StaffGuide: Receiving & Processing

Basic Claims Information

Claiming includes:

  • Claiming issues skipped or not yet received
  • Claiming damaged/defective issues
  • Locating back volumes as necessary
  • Investigating necessary information regarding frequenciespublication schedules, supplements, cover date and enumeration changes, vendor changes, publication cessations, etc.
    • Please note that information regarding these processes will also need to be passed onto the Serials Processing Specialist to perform necessary card maintenance and enter instructions for pending changes. Follow the links above for more information on these processes and how to recognize when they come into effect.


Claiming becomes necessary as a result of human as well as mechanical errors in the processing of orders and payment, incorrect address information, missed mail, check-in errors, etc….

Paid claims are sent to a vendor or publisher. Generally, vendors are companies who deal directly with publishers and handle our subscriptions for us (like Otto Harrassowitz or Ebsco). In some cases, such as John Wiley & Sons, the publisher may also be the vendor.

Claims may be made on many different order types, such as standing orders, subscriptions, package/combination orders, and memberships. Sometimes, it will be necessary to consult with the Serials Acquisitions Manager before claiming issues that have not yet been paid for or will need to be paid for.  

  • +++++When replacing an issue that won't be replaced for free and requires payment for any reason, always consult the Accounts Payable Manager. Never contact anyone regarding replacement without the Accounts Payable Manager's approval!!+++++ If approval has been granted from the Serials Acquisitions Manager, consider the following: when attempting to replace out-of-print issues or back-volumes, often it is best to check with the publisher first for the price and availability of the issue unless, of course, the reason the issue is in replacement is that it was no longer available from the publisher.Other possibilities include Backserv, Absolute-Inc, USBE, Ebsco Missing Copy Bank, Jaeger, Ebay,, and Swets.In addition, the internet offers many back issue sites that may be helpful (

How & When to Claim

Claim lists should be run every week.The lists should be run to locate issues that have reached their “claim-on” dates, as specified by their title’s parameters, and therefore need to be reviewed for claiming.Lists are made separately for our largest vendors.One list is made for Harrassowitz and one list is made for Ebsco.All other paid claims are lumped together in a Miscellaneous claims list.

You can report skipped issues on the Claims Trello board for issues that were skipped and need to be monitored for a specified time period before making a claiming decision.

See the "vendor claims" page for additional guidance on when to claim EBSCO and HARR titles.

There are 4 ways to make paid claims to vendors or publishers:

  1. Electronic claims (through vendor/publisher websites)
  2. Emails
  3. Phone/Fax
  4. Special Letters

1st & 2nd claims:

  • If it is a Harrassowitz or Ebsco title it should be claimed using the Fokus or Ebsconet websites respectively.
  • Limited Retention issues are only claimed twice before being made “Unavailable”. It is important to claim these issues early (popular and high frequency titles sometimes fall under this category). If claimed twice and still not received, change the box status to “Unavailable” and add a brief note explaining the unsuccessful claims in the staff note. Popular titles sometimes show up in the EBSCO Missing Copy Bank, which is a good, user-friendly option that allows you to order a copy made available for free with a couple clicks if a normal claim isn’t working.

                    - OR -

  • Email.  Email on paid titles is used only for miscellaneous titles (non-Ebsco/Harrassowitz), for smaller vendors/standing orders, or special cases when you might need to contact Harrassowitz customer service or the EBSCO Customer Service Representative.
  • If there is no email address or website easily visible, check the order record for vendor information.
  • If a phone number is provided, you may prefer to use that method of claiming.Be sure to get the name of the person you speak with and their extension number.
  • Occasionally, a social media contact is a good option.

3rd & 4th claims

  • Harrassowitz Claims: On the FOKUS platform, mark Harrassowitz claims as urgent and, if desired, note in the comment field the number of claims and lack of response.
  • Ebsco claims: Indicate the claim number and note lack of response in the "comments to publisher." You can also directly contact the EBSCO customer rep if multiple attempts through the electronic system don’t produce results.
  • Miscellaneous claims: For miscellaneous titles try a different email address from the one used in previous claims, or try a different form of communication.It may be necessary at this time to send a special letter, especially if you have exhausted all other methods without results. Claims made with vendors such as Harrassowitz and Ebsco must be verified with the Accounts Payable Manager before you attempt to contact the publisher directly.

The likelihood of receiving issues after the third claim is not very high.If you have not received the issues or sufficient response to your claims, the key information regarding the claim should be given to the Accounts Payable Manager for review.You may then be instructed to continue to claim, to mark the issues “Unavailable," or to put the issues through the replacement process.

Note: The most important element in the claims process is determining when to claim the first time.Your chances of receiving the issue you are claiming are better on the first claim than on subsequent claims.As you become familiar with certain titles and publishers, you may wish to adjust claiming parameters to claim more efficiently, timely, and/or not too soon.There are separate lists for newspapers and high-frequency publications so they can be reviewed frequently. These two lists are reviewed on a weekly basis.

After you have decided to claim and mark the box as claimed in Sierra, you should enter a claim note in the check-in record. The note should include the method with which you claimed that issue, the volume/issue/cover date of the claimed issue, responses from the vendor/publisher, and any other pertinent information. The following are some abbreviations and examples for claim notes.Be sure to record every step of the claiming process, both your actions and the responses from the vendor/publisher.

Claim Notes:

Following is an example of how claim notes appear in the check-in record. Note that they should begin with the abbreviation corresponding to the method (through a vendor, e-mail, phone, by letter, etc.). Note that a single claim note may be entered for multiple issues, or multiple notes for the same issue may be entered:

claim notes

(Much of the following information about claiming is derived from experience.)

Generally, the following list should be used for setting parameters for First Claims:

1 (Daily)

1 day

7 (Weekly) 3-4 days
14 (Biweekly) 7 days
30 (Monthly) 30 days
60 (Bimonthly) 30 days
90 (Quarterly) 30 days
120 (Triannual) 30 days
180 (Semiannual) 30 days
365 (Annual) 30 days
Other Varies w/ publishing history


Second Claims should not be made too soon.You must give the first claim time to go through the claiming process (through e-mail, vendor, publisher, mail).For domestic and Canadian publications, you should wait 6-8 weeks (generally two months).  Overseas publications may require 8-12 weeks. With most of our vendors (especially Harrassowitz), if you claim too early they will tell you to allow more time or try to claim again in a week or two.

Third Claims should be given the same time consideration as 2nd claims.You must allow time for the claims to be received and issues to be sent.

Continuations sometimes need special attention.The parameters for these titles are not very conducive to repeat claiming.For these titles, set the expected date for when you want to check on the status of your claim.If you receive a response that provides updated information, you can always update the claim note and expected date. Additionally, these titles are often received on standing order (i.e. the issue is received with an invoice to pay at time of receipt), in which case you won’t see a payment for the current volume in the order record.

Exceptions to the rule: Notable exceptions to the above guidelines include some publications from foreign countries.Some foreign publishers, particularly in developing nations, work under severe financial constraints and are not always able to get issues out on time.In addition, some foreign publications (like Prints India) are shipped via sea mail rather than airmail, and can take two or three months to arrive.As you become more familiar with the vendors and publishers we deal with, you will get a feel for when things need to be claimed and when it is probably wise to wait a week or so before claiming.In the meantime, follow the guidelines reasonably closely, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Entering Responses to Claims

Claim responses (or reports) arrive in many forms.Often, because it’s the most efficient and common method for communication, you will receive email responses to your claims.

Keep in mind that for EBSCO claims, you will usually need to check the service requests log on your EBSCONET account for the claiming history, responses, or additional information, such as an issue not yet being published, etc.

It is important to document and keep track of not only the action you take on a claim, but the responses/correspondence you receive as well.Standardized notes assist in this process.


Claim notes should be organized in order by issue, and then by date (most recent date on top).Enter the claim abbreviation, your date/initials, the issue being claimed (example: v.32:9 (S 2020)), followed by the abbreviation and text for any response. You can copy and paste the e-mail or summarize it, as desired. More information on how to format claim notes, as well as a list of the most common claim and response abbreviations, can be found by following this link.

If you discover new information while trying to contact a publisher, add/update the information in the check-in record as a note before any claim notes:

CONTACT: name, followed by e-mail address, phone number, then your date/initials after all info has been entered.

PUB ADDR: address (give this info to the Serial Processing Specialist).


After you enter the notes, you may need to update the check-in card and record as well.

For example, if the response is that the issue is “not yet published”, you need to update the expected date so that you can check on it again at a later date. It is also a good idea to put this info in the box notes (i.e. "NYP (date/initials)" in the public note area).

If information is provided indicating when the expected date of publication is, you should set the expected date to reflect the new information.For example, if you are told that the issue is due out in September (and it is a domestic publication) the claim-on date should be set to check at the end of October at the earliest; this way you have given them time to send the issue before reclaiming (unless you are told otherwise).

If the response indicates that the issue is “not available,” “out of stock,” or “out of print,” after entering this information in the record and updating the boxes as appropriate (more information on how to update in these situations can be found on this page), you should gather all the information you have on the claim and give it to the Serials Acquisitions Manager and Binding personnel to review and decide whether or not to put the issue(s) through the replacement process (please follow link for more info).At this time, put a note in the record to indicate you have given that person the information (info to Accounts Payable Manager, binding, etc.). Leave the box as claimed, so that this issue will appear on your claim list. This allows you to check up on the status of the decision. If several months have passed and a decision has not been made yet, then the information needs to be re-sent to the Serials Acquisitions Manager. Once you receive an answer this note will either be changed or deleted.     

Claims Received

When claimed issues are received and checked in, the claim notes associated with that issue/claim are deleted from the record. However, any information that might be useful for future claiming should be retained in the check-in record notes. Generally, these notes should be formatted as "CLAIMS: <info here> (date/initials)" and be placed directly above the parameters, or towards the top if it's more urgent.