Serials Cataloguing Policies and Local Context

Most periodicals and many serials are on subscription or standing order. Hence, communication with Acquisitions is key to insuring correct processing of these.

Periodicals received via firm orders or as gifts:

There is rarely any ambiguity about periodicals (fixed field SrTp p) and newspapers (SrTp n). SUL defines a periodical as having a frequency of 2 or more issues per year.

Serials, however, can represent more of a challenge in terms of selecting the appropriate cataloguing treatment. Serials encompass true serials (similar to periodicals except in terms of frequency--annual or less), monographic series, and titles whose nature shifts over time.

In the past, SUL catalogued a number of monographic series as serials creating a number of retrospective projects to add the appropirate title-level access to SUMMIT. Today, we endeavor to get it right from the start.

The CORE-level serial record (AACR 2 record format)

OVERVIEW of serial record formats: Most serial records on OCLC and in SUMMIT are follow the AACR 2 record format, described below, or the pre-AACR format, identifiable through punctuation and other conventions (such as no dates in field 260). SUL does not routinely upgrade records in earlier formats to match current conventions.

In 2007, a the CONSER standard record format was adopted (few records as of early 2008 conform to this standard. For details, see:[1]

The AACR 2 CORE serial record

Fixed field: Pay especial attention to:

Lang (language) Ctry (country of publication) SrTp (type of serial)

Freq (frequency)

See online listing for others:

DtSt (publication status [for serials])

Dates (beginning and ending date of publication, if known; matches dates in 362; use u for unknown digits


Variable fields

022 : ISSN (required if available)

$a Current ISSN: Transcribe from piece if not in OCLC record.

$y Incorrect ISSN: If ISSN printed on piece matches that assigned, enter it in sub-field y

040 : Cataloguing source: DLC (LC cataloguing) or other CONSER library is preferred if there are multiple records for a title. For a complete list of CONSER libraries, see:

042 : authentication code (lcd=LC cataloguing; nsdp=National Serial Data Project--source of ISSNs)

050 or 090 : call number (all permanently-retained titles are classified)

1xx : Main entry (required if applicable)

245 : Title proper

The title proper always includes $a and may also include:

Changes to the title proper must be accounted for either by the creation of a new record and closing out the old (major changes), or notes and titles entries in field 246 (minor changes)

Other relevant sub-fields:

Subtitles are transcribed only when they add to the meaning of the title proper and help identify it. Subtitles may also be given as quoted notes. Changes in subtitle do not constitute title changes or variations and need not be mentioned, except through a generic "Subtitle varies" note.

Example using some of the above:

245 00 |a Journal of serials cataloguing |h [microform]. |n Part B, |p Cataloguing computer files / |c edited by the staff of Syracuse University Library.

246 : variant titles (required if applicable)

These include:


General reminders about the 246

The second indicator defines the type of variant title:

(change from 246 11 found on older records)

Used to provide access to occasional serial issues that have a distinctive title in additional to the generic title. (If every issue has a distinctive title, the serial will likely be catalogued as a monographic series (SERIES, COLLECTED, UNTRACED--to use local vocabulary).

Used when access to another form of title is needed, such as a variant form of a variant title. It may be used instead of |i when the cataloguer does not consider it important to record the source of the variant form. Examples include titles on editorial or contents pages.

Most frequently used when the cover title of a serial differs from what is on the title page, the chief source of title for book serials. Many periodicals use the cover title as the chief source for the title.

Used when there is a subsidiary title page; title may be in a different language.

Used when the title printed at the top of the first page of text differs from that in 245

Used when the title repeated at top or bottom of every page of an issue differs from that in 245

Quick Reference List

Subfield delimiter: |i Its purpose is to allow the cataloguer to specify the source of a variant title when no second indicator value has the appropriate meaning. (Formerly done using 500-note and 246 10 for title entry; this is still found in many older records on both SUMMIT and OCLC).

NOTE: On SUMMIT, all titles in 246 fields display following a generic "Other title:" note. All are indexed (i.e., they can be searched with a journal title search in SUMMIT. Specific notes (cover title, added title page title, etc.) do not display as such in public SUMMIT. However, we should try to be as specific as possible in coding the notes in case the SUMMIT OPAC display changes or the Library moves to a new system.

260 : publication, distribution, etc. (imprint)

300 : physical description (collation)


300 v. : |b ill. ; |c 36 cm.

310: Frequency

Optional for both CORE and for SUL; must be coded in fixed field, however.

321: Former frequency

Optional for both CORE and for SUL

362 : dates of publication and volume designation

Publication date (260) and issue date may be different; fixed field dates always match those in 362.

Use formatted style when 1st (and/or last) issue is in hand at time of cataloguing (Revise 362 if SUL has 1st or last issue not available when OCLC record created):

First issue present:

Last issue present:

Both first and last issues present:

Use unformatted style when 1st (or last) issue is not in hand at the time of cataloguing (use a question mark at the end of the field if the information is an educated guess); use one 362 1 if neither the 1st or last issue is present; use question mark if unformatted data in 362 is an educated guess:

Use separate 362 fields when only the 1st or last issue is present and the beginning or ending date is an educated guess:

If the 1st issue is not in hand at the time of cataloguing, there must be a 500-note stating what issue the description is based on:

EXCEPTION: when doing retrospective conversion and working with pre-AACR2 records, there will not be a Description based on: note; if the record is full-level, CONSER or other member, it can be accepted without the note.

The designations in this field (or in the 500-note) determine how issues are checked in and how they are added to the mhld.

4xx or 490 1 / 8xx series title

SUL series treatment policy generally follows the national authority files. Series authority records will be revised with local information in those cases where current practice deviates from these.

5xx : note fields

Some of the more important include:

Used when item being cataloged lacks a formal title page. Most periodicals are cataloged from the first issue in hand with the title taken from the cover. The 500-note will read: Title from cover. Bound serials generally have a formal title page; there will not be a source of title note for these.

When the cataloging description is based on an issue other than the first, the source of title note is combined with the Description based on note: 500 Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 2 (Feb. 2002); title from cover.

6xx : subject headings

Except for periodicals classed in AP and newspapers, all serials have at least one subject heading.

Most titles that are entered under a corporate body and representing the annual report of that body will have the corporate body as a subject heading followed by subfield v Periodicals.

Most serial subject headings end with a Topical subdivision, which means they will not validate on SUMMIT. The most common is |v Periodicals which is used for any publication issued annually or more frequently. It is not used for titles published less than annually, or for titles without a regular publication schedule. Others include: Congresses (for all conference proceedings) and Directories (for lists of names, addresses, etc.) When validating subject headings on SUMMIT, search the heading without the subdivision.

Older records, both on OCLC, in SUMMIT, and on our local catalogue cards may contain subdivisions no longer used. These include: Yearbooks, Collected works, and Collections.

Generally, yearbooks may be replaced with periodicals, since that subdivision is appropriate for any publication issued on a regular schedule annually or more frequently.

In most cases, Collected works and Collections may be simply removed.

7xx : name entries associated with the publication

Names mentioned in $c of field 245 (statement of responsbility); as publisher in field 260 (other than commercial publishers), or in 5xx notes, must have corresponding 7xx entries. Under CORE standards, names may be added without corresponding 5xx-notes.

Title added entries

Fields 730 and 740 provide access both to related titles and to analytical titles (those published within as as part of another title:

730 : Uniform title added entry. For details, see:

Use the 730 when a separate bibliographic record or an authority record exists for the publication being cited. The 730-field will match 245 unless a 130 uniform title is present.

740 : Uncontrolled/analytical added title entry. For details, see:

Use the 740 to cite analytical titles or related titles which are not established in catalog entry form.

Linking entry fields

For an overview of possibilities, see:

There may linking entries for series statements, supplements/parent records, alternative editions and formats, as well as for title changes (outlined below).

For 780 examples, see:

For 785 examples, see:

856 : Electronic location and access

SUL does not connect to online serials from the print record. Therefore we delete fields 530 (Also available online) and 856 from the print version's record.

Checklist for Cataloging Periodicals and Serials

Rev. 25f08

Some basics:

Editing the Bibliographic Record

Refer to the CONSER Standard page on the WIKI for an overview of the MARC serials record and for the model to follow if a master record must be created on OCLC.

Cataloguing checklist:

A note about subject headings: Most subjects headings will have a $v free-floating subdivision (Periodicals is the most common, used for most periodicals as well as annual serials; other include Congresses, Directories, etc.) These will usually not validate on SUMMIT, but can be controlled on OCLC.

MARC holdings record (MFHD)

The Basics


Sample MARC Holdings Records: field 852

Current Periodicals:

Non-current Periodicals:



Reference Titles:

Sample MARC holdings record: Recording holdings and other information in fields 866-868

Use fields 866-868 fields to record holdings (basic bibliographic units, supplements, indexes) and for selected notes, public and non-public.

See General guidelines for recording issues and volumes for detailed instructions on recording holdings, including instructions on how to record incomplete volumes and serial units: [3]

Use the cataloguing macro to create 866 fields (Ctrl+ALt+H). Remember to change the field tag for supplements and indexes.

Fields 866-868 display holdings with the following OPAC labels:

On all templates, the first 866 has been coded for non public display, i.e., all information will be entered in subfield x.

Creating the item record

Periodicals: For new titles, close-outs, and recats, you will not be adding anything to the MFHD and will not need to create any item records.

For backsets, add volumes to the MFHD, bundle issues together by volume, affix barcode to front cover of the first issue, and create a periodical item type with a temp location of bird,pres Include the appropriate enumeration and/or chronology.

Serials: For all titles to which you are adding volumes, create items records with a serial item type, the In process status, and the appropriate enumeration and/or chronology.

Titles destined for a reference collection are given a Non-Circ item type.

Post-cataloguing procedures

browser. For details on creating the LHR, see: [4]

Title changes and other reasons to recatalogue a serial

Because serials and periodicals are published over time, their bibliographic records need to be revised to account for changes in the publication. Serial receivers place suspected title changes in the new title bin.

Changes requiring that a bibiographic record be revised include:

Changes relating to titles--changes, additions, deletions--are the most important, since it needs to be determined if the change is major or minor. See below for details.

Whenever questions arise about a SUMMIT serial record, check OCLC to see if the record has been revised since we last worked on it. It's easier to overlay a record than to do multiple manual corrections on SUMMIT.

Statistics: All revisions, including closing out a title, count as Recat/bib record corrections.

Major and minor title changes

“Minor” changes include:

None of these require creating a new bibiographic record and closing out the former title.

If you do not find a CONSER record on OCLC for the new title, check the old title's OCLC record carefully to see if a CONSER library has revised the record in a way that handles the suspected "title change" as a variant that does not require a new record:

If the title change in question has been handled in this manner, overlay the SUMMIT record to add this information. Inform serials receiving that this is not a title change.

If the title change seems slight and you do not find reference to the title variant on OCLC, or a separate CONSER record for the new title variant, refer to your supervisor who will finalize the decision.

Title changes for titles with name or uniform title main entries

Titles entered under a name heading

For the most part, these are reports or other publications emanating from an organization or government agency, or conference proceedings emanating from a meeting. If the name of the corporate body or meeting changes, the title is considered to have changed. The old titles is closed out:

The new title is catalogued:

The above example shows an instance where only the conference name changed. The title may change while the conference name remains unchanged. If the change is major, close out the old title:

Catalogue the new title:

Titles entered under a uniform title main entry

Since the adoption of the CONSER standard record in the spring of 2007, uniform title main entries are used less frequently, primarily in the cases of generic titles indicating periodicity and when establishing series entries. Prior to this, uniform title main entries are used to distinguish between 2 or more serials with the same title proper, regardless of the title. Many records in OCLC and in SUMMIT follow these conventions. In most cases, place of publication was used to distinguish the titles from each other:

When the place of publication changes for title qualified by place, it is not a title change. A 500-note may be added to describe the change:

Some serials with a generic title such as Report, Bulletin, Newsletter and published by, but not emanating from, a corporate body are qualified by corporate body rather than by place:

If the corporate body changes, the title is considered to have changed:

In these cases, the title proper may changecan change as well. The nature of that change determines whether or not the new title will need a 130-entry.

Checklist for title changes

Recatalogue the old title

Closing out a title informs the user when the title ceased publication in terms of both date and last issue. It also adds a link to the new title (shown in the OPAC through a note beginning, Continued by ...)

In simple title changes, the first indicator "0" [zero] causes a note to be created for the OPAC display from the 785-field. For more complicated title changes, a 580-field is used to express the relationship and the note for the public catalogue is created from that field. When a 580 is used, the first indicator of the 785-field(s) should be "1" [one] to prevent creating 2 notes in the OPAC.

Catalogue the new title

Changes in treatment and in the nature of the publication

Creating the Local holdings record (LHR) on OCLC

For details on creating the LHR, see: [5]

Enhancements for SCRC

Enhancements for SCRC serials fall into broad categories (the curators will add this information):

NOTE: There are no limits on how many 700s a record may have

Cataloging titles with holdings only in microform

Most microform titles represent titles originally published in print; far fewer were originally published on film.

Most microforms are housed in Bird Library’s Media collection, but branch libraries also have collections.

Call numbers and classification practice: See MFHD section below for examples of how to enter call numbers. Microfilm have accession numbers (1-5928 as of 15Jl08). Microfiche have LC call numbers with $k MICROFICHE preceding $h portion of the class number. If the Library has holdings in both paper and fiche, the same LC call number is used for both. Do not use a call number for fiche that duplicates the call number of the paper version of a different title

Basic serials cataloguing procedures apply. Select the OCLC record for the microform; make sure the micropublisher in field 533 matches that on our cards. SUL has microfilmed a number of titles over the years and you may need to do a new OCLC master record for some of these.

Bibliographic record:

[NOTE: You may find records created by the National Library of Canada (NLC) which do not follow the guidelines below. NLC describes the micro-publication in fields 260 and 300 and inputs the imprint of the original in field 534. If you find only NLC copy for the micro-version you have, edit the record to conform to the model below:]

The Holdings Record (MFHD)

Cataloging titles with both print and microform holdings

SUL policy: There is one bibliographic record representing print and microform(s). There are separate MARC holdings records (MFHDs) to provide the location, call numbers, and holdings for each format, with appropriate notes concerning retention.

See SUMMIT record for Newsweek: 1 bibliographic record; 3 holdings records attached: one for paper; one for microfiche; one for microfilm).

Bibliographic record

If the print has already been catalogued, verify that the SUMMIT record is as complete as that on OCLC; overlay if necessary. Changes below may be made directly on SUMMIT:

MARC holdings record (MFHD)

This note will alert OPAC users to the presence of additional non-print holdings.

See:SUMMIT OPAC view for Newsweek

Cataloguing titles whose issues are retained only until microform arrives

Follow procedures for cataloguing a title with holdings in both paper and microfilm.

MARC holdings records:

Paper holdings are not entered on the mfhd; the current issues display in the OPAC from the serials check/in in the Acquisitions module.

Change in the format of permanent retention

The Library has decided to no longer bind periodicals, but to retain back volumes in micro- or electronic format. In the late 1970s, the Library ceased binding most general interest popular magazines (Time, New Yorker, etc.), both to save space and because the print volumes were being vandalized. More recently, the Library has begun withdrawing print volumes for most titles available via JSTOR.

a. The only change to the 852 of the paper copy’s mfhd is made to the public note in subfield z which should read:

Current issues in periodicals until microform copy is received.


b. Additional 866-a fields are added to include a note about the change in format of retention:

866 ... |a v.1 (1920)-v.50 (1969) 866 ... |a - [input a field containing a hyphen only] 866 ... |a 1970- retained on microfilm. See below for holdings.


866 ... |a 1970- retained on microfiche. See below for holdings.

c. The microform copy is catalogued following the procedures outlined above.

Retrospective conversion of microfilm newspapers, periodicals, and serials

To be used in conjunction with general microform serial procedures

Begin with SUMMIT:

1. Search SUMMIT to see if SUL owns a paper version of this title. This information may be noted on the shelflist card.

2. For cards stamped NOTIS, verify that the film is either catalogued on its own bibliographic record or that film holdings are attached to a paper record containing the appropriate 533-field.

3. If you find separate film and print records for the same title, they should be merged on to a single record, with a 533-field accounting for the Microfilm copy and two holdings records, one for print and a second for microfilm.

If nothing is found on SUMMIT:

1. Search OCLC for the microform version of the title. There may be several records for a title, each with a different microfilm publisher. Select the one that matches the cards. If in doubt, check with your supervisor or one of the serials-experienced librarians. They may be able to help with name and other changes, etc. associated with micropublishers.

2. If that record is less full than some others, you may need to add information from the fuller records, or even from the record for the print version. Pay special attention to the following fields:

Title and alternative titles (245, 246)Dates of publication (362)PublisherNotes about suspensions, title variations, sponsoring bodies which help identify the title and provide important access points.Subject headings:General interest periodicals (Time, etc.) do not require headings.If possible, add a heading for newspapers comprised of the city name and $v Newspapers.Eg. 651 0 Syracuse (N.Y.) $v Newspapers.Name added entries: if editors appear on the card, make sure they appear in the online record (700). We can add the entry without the supporting note.

3. Export the record and create holdings. See the WIKI for full details. If the holdings are not clear from the card, you may need to check the microfilm drawers in Media. For the microfilm ultimately destined for the 3rd floor, use the location: med,mic3

4. Item records: Barcodes will not be applied at this time to microfilm reels destined for the 3rd floor, nor will item records be created.

5. Create a local holdings record, using the OCLC browser version. For details on creating the LHR, see: [6]