StaffGuide: Serials Receiving & Processing

Serials Receiving & Processing StaffGuide Home Page




When checking in a standing order, the invoice must at that time be notated and given to the Serials Acquisitions Manager before check-in. 



Some invoices arrive with the item in the same package, but some will arrive separate from the item either in a small, letter envelope or e-mail. Separate invoices go to the Serials Acquisitions Manager first and are then placed in the Serials Receiving Specialist's inbox. Here are some guidelines to follow:

  • The Serials Acquisitions Manager will date and initial the invoice with the date it arrives. If 10 business days elapse after receiving the invoice and not the item or vice-versa, let the Serials Acquisitions Manager know. 
  • When receiving an item without the invoice, place it on an easy-to-find place on your shelf with a post-it indicating the date received. Go to the item’s check-in record box in Sierra and put “@serials:(initials) (d/i)” in the public note, then “awaiting invoice (d/i)” in the staff note.

Awaiting invoice notes

  • If desired, check to see if there is a tracking number for the shipment (the Serials Acquisitions Manager may have one and the publisher/vendor may be able to provide you with one through their website or customer service). Most standing order packages arrive via UPS, and will therefore have a scheduled delivery date. If the item is shown as having been delivered but you didn’t receive it, check with the monograph Acquisitions department and/or Shipping & Receiving and notify the Serials Acquisitions Manager.
  • Retain all packaging until after the item is checked in, at which point any packaging materials can be recycled or discarded.


***Use black, red, and blue extra fine pens for all notations on the invoice (further instructions on which pen to use for what piece of info to follow).***

Invoice pens

  1. Verify that the shipment contains the item we are expecting and is intended for the Serials Department (verify address on packaging and accompanying documentation, that the issue is expected in the journal’s check-in card, etc.).
  2. Some invoices have a perforated portion that will need to be detached and sent back with the payment (this is a separate procedure carried out by the business office after the invoice goes to the Serials Acquisitions Manager). Please do not write on this portion. 
  3. Although invoices often have space constraints, try as much as possible not to cover any characters when underlining.
  4. With your black pen, put your date & initials somewhere towards the upper right of the invoice, preferably above the box with shipment info. Then, place a checkmark next to the quantity shipped of the item.
  5. If the invoice and shipment contain multiple items that are being paid for via the same invoice, if there is room, draw a line between each item’s info with your black pen, creating a space for each item so you can clearly notate each separately.
  6. In black, write the following items on the invoice, if they are not on it already (***Please write legibly***):
    1. Series title (ideally the exact journal title in Sierra for easy searchability, but if an adequate abbreviation or shortened version is already on the invoice, it will suffice).
    2. Order record number (including the .o at the beginning). Note that these are often already on the invoice without the .o (please add).
    3. Volume/issue number or date. Please follow the pattern in the order record payment history. For example, for this title, you would write v.101 based on the pattern:Order record payment history volume info pattern
    4. Provided there is room, try not to make any of these notations under or too close to any price info on the invoice. 
  7. Underline the series title with your black extra fine pen.
  8. Underline the order record number with your blue extra fine pen.
  9. Underline the volume/issue number or date TWICE with your red extra fine pen.
  10. After checking the item in, place the invoice in the Serials Acquisitions Manager’s inbox.

Here is an example of what a notated invoice should look like:

notated invoice


Please be careful that it’s the INVOICE you’re notating, not the PACKING SLIP (which often looks like an invoice). As stated above, invoices will sometimes arrive separately, but others will arrive along with the item in the package and any other documentation. These other forms of documentation can be misleading because they have a lot of the same characteristics as an invoice, such as an itemized list of materials and at times even an invoice number, but are not the official invoice that we need to notate to pay for the item.

A good way to distinguish invoices is to look for price info (if it doesn’t have the total price owed and a means of paying it, it’s not the invoice). See the example below. This document is almost identical to an invoice, only it says "packing slip," whereas the invoice would say "invoice," and there is no payable price under "total" column:

packing slip (not an invoice)