SERIALST (Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum) was established in October 1990, by Birdie MacLennan, with technical support from the Office of Academic Computing at the University of Vermont (UVM), in order to serve as an informal electronic forum for most aspects of serials processing in libraries. In 2014, SERIALST moved to NASIG and is now under the management of the Communications Committee (CC). SERIALST's subscriber base is currently at 3,200+ subscribers in 42 countries.

To subscribe to SERIALST, send an email to that contains only the following in the body of the message:

To post to the list, email your message

To unsubscribe from SERIALST, send a blank email to SERIALST-signoff-request@LISTSERV.NASIG.ORG

If you have any trouble subscribing/posting/unsubscribing, contact the CC.

This list is moderated, which means that any message sent to SERIALST will automatically be forwarded to the CC listmanagers for verification before being distributed to the rest of the SERIALST subscribers. Only subscribers of SERIALST with current email addresses can transmit messages to the list, however the message archives (since Oct. 1990) are publicly accessible.


Appropriate topics and activities for posting include, but are not limited to:

  • Serials in relation to libraries (e.g., cataloging, acquisitions, collection management, public services, etc.)
  • Problem-solving for resolving questions that evolve with quirky titles, irregular publications or publication patterns, etc.
  • Serials budgets and pricing concerns.
  • Binding, preservation, microfilm, digital (or electronic) and other non print serials media.
  • Union list activities
  • Announcements, news, and job postings that are of interest to the serials community. 

Inappropriate topics and activities for posting include, but are not limited to:

  • Purely commercial or partisan political purposes such as posting advertising for products or for political candidates
  • Spam or any kind of mass mailing that lacks connection to the focus of SERIALST
  • Using SERIALST as a forum for the trade or exchange of duplicate, unwanted or wanted serials. There are several existing forums for back issues and exchange services on the Internet.
  • Announcements of new journals, newsletters and/or tables of contents for existing journals. There is an existing forum for such announcements. See the NewJour website ( for additional information.

It is SERIALST's policy not to delete messages that were appropriately posted  to the list from archives.


SERIALST also includes the Commercial Digest which is a compilation of messages with informational content that are sent to SERIALST from publishers, vendors, and other colleagues working in the commercial sector. The Digest is compiled by the SERIALST moderators and posted once a week -- usually on Fridays. The moderators reserve the right to reject messages that are purely for advertising or product/service solicitation.  If there is little or no informational content beyond the solicitation, the message will not be included.  The Commercial Digest began as a year-long pilot project in June 2008. Feedback from SERIALST subscribers about the Digest has been generally favorable, so the moderators continue to maintain it as a regular weekly service to SERIALST.


Please read messages carefully for appropriate addresses before automatically sending your reply. Note that when you "reply" directly to a SERIALST message, you are usually (but not always) replying back to the list, and not necessarily to the individual who sent the message. While we make every attempt to screen messages carefully, we cannot take responsibility for forwarding replies intended for individuals to the appropriate person. Please take care in your responses. Make sure that replies not intended for the list are directed to the appropriate address.


SERIALST's policy toward cross-posting of messages from other lists is generally fine as long as the cross-posted message is from the original author of the message. However, we will forward other people's messages only if we have the permission of the original author of the message -- unless the message is obviously very public and intended for cross-posting (as in general library or networking news messages that are important, timely, and relevant to the subscribership). If you want to post someone else's message to SERIALST, please get their permission before you send it to the list.


The web interface to SERIALST allows for browsing or searching the archives. Users may also subscribe or unsubscribe from SERIALST, as well as manage mail settings (ex., nomail, digest) from the Subscribers Corner. Follow the help screens and prompts to establish a password and manage your SERIALST subscription from the web.

You can also use commands sent to the listserv to manage your subscription. To make changes to your SERIALST subscription, send any of the following commands in the body of an otherwise blank message to 

  • SUBSCRIBE SERIALST YourFirstName YourLastName - This command subscribes you to SERIALST.
  • UNSUBSCRIBE SERIALST - This command unsubscribes you from SERIALST.
  • SET SERIALST MAIL - This command allows you to receive individual mail messages as they are posted to the list. This is the default setting for all users.
  • SET SERIALST NOMAIL - This command allows you to stop list mail from being delivered to your address.
  • SET SERIALST MAIL - This command allows you to resume mail being delivered to your address.
  • SET SERIALST DIGEST - This command allows you to receive weekly digests of all messages posted to the list; does NOT support HTML or special character formatting (2500 line limit).
  • SET SERIALST MIME DIGEST - This command allows you to receive weekly digests of all messages posted to the list in MIME format (email system must be able to handle MIME format). Try this setting if there is lots of code in your regular digest.
  • SET SERIALST HTML DIGEST - This command allows you to receive weekly digests in HTML format. Clicking on a subject in the table of contents takes you down to the relevant message or messages in the index. Clicking on any of the messages will then take you to the message in question. Try this setting if there is lots of code in your regular digest.
  • SET SERIALST INDEX - This command allows you to receive weekly index summaries of mail posted to the list.


NASIG offers SERIALST as a public service. It does not verify the accuracy of submitted messages, nor does it endorse opinions expressed by contributors to the SERIALST forum. Authors of messages to SERIALST are solely responsible for their content. The moderators reserve the right to reject postings that do not fall within the scope and purpose of the list. 


For more information about the legacy of SERIALST founder, Birdie MacLennan, visit the University of Vermont's Bailey/Howe Library Website and the ALA  Memorial Resolution Honoring Birdie MacLennan.

For more information about the history of SERIALST, see the article: SERIALST and the Global Serials Community: The Five Year Evolution of an Electronic Discussion Forum (NEW ADDRESS). Originally published in Serials Review 22, no. 3 (fall 1996), and self-archived on the web server at the University of Vermont, this article chronicles the first five years of the SERIALST discussion forum.The Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues, was edited and published by Marcia Tuttle at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, from February 27, 1989 to August 12, 2001. For a ten year period, from 1991 to 2001, SERIALST benefited from a collaborative and complementary relationship with the Newsletter whereby selected postings from SERIALST, related to serials pricing, also appeared in the Newsletter and/or issues raised in the Newsletter were discussed on SERIALST. The Newsletter ceased publication with issue no. 257 (Aug. 12, 2001), however its archives remain available for consultation via the library server at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill (



  • ALIAdupstm - a list devoted the exchange of journal duplicate and back issues between Australian libraries in the areas of Science, Technology and Medicine. Both available and desired issues may be posted to the list. The list address is: To subscribe, visit the web site: For general information about ALIAdupstm and other electronic mailing lists from ALIA, see ALIA E-lists (listing of public e-lists).  


  • Canadian Book Exchange Centre (CBEC) / Centre canadien d'échange du livre (CCEL) - A resource-sharing service provided by Library and Archives Canada, CBEC is a redistribution centre, a clearing house that arranges for the exchange of publications deemed surplus by one library but needed by another. However, as of March 6, 2008, the Canadian Book Exchange Centre announced that it will no longer accept publications from the private sector or from government and international organizations for redistribution among libraries. In effect, the Centre will shut its doors permanently on June 30, 2008. See announcementinenglish or en français.


  • backmed-exchange- The backmed-exchange email list is hosted by the Medical Library Association to allow medical libraries to post and exchange back issues of medical journals. This is a replacement list for the former backmed list hosted by Swets Information Services in the US.
  • EUROBACK- archives and list devoted to the informal exchange of serials back issues and books among European libraries / archives et liste réservées exclusivement à l'échange volontaire de fascicules de périodiques et de livres entre bibliothèques européennes. (The list address is: To subscribe, visit the web site:

 United Kingdom

  • LIS-MEDJOURNAL-DUPLICATES- a list for duplicate Medical/Health sciences journal exchanges to facilitate journal exchange primarily between U.K. medical libraries (although it is open to overseas subscribers also), by allowing periodicals librarians to post lists of journal duplicates and wants. Sign on, manage subscriptions, send posts, search the archives from a central web page address:

United States

  • Donation Programs for Books, Journals, and Media - listing of resources from the Health Sciences Library at the University of Buffalo.
  • ALA/ALCTS Duplicates Exchange Union (DEU) - Operating under the auspices of the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, a division of the American Library Association, the Duplicates Exchange Union (DEU) is an association of libraries who cooperate in the exchange of usable library material. Although composed primarily of small college and public libraries, the DEU aims to serve all libraries in finding a place for their duplicate or unwanted materials. DEU is a free service open to all libraries.
  • National Library of Medicine (NLM) Journal Donation Program - to ensure that its holdings of journals, indexes, and other serials are as complete as possible, NLM instituted this program so that DOCLINE libraries can donate print volumes that they no longer wish to retain. For more information see