to complement these resources, such as MEDLINE, Agricola, CAB Abstracts, Wildlife Worldwide, Environmental Sciences Database, Aquatic Sciences and Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA) and Science Citation Index (SCI).

Despite the seemingly ample coverage of biological information, some Penn State zoologists feel that the cancellation of ZR in 1995 deprived them of access to much of their literature. ZR in print is divided into 27 separate books comprising general references, references to new generic and subgeneric names, and then 25 groupings of animals, from protozoa to mammalia. Although highly indexed, it is difficult to use and unintuitive. Consequently, students avoided using ZR whenever possible, and only a few faculty used ZR each year. The decision to cancel ZR, although not easy, was facilitated by the realization that none of the Life Sciences Librarians had referred a single patron to ZR in the previous year, and that the students who shelved ZR could not recall more than three or four occasions when they re-shelved the volumes per year. There were some misgivings about the loss of access to certain zoological literature, but for the most part, no one questioned the cancellation of ZR until late 1997. At that point a new zoology professor joined the faculty and began requesting the re-instatement of ZR, not just in print, but also on CD-ROM. Since ZR in print is nearly $3,000 per year, and the CD-ROM costs $12,000 for the back-file and over $2,000 for the subscription, re-instatement is unlikely.

In order to address the concerns of this professor, inquiries were made to determine the extent to which the lack of ZR would deprive him of access to zoological literature. An inquiry to BIOSIS to determine the extent of overlap between BIOSIS Previews and ZR yielded only the reply that 36% of journals covered in ZR are covered in BIOSIS Previews and that no list exists which indicates which journals are covered by one or the other publication or both (Zanger 1998). A review of the literature found a 1989 article in which a broad-based analysis of coverage differences between BIOSIS Previews and ZR, based on organism classifications, was done (Chisman 1989). In that study, manual and online searching of BIOSIS Previews and ZR was done to determine how many unique items would be missed if ZR were not searched. Depending on the ZR section considered, 30% to 75% of references in ZR were also found in BIOSIS Previews. That means that anywhere from 25% to 70% of the ZR references were unique, and would have been missed if ZR were not searched. These results indicate that, for some topics, the lack of ZR would seem to greatly hinder a comprehensive search.

However, the 1989 study did not attempt to find whether these unique references were for journals that are indexed in other life sciences databases, such as MEDLINE, CAB Abstracts, Agricola, Wildlife Worldwide, Environmental Sciences Database, ASFA or SCI. If the unique ZR references were indexed by these other databases, then it could be argued that a comprehensive zoological search could still be conducted despite the absence of ZR.

Further, the 1989 study did not characterize the nature of the unique ZR references. If these unique items were primarily from books or proceedings, they could be accessed easily through other resources such as catalogs. If the unique items were from non-scholarly publications, their value for comprehensive research could be diminished. If the unique items were from subject areas in which Penn State does little research, their value to Penn State researchers would be suspect. If most unique items are found to be in one subject area, it could be argued that re-instatement of only that section of ZR in print is necessary. If the unique items were in languages other than English, their usefulness to undergraduates and casual users might be diminished. If many of the unique journals are not at Penn State, it might be argued that providing access to such citations through ZR would only frustrate casual users, because Inter-Library Loan (ILL), while available, is often too slow to be useful, and if the unique reference were articles from obscure or difficult to locate journals, then even serious researchers would be stymied anyway. On the other hand, if a large number of journals, especially journals owned by Penn State, are found to be absolutely unique to ZR, it could be argued that ZR should be re-instated to provide access to such literature. Therefore, a better judgment on the future of ZR could be made after characterizing the journals unique to ZR.

Thus characterization of the unique references is necessary to fully understand the value of such references to a comprehensive literature search. Therefore, a study was conducted to characterize the sources of references found in ZR that are not found in BIOSIS Previews.

Methodology

Characterization of the references found in ZR but not found in BIOSIS Previews required several steps. Zoological Record does not have a computerized listing of the serials indexed in the database. Therefore, a search in ZR online was done in early summer of 1999 when a test of SilverPlatter ERL based databases was being conducted. An index search of the 1998 ZR CD-ROM was performed to get the list of International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSNs) that are in the database, including the number of hits attributed to each ISSN. After minor word processing, the list was imported into a Microsoft Access database.

BIOSIS Previews was also available as a test ERL database. However, the ISSNs are not neatly isolated in a separate index, as in ZR. Therefore, extracting these ISSNs required going through the general index and pulling out those numbers that follow the ISSN format (XXXX-YYYY). Any such number that had less than 10 hits was checked to see if it did in fact correspond to an ISSN, because randomly checking a few such numbers with only one or two hits found that some measurements could also be input in that format. However, in no instance were non-ISSN numbers that followed the XXXX-YYYY format found that had more that three hits. Therefore, numbers following the ISSN format that had more than 10 hits were accepted without checking their validity.

The BIOSIS ISSN list was imported into Microsoft Access first, followed by the ZR list so that those available in both BIOSIS and ZR could be eliminated. The ISSNs found in BIOSIS but not in ZR were extracted and put into a separate file, leaving only those unique ISSNs found in ZR but not in BIOSIS.

It was hoped the next step would be to use the test databases to find the unique journal titles, languages, and topics. However, there were numerous problems with the ERL server and the test was ended prematurely. Only some of the titles and other information were retrieved before the test ended. It was necessary to turn to other databases to retrieve this information. The unique ISSNs were checked against Ulrich's International Periodicals Directory, 35th Edition, to find titles, language, and basic topic categories. The unique ISSNs were also searched in WorldCat and entries were found for most, although some were records for single books in the series, and many had to be found by extensive searching using keywords in the titles because no ISSNs were in the WorldCat records or the ISSNs from ZR differed from those in WorldCat.

Subject headings used in Ulrich's were assigned to most journals. If a title was found in both Ulrich's and WorldCat, and had differing subject headings applied by the two databases, the more specific subject heading was applied. For example, the journal Archives of Natural History was placed under "Science" in Ulrich's, but under "Natural History" in WorldCat, so it ended up being placed under "Biology-Natural History. Ulrich's was also used to determine the level of authority, that is, whether titles were refereed and/or classed as academic/scholarly, or whether titles were classed as non-scholarly bulletins, newsletters, trade publications or consumer publications.

There were some titles that could not be found in either Ulrich's or WorldCat. For those, either online ZR searches were conducted, or the information was gathered when the author was able to gain access to the 1998 ZR CD-ROM at another university.

When the titles for the unique ISSNs were examined, several titles seemed perplexing, because they were found to be in BIOSIS, e.g., Proceedings of The Royal Society Of London Series B Biological Sciences, Acta Hydrobiologia, and Evolutionary Biology. More titles that are still indexed in BIOSIS were discovered, so it became necessary to check titles of so-called unique ZR journals, rather than just ISSNs, against BIOSIS Serial Sources, Volume 1999. Also, publication dates for a percentage of titles were checked to see if there were problems with time lag in indexing. After validation, more titles still indexed by BIOSIS were eliminated from the database. In the results and discussion section, the reasons for the discrepancy will be noted.

The subject headings given by Ulrich's and WorldCat for the unique titles were examined. It was noted that many were titles in geology, entomology and wildlife. Unique journal titles were compared against serial lists for commonly available databases, such as CAB Abstracts, Wildlife Worldwide, and GeoRef, to see if these journals could be easily accessed using other databases accessible in the Life Sciences Library. GeoRef was used to account for the geology titles. CAB was used for the agriculture and entomology journals and was preferred over Agricola due to its international coverage. A comparison of overlap between Wildlife Review, a component of Wildlife Worldwide, and ZR had been conducted in 1996 (Chisman and Brekke 1996) and had shown that for some subjects, there was considerable overlap in the two databases. Thus it was hoped that some of the unique wildlife, especially zoology and ornithology, journal titles in ZR would be found in Wildlife Worldwide.

A recent study comparing Cambridge Scientific Abstracts' Biological Sciences Collection to BIOSIS (Jatkevicius 2000) showed that the latter was much more comprehensive than the former. However, enough of the unique ZR titles were in ecology and environmental sciences to warrant also briefly examining the serials lists for other less common databases, such as Environmental Sciences Database and ASFA. To account for general science titles, the titles list for the Web of Science (WOS), which contains SCI, Social Sciences Citation Index, and the Arts and Humanities Citation Index, was also briefly examined.

Finally the unique ZR ISSNs and/or titles were searched in the online catalog for Penn State, The CAT, to determine whether Penn State owns such journals, and unique titles were compared against the title lists for UnCover, to see if such items would be available for document delivery.

Problems and Caveats

ISSNs were chosen for comparison to avoid problems in transliteration of foreign titles, especially titles with Cyrillic characters, between the various databases. Variations in transliterations can make searching for the same journal title difficult between databases. For example, German vowels with umlauts are transliterated to add an extra "e" after the vowel in ZR, but are given as the plain vowel in WorldCat. That is, the word "für" becomes "fuer" in ZR, but becomes "fur" in WorldCat. Also, using ISSNs avoided having to try all variations of titles in which words are likely to be transposed, such as "Journal of the Tennessee Academy of Sciences," which could also be listed as "Tennessee Academy of Sciences. Journal."

It must be acknowledged that some of the publications ZR monitors do not have ISSNs. Such publications are often books, dissertations, and conference proceedings and can be accessed through other databases, such as the Penn State catalog (The CAT), Books in Print, RLIN, PapersFirst and Dissertation Abstracts. These publications were not included in this study. There were some journals in ZR that lacked ISSNs, though, and these might be included in a later study through a manual comparison of BIOSIS Serial Sources, and Zoological Record Serial Sources, which list the serial publications indexed in the respective databases.

The versions of ZR and BIOSIS Previews studied are only one-year (1998) subsets of the databases. Therefore, any publications normally indexed by ZR or BIOSIS Previews that were not indexed in 1998 were missed. To get the ISSNs for all years of ZR and BIOSIS Preview would require a prohibitively expensive search of these databases online through a service such as DIALOG. For example, a search in ZR in which about 150 ISSNs were copied cost over $15. This study will only examined the unique titles in ZR that were indexed in 1998.

The serials lists for some of the other databases checked were not restricted to only those publications indexed in 1998 because the databases do not allow limiting their serials lists by update code. Therefore, it is possible that some titles noted in these lists were not indexed in 1998. Random checks of publication dates revealed very few titles where citations to articles published in years other than 1997 or 1998 (and presumably indexed in 1998) were found. When such titles were found, they were listed as being not indexed by the databases.

Finally, both ZR and BIOSIS do not necessarily index all journals cover-to-cover, so even if both index a journal, the articles actually cited might differ.

Results and Discussion

Using the ISSN index on the 1998 ZR CD-ROM, a total of 2,801 ISSNs (responsible for 66,226 articles/hits) were obtained. In the 1998 BIOSIS CD-ROM, the general index was scanned to extract potential ISSNs, that is, numbers that followed the ISSN format of XXXX-YYYY. After checking all such numbers that had less than 10 hits to ensure these were in fact ISSNs, 4,024 ISSNs were obtained (equal to 505.966 hits). After the ISSNs were imported into Microsoft Access, de-duped, and ISSNs found in BIOSIS but not in ZR were extracted, there were 1,721 "unique" ZR ISSNs, that is, ISSNs that would be found in ZR but not in BIOSIS.

The unique ZR ISSNs were then searched in ZR, and later in WorldCat and Ulrich's, as discussed in the methodology, to obtain journal titles, language, and subject headings. Only about 870 of the ISSNs or titles were found in Ulrich's. In WorldCat, over 1,465 journal entries were found, although about 70 of those were for single books from series and not series records themselves, and about 230 had to be found via extensive title word searching because they lacked ISSNs in WorldCat, or the ISSNs in WorldCat differed from those in ZR.

A problem was quickly evident. Some of the so-called "unique" ZR ISSNs were for titles that BIOSIS still indexes. The titles included Proceedings of the Royal Society of London Series B Biological Sciences, Acta Hydrobiologia, Evolutionary Biology, and others. In order to determine why these ISSNs were not found in BIOSIS as expected, all the "unique" ZR ISSNs were examined.

Some of the ISSNs used in ZR were found to be incorrect or outdated. For example, the ISSN for Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B. Biological Sciences being used in ZR was the ISSN that had been superseded in 1990. BIOSIS was using the correct ISSN, and so no match had been found in ZR. At least seven other "unique" ZR ISSNs were found to be incorrect and when the titles were checked against BIOSIS Serial Sources, Volume 1999, they were listed as still being indexed by BIOSIS and were therefore not unique to ZR. A further 16 were found to have incorrect ISSNs, and 16 had outdated ISSNs, but these titles were not still being indexed BIOSIS, even under their correct and updated ISSNs, and so were kept in the database.

Some ISSNs in ZR were for ceased journals that BIOSIS had indexed in the past. The ZR citations in journals such as Lozania, Dana, and Nucleic Acids Symposium Series were for articles several years old that had been indexed in BIOSIS in the years they were published. Six other "unique" ZR ISSNs were eliminated because they were for ceased journals that BIOSIS had indexed in the past. A few more were for ceased titles that were never indexed by BIOSIS, so these titles were retained in the database.

Because this lag in indexing journals was noted for ceased journals, more of the citations to "unique" ZR ISSNs were examined for publication dates. Some of them were irregular publications that were published several years ago, and were indexed in BIOSIS at that time, but did not get indexed in ZR until 1998. These included titles such as Bird Populations (newest article indexed in ZR was published in 1994), and Research Bulletin of the Panjab University Science (newest article published in 1995).

When some "unique" ZR ISSNs were searched in ZR and limited to update year 1998 and publication year 1998, it was found that many citations were actually several years out of date but were not added to the database until 1998. Out of 690 records checked, 587 had update codes of 1998 but the publication years were not 1998. About 209 citations were published in 1997, but some were even as old as 1992 (Malayan Forest Record). This delay in indexing in ZR probably explains many of the discrepancies noted. Thus journals such as Biology of the Cell, Histochemistry and Cell Biology, Receptors and Signal Transduction, and Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology, Part B. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, which BIOSIS still claims to index, were eliminated as unique ZR titles.

After eliminating these problem titles, there were 1,545 unique ZR ISSNs left. Approximately 55% of the journals found in ZR were not found in BIOSIS. The 1,545 titles gave access to 22,477 articles (hits) in 38 languages and in 66 subject areas.

Of the 1,545 unique ZR titles, 739 were found in Ulrich's. In WorldCat, 1,306 of these titles were found, although 181 were found in WorldCat by title, because the WorldCat records lacked ISSNs, and a further 32 had different or updated ISSNs in WorldCat. After all the unique ZR ISSNs had titles, language and subject headings assigned, these categories were examined.

Subjects Covered by the Unique ZR Titles

When the subject headings were examined, there were some very strange topics noted, such as architecture, art, antiques, business, Oriental studies and museums. There were not many unique journals in these topics, though, and presumably there were some zoology-related articles found in these mostly humanities-related journals. There were also a few journals on paleontology, history, and archeology. There was a preponderance of journals related to geology and earth sciences, possibly for information on the fossil record.

The three main topics evident were: geology/earth sciences; agriculture, especially environmental issues and entomology; and wildlife topics, especially natural history, zoology, and ornithology. General science was also well represented. See Table 1 for the breakdown of subject headings.

Access to Unique Items through Other Life Sciences Databases

To see if any of these unique ZR titles could be found in other common databases available to our patrons, the unique journal titles were compared against serial lists for CAB Abstracts, Wildlife Worldwide, and GeoRef. In CAB, 258 of the unique ZR titles were found; 396 were found in GeoRef. Checking Wildlife Worldwide found 234 titles of the unique ZR titles, (and an additional 178 that seemed to at one time have been covered but no current citations were seen). Eliminating those journals left 768 unique ZR titles that could not be found in BIOSIS or the three other databases checked.

Several topics in which there were only a few journals, such as animal welfare, computers, outdoor life and physiology were eliminated. Some topics were reduced significantly. Geology went from 151 journals down to 20 journals, thanks to GeoRef. Agriculture went from 46 journals to 9 journals. Despite some major reductions in the numbers of journals in some topics, there was still a preponderance of natural history, entomology, ornithology and zoology titles. See Table 2 for the breakdown of subject headings after filtering out those found in Wildlife Worldwide, CAB and GeoRef.

After filtering out the titles found in Wildlife Worldwide, CAB and GeoRef, there were still a large number of general science, environmental science, and fisheries and oceanography titles remaining, in addition to the preponderance of natural history, entomology, ornithology and zoology titles. In order to see if these numbers could be reduced further, the serials lists for three less common databases, ASFA, Environmental Sciences Database, and the Web of Science, were briefly examined. Environmental Sciences Database covered 231 of the unique ZR titles, ASFA contained 277 of the titles, and WOS contained 113 titles. After filtering out these titles, there were 654 unique ZR titles left.

These three less common databases did not do much to reduce the overall number of unique ZR titles. However, certain subjects did get reduced. Checking ASFA reduced the number of unique fisheries titles from 54 to 25, and WOS helped to winnow the science titles from 46 to 34. Despite all the cross-checking against other databases, though, the subjects of entomology, ornithology, zoology and natural history remained prevalent. Thus it appears that comprehensive searches in those subjects do require ZR. However, it might only be necessary to re-instate three parts of ZR in print, comprehensive zoology, insecta (all parts), and aves, to address these subjects adequately. Thus it is probably not necessary to have the entire ZR collection or database in order to have fairly comprehensive coverage in all the areas concerned.

To see the topics breakdown after filtering out the titles found in ASFA, Environmental Sciences Database and WOS, see Table 3.

Characterization of Unique Items

Unique ZR items consisted mostly of journals. Only 85 of the 1,545 unique ZR items were proceedings, and 287 monographic series, including 28 with proceedings, were found, for a total of 344 unique ZR items (16%) that were non-journal items. The prevalence of journals should probably be expected since ISSNs were used to find the unique items. Therefore, most of the unique ZR items in this study could not be found simply by use of catalogs. The use of the six other life sciences databases to eliminate items that could be found in other sources did not significantly increase the percentage of unique items that could be found in catalogs.

Only about half of the unique ZR items, 739, were found in Ulrich's. Of these, only 180 (24%) were refereed although 370 (50%) were considered academic/scholarly. The rest consisted of bulletins, newsletters, trade publications, consumer publications and publications where no assessment of the academic level was given. For the unique items that could be assessed using Ulrich's, the scholarly level is low making the use of Ulrich's to determine scholarly level problematic. Using the six other life sciences databases to eliminate items that could be accessed elsewhere leaves 71 items considered academic/scholarly (10%). For certain disciplines, such as ornithology, many non-scholarly birding journals are frequently cited, and therefore, non-scholarly items may be necessary for research. The value to undergraduates may be increased since non-scholarly items might be more readable for non-specialists. Thus, no real assessment of the value of the unique ZR items to all users could be made based solely on perceived scholarly levels. However, scholarly level of unique items could be a contributing factor in determining the value of the access ZR provides, especially if the intended audience were researchers in disciplines for which non-scholarly publications are not widely used.

Languages of Unique ZR Journals

Of the 1,545 unique ZR titles, approximately 782 (51%) were in languages other than English, although some had certain articles in English. See Table 4 for the breakdown of languages.

After filtering out the journals found in Wildlife Worldwide, CAB and GeoRef, there was no significant change in the ratio of English to non-English titles. Neither was there much change seen in the ratio after secondary filtering to exclude titles found in ASFA, Environmental Sciences Database and WOS. See Tables 5 and 6 for the breakdown of languages after these filters.

The prevalence of foreign language journals among the unique ZR titles might prove a barrier to some users such as undergraduates and casual users. Undergraduates and casual users are less likely to be able to use non-English articles and are usually not willing to pay for translations of non-English articles. Thus journals in languages other than English might be of less use to them. If such users are considered to be an important audience for the database, the value of ZR for making citations in unique titles accessible is diminished. However, if the database is intended to serve primarily researchers, for whom the abundance of non-English journals may not pose a problem, then ZR remains viable as a means to access unique journals especially for the topics of entomology, ornithology, zoology and natural history. There is one caveat, though: non-English titles are generally more difficult to obtain through document delivery and ILL, and so access may be stymied even for serious researchers.

Access to Unique ZR Titles

Of the 1,545 unique titles, 126 of the unique titles were subscribed to by Penn State (one was canceled in 1999). There were five more pending subscriptions or subscriptions that started after these data were initially collected for a total of 131 unique ZR titles owned by Penn State. That leaves 1,414 titles not subscribed to by Penn State, although 95 were once subscribed to but were canceled prior to 1998, and for two monographic series, Penn State owns one book in the series.

Of the 126 journals with unique ZR citations that Penn State owned in 1998, only 15 were not found in the three main other databases searched, and only 11 were not found in the six databases searched. Of these, six were easily found in other databases available at Penn State, such as Anthropological Literature, America History and Life, and ProceedingsFirst. Of the remainder, one was a monographic series, one was a news service, one was in Japanese, one was in Afrikaans, and the last had only six citations. Thus, there were very few journals that Penn State owns that could not be found in other databases at Penn State. Lack of access to ZR does not seriously hamper access to the journals owned by Penn State.

For the 1,414 unique titles not subscribed to by Penn State, Inter-Library Loan (ILL) would be necessary to obtain copies. The first method generally used to obtain journal articles is to use a document delivery service, such as UnCover. Recently, a patron-initiated document delivery system using UnCover has been established at Penn State. There were 211 of the unique ZR titles indexed in UnCover, 114 of these do not allow document delivery. Also 20 of the 97 that do allow document delivery are not current, with most current issues ranging from 1993-1997. Finally, 62 of the titles available for document delivery from UnCover are titles that Penn State owns, such that Uncover could only be used to provide access to 25 of the unique ZR titles not owned by Penn State. The first method of obtaining articles from unique ZR titles not owned by Penn State would be relatively useless.

The second avenue used to fill ILL requests would be to do traditional ILL, using WorldCat to identify potential library sources for articles. However 239 of the 1,414 titles not owned by Penn State were not found in WorldCat, an additional 181 were only found through extensive searching because they lacked ISSNs in WorldCat, and a further 32 had different ISSNs in WorldCat. Therefore, it would be very difficult to obtain these 452 titles for ILL using WorldCat. Furthermore, WorldCat only listed books in 70 monographic series, without a series record itself, such that obtaining the particular volume desired could be difficult for these titles. Therefore for 522 of the 1,414 unique titles (37%) not owned at Penn State, access via traditional ILL would be quite difficult.

With the first two avenues of obtaining articles being difficult or impossible for at least 37% of the unique ZR sources, researchers wanting articles from such journals would have to accept long delays while potential sources for such articles could be located. For undergraduates and casual users, such delays may not be acceptable.

Conclusions

Over 55% of the items found in ZR were not found in BIOSIS. Many of these items were found in other life sciences databases; however, articles in 654 titles were completely unique to ZR. The 1,545 unique ZR titles not found in BIOSIS consisted mostly of journals, as would be expected since ISSNs were used to identify titles.

The titles could be classed into 66 subject headings, with the subject headings with the most journals being ornithology, entomology, geology, natural history, science and zoology. Using other life sciences databases such as CAB, GeoRef and Wildlife Worldwide reduced the number of unique ZR items to 768, and eliminated geology as a top subject. Top subjects became entomology, ornithology, natural history, zoology, fisheries and science. Using three more less common life sciences databases, ASFA, Environmental Sciences Database and WOS reduced the unique items to 654 titles. Top subjects remained entomology, ornithology, natural history, zoology and science.

Penn State does research in all these subjects, especially entomology, and therefore there seems to be a need for ZR in order to do comprehensive searches in those subjects. It may be possible to make do without the whole ZR, and just re-instate three of the print sections: comprehensive zoology, insecta and aves. Before such re-instatement would be done, further investigation into the actual use by faculty of the unique ZR items must be conducted to determine whether they truly need access to these unique items. This could be accomplished by several means, such as studying Penn State citations to see if these items were cited recently, or by examining ILL records to see if such items had been requested (since over 90% of the unique items were not at Penn State), or by surveying the faculty to determine their perceived need for these unique items.

Of the items that could be assessed for scholarly level, only 50% were considered academic by Ulrich's. When the items that could be accessed through other life sciences databases were eliminated, the percentage of scholarly items dropped to 10%. However, because some disciplines, such as entomology, ornithology and zoology, can rely on non-scholarly publications, and because undergraduates and casual users may find non-scholarly articles easier to use, the prevalence of non-scholarly publications may not be a deterrent. If a survey of the faculty were done, they might be questioned on whether the scholarly level of the title is a factor in its use.

The fact that half the unique ZR items were in languages other than English may deter some undergraduates. However, this would probably not be a problem for researchers, although foreign language titles are harder to obtain through ILL.

ILL is the real sticking point locally. Only 131 (8%) of the unique titles were owned by Penn State. Of those owned titles, most could be accessed through other databases such that the lack of ZR would not hamper access to journals owned by Penn State. However, to gain access to the other 92% of the unique titles, document delivery or ILL would be required. The usual method of document delivery, using UnCover, would not work for these unique items since only 25 of them (about 1.6%) could be obtained using UnCover. Traditional ILL, which relies on WorldCat, would be stymied for about 522 of the titles (37%). Therefore, there would be long delays gaining access to articles from such titles. This would be a major problem for most undergraduates, who represent a large portion of the potential users of the database. The delays in ILL could also be a problem even for researchers. Again, if the faculty were surveyed, they could be questioned on whether they would consider this a factor against the use of such unique items.

In conclusion, Zoological Record could be useful for access to articles in the main three subjects of entomology, ornithology and zoology. However, further investigations as to whether scholarly level, language, and difficulty in obtaining such articles would mitigate the usefulness of access to these unique titles would have to be conducted before any further consideration of re-instatement of any part of ZR.

Finally, it is hoped that other institutions, which may be contemplating subscriptions to ZR, may find the data presented herein useful in their considerations also. For the full list of unique ZR titles, with notations concerning numbers of hits, date of last published article, availability in other databases, language, and the rest of the accompanying data, please see {http://www.libraries.psu.edu/crsweb/lifesci/zr/uniquezr1.html}.

References

Biological Abstracts Web Page. 1997. [Online]. Available: {http://scientific.thomson.com/products/ba/} [May 10, 2001].

Chisman, Janet K. 1989. "Zoological Record, Biological Abstracts and Biological Abstracts/RRM: a Comparison of Overlap." RQ 29 (Winter 1989): 242-247.

Chisman, Janet K. and Brekke, Elaine. 1996. "Comparing Coverage in 2 Indexes: Wildlife Review and Zoological Record." Wildlife Society Bulletin 24(1): 149-153.

Davis, Elisabeth B. and Schmidt, Diane. 1995. "Abstracts and Indexes," in Using the Biological Literature: a Practical Guide p. 74. New York: Marcel Dekker.

Jatkevicius, James. 2000. "Biological Sciences Databases in Academic Libraries." EContent 23(1): 055-59.

Wyatt, H.V. 1997. "Major Secondary Services Including CD-ROMs," in Information Sources in the Life Sciences (edited by H.V. Wyatt), p. 76. London: Bowker-Saur.

Zanger, Carla. 1998. BIOSIS Customer Service, Personal Communication E-mail.

Zoological Record Web Page. 1998. [Online]. Available: {http://scientific.thomson.com/products/zr/}. [May 10, 2001].

Tables

Table 1: Subjects covered by unique items in Zoological Record
Subject Headings # Journals # Hits
Agriculture 46 301
Agriculture-Crops/Soils 27 507
Agriculture-Poultry/Livestock 3 6
Animal Welfare 2 11
Anthropology 8 78
Antiques 1 23
Archeology 12 78
Architecture 1 11
Art 1 2
Beverages 1 1
Biochemistry 3 5
Biology 75 1103
Biology-Botany 25 145
Biology-Ecology 24 289
Biology-Marine Biology 9 93
Biology-Natural History 140 1675
Biophysics 1 8
Business 3 6
Chemistry 5 87
Computers 1 1
Conservation 41 664
Cytology 1 5
Earth Sciences 21 170
Education 2 32
Energy 1 6
Engineering 1 2
Entomology 167 3478
Environmental 26 262
Fisheries 63 864
Forestry 26 250
General 1 16
Genetics 3 159
Geography 5 19
Geology 151 1357
Geophysics 1 5
History 6 21
Hobbies 1 35
Horticulture 2 3
Hydrology 6 168
Mathematics 2 22
Medical 19 169
Meteorology 1 26
Microbiology 10 186
Microscopy 1 15
Mining 1 3
Museums 13 69
Oceanography 50 581
Oriental Studies 3 12
Ornithology 169 3588
Outdoor Life 2 77
Paleontology 47 553
Petroleum 1 4
Pets 1 21
Pharmacology 1 1
Physiology 1 10
Pollution 3 149
Psychology 1 1
Science 112 896
Toxicology 2 30
Transportation 1 1
Veterinary 22 295
Water Resources 3 41
Zoology 96 2456
Zoology-Herpetology 26 654
Zoology-Malacology 28 443
Zoology-Mammalogy 16 228
TOTALS 1545 22477

Table 2: Subjects covered by unique items in Zoological Record after eliminating items found in CAB, GeoRef and Wildlife Worldwide
Subject Headings # Journals # Hits
Agriculture 9 62
Agriculture-Crops/Soils 7 225
Anthropology 4 58
Antiques 1 23
Archeology 8 53
Art 1 2
Biochemistry 1 1
Biology 39 452
Biology-Botany 17 94
Biology-Ecology 14 114
Biology-Marine Biology 7 53
Biology-Natural History 80 961
Biophysics 1 8
Business 2 5
Chemistry 3 76
Conservation 20 329
Earth Sciences 5 16
Entomology 120 2275
Environmental 15 114
Fisheries 51 589
Forestry 7 40
General 1 16
Genetics 2 156
Geology 20 87
History 5 18
Horticulture 1 1
Hydrology 4 117
Mathematics 2 22
Medical 10 75
Meteorology 1 26
Microbiology 1 44
Microscopy 1 15
Museums 7 41
Oceanography 23 239
Oriental Studies 3 12
Ornithology 89 1542
Paleontology 12 139
Pets 1 21
Pharmacology 1 1
Pollution 2 32
Psychology 1 1
Science 45 302
Toxicology 1 16
Veterinary 5 42
Water Resources 1 17
Zoology 64 855
Zoology-Herpetology 15 273
Zoology-Malacology 26 423
Zoology-Mammalogy 12 154
TOTALS 768 10237

Table 3: Subjects covered by unique items in Zoological Record after eliminating items found in CAB, GeoRef, Wildlife Worldwide, ASFA, WOS and Environmental Sciences Database
Subject Headings # Journals # Hits
Agriculture 9 62
Agriculture-Crops/Soils 7 225
Anthropology 3 31
Antiques 1 23
Archeology 8 53
Art 1 2
Biochemistry 1 1
Biology 32 362
Biology-Botany 13 70
Biology-Ecology 13 107
Biology-Marine Biology 3 13
Biology-Natural History 75 865
Biophysics 1 8
Business 2 5
Chemistry 1 35
Conservation 19 322
Earth Sciences 4 15
Entomology 112 2082
Environmental 14 113
Fisheries 25 321
Forestry 7 40
General 1 16
Genetics 1 150
Geology 20 87
History 4 14
Horticulture 1 1
Hydrology 2 6
Medical 7 19
Microbiology 1 44
Microscopy 1 15
Museums 5 24
Oceanography 11 90
Oriental Studies 3 12
Ornithology 89 1542
Paleontology 12 139
Pets 1 21
Pollution 2 32
Psychology 1 1
Science 34 217
Veterinary 5 42
Zoology 54 748
Zoology-Herpetology 14 253
Zoology-Malacology 24 390
Zoology-Mammalogy 10 140
TOTALS 654 8758

Table 4: Languages of unique titles in Zoological Record
Languages # Journals # Hits
Afrikaans 2 7
Arabic 2 28
Bengali 1 21
Bulgarian 5 63
Catalan 8 103
Chinese 70 1222
Croatian 1 7
Czech 11 184
Danish 6 73
Dutch 30 474
English 762 11152
Estonian 1 4
Farsi 2 17
Finnish 5 72
French 99 1319
German 199 3392
Greek 1 85
Hebrew 1 5
Hungarian 8 168
Icelandic 3 22
Italian 44 593
Japanese 65 909
Korean 2 8
Lithuanian 2 23
Malay 1 27
Multilingual 4 39
Norwegian 8 35
Polish 23 300
Portuguese 28 272
Romanian 4 41
Russian 27 340
Serbo-Croat 10 86
Slovak 2 60
Slovenian 5 139
Spanish 83 1028
Swedish 11 95
Thai 1 13
Turkish 5 33
Ukrainian 3 18
TOTALS 1545 22477

Table 5: Languages of unique titles in Zoological Record after eliminating items found in CAB, GeoRef and Wildlife Worldwide
Language # Journals # Hits
Afrikaans 1 4
Bulgarian 4 53
Catalan 7 95
Chinese 30 358
Croatian 1 7
Czech 7 127
Danish 6 73
Dutch 22 346
English 373 4552
Farsi 1 3
Finnish 3 62
French 47 729
German 103 1655
Greek 1 85
Hungarian 1 82
Icelandic 2 5
Italian 21 205
Japanese 45 721
Korean 1 1
Lithuanian 1 20
Malay 1 27
Multilingual 2 5
Norwegian 3 14
Polish 8 66
Portuguese 14 133
Romanian 3 31
Russian 12 105
Serbo-Croat 7 58
Slovak 1 32
Slovenian 2 121
Spanish 29 431
Swedish 5 8
Thai 1 13
Turkish 2 4
Ukrainian 1 6
TOTALS 768 10237

Table 6: Languages of unique titles in Zoological Record after eliminating items found in CAB, GeoRef, Wildlife Worldwide, ASFA, WOS and Environmental Sciences Database
Language # Journals # Hits
Afrikaans 1 4
Bulgarian 3 43
Catalan 7 95
Chinese 24 277
Croatian 1 7
Czech 6 83
Danish 6 73
Dutch 22 346
English 318 3895
Farsi 1 3
Finnish 3 62
French 41 636
German 91 1445
Hungarian 1 82
Icelandic 2 5
Italian 17 130
Japanese 39 685
Korean 1 1
Lithuanian 1 20
Malay 1 27
Multilingual 2 5
Norwegian 3 14
Polish 7 64
Portuguese 7 85
Romanian 3 31
Russian 9 63
Serbo-Croat 6 54
Slovak 1 32
Slovenian 2 121
Spanish 20 340
Swedish 4 7
Thai 1 13
Turkish 2 4
Ukrainian 1 6
TOTALS 654 8758

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