Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Background: Though inevitable in retrospect, our move to electronic-only was just beginning when August 29th, 2005 happened, Hurricane Katrina. The original list of a mere five electronic titles was already a radical departure from our print tradition. The slow transition to electronic became a wholesale transformation practically overnight. The specter of our print journal collection still loomed and had far-reaching effects for years to come. In the fifteen years since, there are many things we wish we knew and lessons were learned the hard way, resulting in radical changes to our journal selection processes.

Description: Just as our journal collection went through seismic shifts in the past fifteen years, so has the serials world. Waiting on the delivery of unbound issues and compiled indices has yielded to preprint articles and decades of citations at one’s fingertips, prioritizing selection of online journals. For others this move was gradual, but we had to do it at a moment’s notice. Although one natural disaster had permanent effects on all aspects of our serials collection, we were also challenged by unique external influences, internal battles, and shifting philosophies. Along the way there have been struggles, a few missteps, and quite a few lessons learned. This poster will illustrate our first seemingly overnight move from print to electronic and the continuing transition to online since then. It will also describe the highlights and lowlights of our journey.

Conclusion: Our story, although in some ways quite unique, offers lessons for all types of health sciences libraries. There are many factors that influence and guide the move of a journal collection from print to electronic and, regardless of how it starts, challenges are experienced at all stages and in many unexpected ways. The poster will include not only the statistics of our transition to electronic serials, but also criteria for electronic selection and retention.


Medical Library Association (MLA) Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA, May 5, 2022

File Format


File Size

915 KB