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Stack Management-Marston Science Library

Periodical Shifting

Shifting is designed to allow for growth. Space is allocated to allow a certain number of years to fit on a shelf for a particular title. How much space is needed for a title to fit comfortably depends on how frequently and how large the issues are. For instance, if you want to add 5 years for growth space, you can determine the amount of extra space by looking at previous years. Five years, 2014 to 2018, may occupy two shelves. So it is obvious that you will need at least two shelves for additional growth.

Note: When recording how many inches each series takes up, make sure to separate how much space it currently takes up and how much space it needs. Do not lump these into one number. You will need them for separate purposes later.

Some titles may not grow at all; they are canceled. This could be because the library no longer subscribes to that title or that title has gone out of print. Ask the Stack Management Supervisor for the current status of titles. You may be able to include these changes when planning a shift. Titles considered canceled will not need any additional space. If a canceled title only occupies part of a shelf, do not hesitate to start a new title on the same shelf, regardless of if this new title is canceled or growing. You may find that there are several canceled titles one after another. These too can occupy the same shelf.

Canceled or Growing?

Canceled titles will not have recent new issues. However, some do resume subscription, meaning the library will resume receiving issues a few years later and sometimes acquire the missing years. For example, a title may end in 2015 but then we start receiving issues of the current year. The library may complete the title by backordering the issues from 2015 to present. This is not that common though.

Growing titles are easy to identify because they have current issues. But some do take longer to receive such as titles from other countries. We may only have these issues until 2018 but they are expected to grow. Before shifting, you will need to identify potentially growing titles and mark that area with a flag denoting how many inches of grown space to leave between titles. 

More and more titles will fall into the "canceled" category as more switch to only electronic access. This will free up space on the shelves.

Recording Your Measurements

First have a report run of all Periodical titles in Marston Science Library. 

  1. Create a spreadsheet which includes
    • List of titles
    • Found in MSL (Yes/No)
    • Current Space
    • Estimate Future Space
  2. Mark all titles that are found on the floor you are shifting on.
  3. Record the amount of space currently occupied and the amount of space needed for 5 years growth.  Use the periodical planning chart below as an example.

If you are not able to run a list of titles in MSL, use the Periodical Planning Chart form at the bottom of this box for recording your space. The first two lines have been filled in as examples

On this form, you are recording

  1. Call Number
  2. Amount of Space the series currently takes up in inches
  3. Estimate for Growth- This should be based on how much space the past x- number of years you are planning for (usually 5), have taken up. Make sure you plan for the same number of years for every series. For titles that are no longer growing this number will be 0, or simply write an X through the box to indicate that the title is canceled.

Determining Your Space

  • The first step in making a shifting plan is to determine the amount of space you have. To do this for periodicals you

    1. Add up the total number of inches currently taken by series on the floor (this does not include your growth estimates, but should be done at the same time that you record your growth estimates). This process will take a while as there will be many pages of numbers to add up. Make sure to double check your work as these numbers will affect every other part of the shift.

    2. Add up the total number of inches estimated for growth, for 1 year and 5 years.

    3. Add up the total number of inches of shelving available for the materials to be housed on (measure one shelf and multiply).

    4. Subtract: Current Shelf Space- Current Inches= Amount Available for Growth (Another option to determine your total space available for growth is to measure all of the empty space on the shelves, you can also use this as a check of your math of steps 1-3.)

    5. Determine if your Amount Available for Growth is more, less, or about the same as your Estimate for Growth for 5 years by subtracting

      • Amount Available for Growth - Estimate for 5 years' Growth = Extra for Growth

    6. If it is about the same, Congratulations! You magically have just enough room to complete your shift.

    7. If it is more, Congratulations! You have space to work with. Now you need to determine how much more. Do you have enough to allow another year of growth room for all titles? To determine this, see if the amount of inches needed for the extra year is more or less than the amount you calculated as Extra for Growth. Only add another year of growth room if your Extra for Growth amount is greater than the amount calculated for the One Year Estimate. You always want to give yourself a little room for error, too.

    8. If it is less, you have to determine how much less. Do you have enough room for 4 years of growth, 3, 2, only 1? To determine this multiply your Estimated Growth for one year by the number of years you hope to leave room for and go down by one year at a time until your amount available for growth is greater than your Growth Estimate for x years. This will give you the number of years of growth room you have room to plan for.

  • What to do with the extra shelves not accounted for by your Estimated Growth Number?

    • Use remaining shelves in areas seeing rapid growth. You should have been able to identify these areas as you were measuring for your shift. These are the areas that will most likely go over your estimate for growth. By leaving blank shelves in these areas it will allow the areas to be adjusted with small shifts in the future without the need to shift the whole floor.

    • You can also leave a certain number of blank shelves every few rows.  This will allow for smaller shifts later if sections become crowded, rather than needing another shift of the entire floor.

Planning Your Shift

The shift plan is a grid system. Grids files are located in bottom of this box. In each box of the grid you write down the first call number and volume that will be housed on that shelf. You then follow in the next box will the first call number on this shelf. You continue this going from left to right, top to bottom. When you are done you should have one sheet per row for every row to be shifted.

You determine what call number will go on each shelf by measuring 35.5 inches and accounting for growth space. Therefore if the first series is 20 inches long and needs 20 inches of growth space, you would start the next series on the next shelf. You would then account for 4.5 inches being taken up by the growth room for that series on the next shelf and add the amount of room the next series needs and continue on from there. You do not need to indicate that a shelf starts with growth room, only indicate the first call number and volume on each shelf. The growth room will then be there once the shelves are shifted.

The process of making a shifting plan is very detailed and when you are done ANYONE should be able to determine where the books should be placed.

Implementing Your Shift

This part of the process should require the least amount of thought. Once your shifting grid is complete you should be able to begin shifting. The key to starting this process is to figure out where the majority of your space is and start shifting on that end. If you start where you will run out of space quickly you will need to house some materials elsewhere while completing the shift on that section. Try to make sure that materials are displaced for the shortest amount of time possible. There is usually some point near the middle of every shift where books need to be placed on carts to wait for shelves to free up. Don't worry, this is normal.

As you go along it is sometimes helpful to go down a row and pull out the first book of each shelf slightly so that you do not have to consistently refer to the grid as you are actively moving books. Make sure not to forget growth shelves where necessary!

One other quirk of shifting is the approximately 2 rows of extra space that appear towards the end of every shift. This is very common and do not feel that you planned poorly if this happens. No matter how well you plan this seems to happen to everyone. You should be happy that you have more space to work with rather than less. These extra shelves can be distributed evenly throughout your shifting error. 

Shifting Notes:

  • Keep growth moving forward. Most titles are situated so that the addition of volumes is added at the end of the title. Do not shift the title back to make room. Also remember that some titles are situated so that they run into another title on the next shelf. Just make sure that the growth moves forward.

Finishing Touches

End Panel Labels

The last step (and a step that should be taken as you are going along) is making end panel labels so that is easy to identify what call number range is located down each aisle.

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