StaffGuide: Serials Access & Claiming

Serials Access & Claiming StaffGuide Home Page

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 frequencies, publication schedules, supplements, etc…

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 Accountant before claiming issues that have not yet been paid for.  

  • +++++When replacing a paid title for any reason, always consult the Serials Accountant. Never contact anyone regarding replacement without the accountant's approval!!+++++ If approval has been granted from the serials accountant, 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, and Swets. In addition, the internet offers many back issue sites that may be helpful (ex., see section on Replacements and Back volumes for a list of back-issue dealers).

How & When to Claim

Claim lists should be made 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 Fokus or Ebsconet respectively.
  • Limited Retention issues are only claimed twice before being made “Unavailable”. It is important to claim these issues early (popular titles sometimes fall under this category). If claimed twice and still not received make “Unavailable” and “Limited Retention” in the box 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 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 Harassowitz customer service or the EBSCO Customer Service Representative.
  • If there is no email address or website 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.

3rd & 4th claims

  • Harrassowitz Claims: Mark Harassowitz claims as urgent and note in the comment field the number of claims and lack of response.
  • Ebsco claims: Be sure and indicate the claim number and note lack of response in the "comments to publisher." You can also directly contact the EBSCO customer rep after multiple attempts through the electronic system doesn’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.  Caution should be taken that claims made with vendors such as Harrassowitz and Ebsco must be verified with the Serials Acquisitions 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 claim slips and correspondence should be given to the Serials Acquisitions Manager for review.  You may then be instructed to continue to claim, to make the issues “Unavailable” (especially the case with limited retention titles), or to put the issues in 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 will print a claim slip (regardless of claiming method), usually done in bulk once a week by the Serials Access Specialist.  The note on the claim slip should reflect the method with which you claimed that issue.  The following are some standard claim slip notes.  Be sure to record every step of the claiming process, both your actions and the responses from the vendor/publisher.

Claim Slip Notes:

·  Notes on claim slips for issues you claimed electronically, by email, by phone, or by letter should read as follows:

  • EML/CLM (Date/initials)
  • FOKUS (Date/initials)
  • EBSCONET (Date/initials)
  • SPEC/LTR (Date/initials) 
  • PH/CLM (Date/initials)
  • FAX (Date/initials)

 (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 (you should generally wait 8 weeks or two months).  Overseas publications may require 8-12 weeks. With most of our vendor (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 you to check on the status of your claim.  If you receive a response that provides updated information, you can always delete or update the reclaim note. Additionally, these titles are often received on standing order (ie: The issue is received with an invoice to pay at time of receipt) so 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.  Foreign newspapers, for example, are often sent in bundles, and frequently arrive out of order.  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.


  • Once a claim has been made, it should be filed alphabetically in the claims drawer to await further action.  It should be stapled together with any previous claims for that issue.

Entering Responses to Claims

Claim responses (or reports) arrive in many forms.  Often, because it’s the most efficient and common method to claim, you will receive email responses to your claims.  If you claimed electronically, you may receive generalized email responses or you will receive claim acknowledgements and claim checkers in the mail.  Or, you may receive a phone call from the publisher, etc.

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

**It is important to document and keep track not only of 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 d/I, the issue being claimed, followed by the abbreviation and text for any response. You can copy & paste the e-mail or summarize it, if desired.


CLAIM Abbreviations:

CLM/RVW = indicates research on an expected issue not resulting in a claim.  Should include the source of review, such as “per World Cat, Ebsconet” etc.     

CLMSLIP = for claim slip that is mailed.

E/CLM = for direct electronic claim [sent from ILS] (Ebsco).

EBSCONET = for electronic claim entered in EbscoNet.

EML/CLM = for email claims. Should specify contact when necessary.

FAX/PUB = for a fax (make sure to include fax number).

FOKUS = for electronic claim entered in Fokus (Harrassowitz).

FOLLOWUP = to follow-up on a claim.       

PH/CALL = phone call.

PUB/INQ = to inquire about a publication or issue to publisher or vendor (without actually claiming it). Good for Index and vol/iss related questions.

SPECLTR = Special letter. Good for claiming historical society titles.

WEBSITE = for info extracted directly from the publication web site.

RESPONSE Abbreviations:

CLM/RPT = claim report.  A good catch-all for a variety of responses, but should specify the source, such as when info is from a new contact, or phone vs. email response, etc.

EML/RPT = info received from pub via email in response to claim.  Please include email address of sender on claims.

FAX/RPT = info received from pub via fax in response to claim.  Please include fax number of sender on claims.

HARR/RPT = response from Harrassowitz (email, FOKUS).

PUB/RPT = info received from pub not in response to claim, but possibly to preclude one. “FYI” messages.

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 (date)

PUB EMAIL: email address (date)

PUB PHONE: phone number (date)

PUB ADDR: address (date) – also give this info to Maintenance

After you enter the notes, you may need to update the 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. Keep in mind any estimated dates of publication in the response.   

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 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, you should gather all the information you 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) in the replacement process.  At this time, put a note in the edit screen to indicate you have given that person the information (info to JC, 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 resent to the Serials Acquisitions Manager. Once you receive an answer this note will either be changed or deleted.     

Claims Received

When claims are received the claims slips and correspondence are pulled from the drawer and filed in their respective fiscal year drawers with the date of receipt written on them. See filing for more info.