Serials Processing: Sorting the Daily Mail

Purpose: Instructions for student assistant to sort, distribute and process incoming mail.

Categories: There are several categories that mail can be sorted into.

  1.  Periodicals
  2. Renewals
  3. Statements
  4. Invoices
  5.  Claims
  6. Other important notices pertaining to Serial Acquisitions
  7. Science & Engineering Center: catalogs, pub announcements, etc.
  8. Reference: catalogs, pub announcements, etc.
  9.  Mail for Serial Acquisitions Staff
  10.  Mail for Monograph Acquisitions

Procedure: Open each piece of mail and separate into the different categories listed above. Then put each pile in its appropriate location. The method for telling each category apart, and where each category goes is explained below.

Periodicals: Periodicals are magazines, journals, newspapers and newsletters. To identify, look for a volume and issue number on the cover. There are some catalogues that also have volume and issue numbers on them, so watch out for them. When done sorting, place the periodicals on the top shelf of the blue cart next to Sue’s desk.

Renewals: Generally in a letter format asking us to renew our subscription. Place subscription renewals in the inbox on Sue’s desk. Note:  Many of these standard letters are duplicates of renewals handled through our vendors.  Confirm with a search in URSUS.  Check vendor code in order record.  e.g. Ebsco vendor code is EBS.

Statements: Statements can usually be identified because they will say “Statement” or “Statement of Account” or something like that on them. They can look very similar to invoices, as they both list items we’ve ordered with prices. Place statements in appropriate bin on Sue’s desk.

Invoices: Invoices are usually labeled “Invoice” somewhere on them. Credit memos are considered invoices, and they are most often labeled. Place invoices in appropriate labeled bin on Sue’s desk.

Claims responses: Claims refer to requests for issues of journals we didn’t receive within an expected time period or for an item received damaged.  A claim can be on a distinctive printout that we send with our request for the missing/damaged item. Other times a claim may be a standardized form sent out by the company we are seeking the claim from, or it may simply be in letter form. You will have to read these carefully to get the intent of the piece. Key note into appropriate checkin record on URSUS.  If unsure of title or action to take, place in the appropriate bin on Sue’s desk.  [Note: Print claims less common as electronic claiming began @2001 with our primary vendors]

Other Important Notices: We also receive letters/announcements telling us important information regarding our subscriptions. Examples:

  • free on-line access with our print subscription;
  • new customer service representative notice;
  • delayed publication notice;
  • change in  publisher (eg. merger or takeover)

Sort and place in the appropriate bin on Sue’s desk.

The majority of the mail we receive consists of advertisements for new subscriptions or monograph titles.  These get separated by subject into two boxes: one for the Science and Engineering Center and one for Reference.

In general Items relating to Science, Engineering, Medicine, Mathematics or Nursing go to the Science and Engineering Center.  Social Sciences and Humanities titles go to Reference. The table below shows some specific subject examples and which category they go in.  When the box is close to full it should be delivered to the appropriate department.

Science & Engineering Center Reference Department
Agricultural Engineering – Bio-resource Eng. Agribusiness
Animal & Veterinary Science Anthropology
Biochemistry Art
Botany & Plant Pathology Business Administration
Chemistry Canadian Studies
Chemical Engineering Dance
Computer Science Economics
Electrical Engineering Education
Engineering Technology English
Entomology Foreign Languages
Food Science History
Geological Sciences Human Development (Child Development)
Human Development (Nutrition/Home Economics) Journalism and Mass Communication
Mathematics Music
Mechanical Engineering Philosophy
Military Science Political Science
Nursing Psychology
Oceanography Public Administration
Physics Social Work
Plant, Biology & Pathology Sociology
Quaternary Studies Speech Communication
Survey Engineering Theatre
Zoology Women’s Studies

Mail for Serial Acquisitions Staff:  If a piece of mail is addressed to someone in Serial Acquisitions put it in that person’s mailbox. Most often it will be for Sharon, but Stephanie occasionally gets mail from Bridgeport Bindery.  A lot of mail that is addressed to Sue or “Serials Acquisitions” is an advertisement or “junk” mail. Open these pieces and make sure it doesn’t belong in another category before passing to Sue.

Mail for Book Acquisitions:
Mail addressed to Book Acquisitions is often “junk” mail or advertisements. Open these pieces and check them before delivering.

“Junk” Mail to be Thrown Out: Examples include conference announcements, people asking for money for some charity or other similar things  all get thrown out.

If you have any question as to what to do with a piece of mail, ALWAYS ASK!


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