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What is the difference between Backlist and Frontlist collections

  • WorldShare Collection Manager
    • WorldCat knowledge base
Applies to
  • Backlist and Frontlist collections

Designating a collection as a Frontlist or a Backlist collection is determined by the provider. It is important to remember not all providers/publishers use this designation. There isn’t any way to look at a collection and identify this all the time. Some providers that use these designations are Sage, Wiley, and Elsevier.

  • Frontlist: Frontlist collections are newly published titles, the collections published at the start of a year (e.g., January 2020)
  • Backlist: A backlist is a list of older books available from a publisher, as opposed to titles newly published


Frontlist collections are usually released in January and may have from zero to however many titles, but it is not yet complete.  The collection is still open for titles to be added during the calendar year. On December 31st of that year, the collection could still have zero titles, or it may have many titles.  OCLC posts a “Just-in-time” or “JIT” report to the Community Center that includes a section that lists these types of collections so that libraries know they are not complete.

Example: Wiley frontlist (aka subject) collections

In an ongoing commitment to provide flexibility in how you grow your Online Books collection, we are offering both frontlist and backlists in eleven main subject areas. This will help you to align the Backlist Subject Collections with Frontlist Subject Collections.

We are introducing a new Online Books Frontlist Collection by subject to help you meet faculty demand and acquire the newest prize-winning and top-selling titles from Wiley at an affordable price.

The eleven subject areas for Frontlist Subject Collection are:

All English Titles                                             Life & Earth Science
Business                                                        Mathematics & Statistics
Chemistry                                                       Physical Science and Engineering
German Titles                                                 Social Science and Psychology
Health Sciences                                              Veterinary Science


A backlist is a list of older books available from a publisher, as opposed to titles newly published (e.g., Wiley Backlist subject collections.)

Thousands of Wiley Online Books are available in nine Backlist Subject Collections and are offered at significant discounts. Collections are fixed-titles with a print publication date of 2015 and earlier and are available for perpetual access purchase.

Collections include our must-have classics, in addition to titles with a 2015 print publication date. Old editions have been removed and replaced by new editions. Existing collection buyers have the flexibility in the way they want to grow their collections - please contact your Account Manager for details. Back volume Online Book Series are available to complement the Subject Collections. Collections are available for a one-time fee-only and are fixed with no overlapping titles.

The eleven subject areas for Backlist Subject Collection are:

American Geophysical Union (AGU)             Life & Earth Science
Business                                                        Mathematics & Statistics
Chemistry                                                       Physical Science and Engineering
German Language                                         Social Science
Health Science                                               Veterinary Science

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