Shortly after I agreed to take part in this symposium, I realized that I knew very little about the acquisition of second‐hand periodicals, my experience being limited almost entirely to exchanges through the British National Book Centre. I did not remember ever reading an account of the principles on which one should base one's practice, apart from the suggestion that the librarian should wait for a long run, rather than buy odd volumes; and this questionable assertion does not seem an adequate basis for action. Further, I had no recollection of a thorough exposition of periodical selection practice in general (as distinct from the processing and use of periodicals). I did not check my memory by searching the literature, but fortunately Mr. Vickery has done so, and it seems true to say that though the principles of book selection have been formulated and expounded, periodical selection has only been subjected to preliminary investigation. Surveys, such as those quoted by Mr. Vickery, have been carried out, both on the statistical and qualitative aspects of the problem; but the investigators have usually been concerned with one point only, rather than with policy as a whole.
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