Sources to Consult
Use this section in conjunction with the following sources:
- RDA and LC-PCC PS
- CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM). (When using a particular module in the Cataloger’s Desktop version, always check for an updated version of that module on the CONSER web site. It is expected, but not known, that the Cataloger’s Desktop version of the CCM will incorporate these updates on a quarterly basis.)
- CONSER Editing Guide (CEG). (When using a particular module in the Cataloger’s Desktop version, always check for an updated version of that module on the CONSER web site. It is expected, but not known, that the Cataloger’s Desktop version of the CEG will incorporate these updates on a quarterly basis.)
- CONSER Standard Record. SEE: RDA CONSER Standard Record (CSR) Metadata Application Profile.
- CONSER - Cooperative Online Serials Program of the PCC
- CONSER – Serials Cataloging Issues
- CONSER RDA Cataloging Checklist
- CONSER RDA Core Elements
- CONSER MARC 21 to RDA Core Elements
- Notes for Serials Cataloging (2nd ed. By Geer & Caraway or 3rd edition with revisions by Genereux & Moeller)
- PCC Provider-neutral E-resource MARC Record Guidelines
- PCC Guidelines for Enhancing & Editing non-RDA Serial Records
- RDA CONSER Standard Record (CSR) Metadata Application Profile
- PCC Guidelines for the 264 Field
- Copy Cataloging: Working with Existing Copy
- Electronic Access and Location in Bibliographic Records: Standard Operating Procedure 422 [internal GPO document]
General Policies, Procedures, and Practices
Definition of Serial
The RDA definition of serial is located in Table 2.1 within: RDA 22.214.171.124: Recording Modes of Issuance.
Serial: A resource issued in successive parts, usually with numbering, that has no predetermined conclusion (e.g., periodical, a monographic series, a newspaper). Includes resources that exhibit characteristics of serials, such as successive issues, numbering, and frequency, but whose duration is limited (e.g., newsletters of events) and reproductions of serials.
Cataloging Decision: Monograph vs. Serial and Frequency of Issuance
For guidance in determining the specific type of resource, consult LC-PCC PS for 2.1: Basis for Identification of the Resource: Mode of Issuance: Monograph vs. Serial
Consultation with the supervisor is highly recommended anytime that the cataloger is uncertain whether or not to treat a work as a serial.
Serials Cataloged as Monographs
In general, regard the upper limit of frequency for serial treatment to be every five years. If volumes of a serial work are issued less frequently than every five years (i.e., six+ years), then catalog those volumes as monographs.
Exception: The presence of a PCC authenticated serial record in OCLC, or a long lifespan, e.g., twenty years or more, would support serial treatment of a title, even if issues were more than five years apart. (Examples: CGP 355795 and 813792)
Monographs Cataloged as Serials ("Serials-of-Convenience")
Frequently revised monographs may be cataloged as serials according to one of the categories below. This practice is referred to as creating a “serial-of-convenience.” In 2020, CONSER confirmed that this type of serial record may be authenticated as PCC and assigned an LCCN. When cataloging is complete, new editions of the same work are checked in as serial issues, rather than creating a new bibliographic record for each revision of the work. Typically, the year of publication is used as issue numbering for the library catalog.
Frequency of Issuance
Frequently issued works may be cataloged as serials-of-convenience if they fit either of the following descriptions:
- Ephemeral works (e.g., brochures) that are reprinted every few years (i.e. issued every five years or more frequently) with only minor editorial changes
- Works issued irregularly, with some gaps that qualify for serial treatment (i.e., every five years or more frequently) and some gaps that do not qualify
- This includes works issued as formal editions, where the edition statements can serve as serial numbering designations.
National Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Publications
All newly received National Park Service (NPS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) brochures and maps must be cataloged as serials-of-convenience, authenticated as PCC, and assigned LCCNs. GPO established this practice in 2020 after observing over many years that these titles are always updated, though the frequency of updates varies greatly. (Examples: CGP 1136664, 1149746, and 1179386)
For all of the above NPS and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service publications, jacket numbers should be recorded in the OPAC Note field of the item record rather than in a 500 note in the bibliographic record.NPS braille publications should always be cataloged as serials-of-convenience, since they are routinely updated. (Example: CGP 1163571)
Cataloging Decision: When Mode of Issuance Is Ambiguous
For guidance in determining the specific type of resource, see LC-PCC PS for 2.1: Basis for Identification of the Resource.
For serials published online, the cataloger might find only the most current issue posted. A publisher’s choice to post online only the most current issue or edition of a work does not mean that previous issues/editions have ceased to exist as discrete publications. A decision to catalog as a serial cannot be contingent upon the simultaneous presence online of all issues or editions. See: Integrating Resources: a Cataloging Manual, IR1.2.2: “If the current issue is available online as a separate issue but back issues no longer exist as discrete issues, still catalog the resource as a serial.”
As an example, in the following case, numerous monograph records for earlier revised editions of this work existed in the ILS and in OCLC, and are found in archival PURLs. A title issued in numerous revised editions may be cataloged as a serial instead of as an integrating resource or as multiple monographs. When cataloged as a serial, the edition statements are recorded as designations of issues (RDA 2.6: Numbering of serials). The frequency of the revisions, however irregular, supports serial treatment. See:
Replacement of Monograph Records with a Serial Record
When a serial record replaces ILS monograph records: 1) the monograph records are deleted from the CGP; and 2) GPO holdings for the monograph records are removed in OCLC. Additionally, the holding and item records need to be transferred, or added to the newly created serial record. For guidance on completing the collapsing process, see: Collapsing Monograph Records.docx
Classification of Ceased Serials Being Cataloged for the First Time by GPO
When GPO catalogs a serial title for the first time for the CGP, and that manifestation of the serial already has ceased, the cataloger searches for a record for a different format (i.e., for a different manifestation). If a record is found for a different format of the ceased serial, the SuDoc number (or one of the SuDoc numbers) in that record is used. If no records are found for the title, the cataloger may use the SuDoc number of a record for a later or earlier title, regardless of the format of that record. If no such records are found, the cataloger should use a SuDoc stem from one of the agency’s category classes (see GPO Classification Manual, chapter 2), such as its General Publications or Handbooks, Manuals, and Guides classes, and assign a unique Cutter number. Due to the title's ceased status, this is a departure from the usual serials classification practice of assigning unique SuDoc stems to live titles.
Numbering - Exceptions to the RDA Principle of Transcription, or “Take What You See”
Within RDA there are several exceptions to the general RDA principle of transcription for numbering. Serials catalogers should be aware of:
For decisions about treatment for such terms as “premier” and “sample” issues, consult: LC-PCC PS for 126.96.36.199: Resource Issued in More than One Part.
See also: RDA Appendix D 1.2: ISBD Punctuation and D 188.8.131.52: Numbering (Serials.)
Notification of Cataloging Updates via WebTech Notes
Upon completion of a new serial record for the CGP, or upon completion of a record’s closure due to cessation or to a title change, inform the FDLP community of the action via a WebTech Note.
Notification of LSCM’s Office of Archival Management (OAM) for Serials Harvesting
Upon completion of a new serial record for the CGP, cue GPO LSCM’s Office of Archival Management (OAM) to harvest existing issues, and to place the PURL on the automated “scheduler” to capture future issues at the expected increment (monthly, quarterly, annually, etc.).
When it is determined that a serial has ceased and the record has been closed, notify OAM staff to ensure that all available issues have been archived and to redirect the PURL to the archival directory of issues harvested by GPO. However, the PURL will remain pointed to the agency Web site if GPO has a permanent public access partnership with the agency, or if OAM deems the agency’s site for its archived issues to be stable. Communicate either situation to OAM using either:
PURL Worksheet (preferred)
Email – for lengthy and/or complex requests
Updating Collections of Serials
For an unusual treatment of annual reports, see the following records that treat updating collections of annual reports from national programs within USDA’s Agricultural Research Service as integrating resources. Use OCLC or the CGP to scan the title phrase “Project annual reports from National Program …”
Initially, GPO analyzed each annual report, but the quantity of cataloging records became burdensome. Furthermore, in a Depository Library Council (DLC) meeting with GPO librarians, a DLC Council member questioned the efficacy of analyzing hundreds of short-lived technical reports (usually with 5-year-lifespans). This cue legitimated the switch to cataloging the entire collections.
For detailed instructions on cataloging integrating resources, see Bibliographic Cataloging: Integrating Resources.
Leader /17 (Encoding Level) and 042
For the sake of encoding and authentication, GPO is considered a national bibliographic agency that participates in PCC’s CONSER; therefore, serials are cataloged at Full-level (for which the value for the encoding level is “blank”) and authenticated in 042 as “pcc.” When a lower-than-full level serial record needs to be adapted by GPO, upgrade the record to PCC standards articulated broadly and specifically in CONSER guidance documents.
010 - Library of Congress Control Number
Library of Congress Control Number assignments are issued via stickers to individual catalogers. Consult your supervisor for annual allocations of stickers, and for replenishments as needed through the year.
022 - ISSN
050 - Library of Congress Call Number
060 - National Library of Medicine Call Number
Retain in PCC level records when found.
070 - National Agricultural Library Call Number
Retain in PCC level records when found.
Do not remove item numbers from a record for a tangible serial, such as the print, that is no longer distributed in that format, but was distributed in the past. (Also, see the section “500 – Distribution Note.”)
082 - Dewey Decimal Classification Number
086 - SuDoc Number
Some SuDoc numbers for serials contain additional characters after the SuDoc stem, such as a cutter. In researching the SuDoc numbers of individual issues of the serial (in ACSIS or the Shelflist, for example), especially the earliest ones, the cataloger may find a situation such as the following hypothetical example:
|TD 4.8/2:L 47||1st issue found with this SuDoc stem plus cutter|
|TD 4.8/2:L 47/992||2nd issue|
|TD 4.8/2:L 47/993||3rd issue|
|TD 4.8/2:L 47/994||[etc/]|
Currently, GPO convention is to enter the SuDoc number in the 086 field with an ending slash, even when the SuDoc number of the first issue lacks a slash. This convention indicates that additional issues are available, which have book numbers (individual issue designations) following the slash. Consequently, for the above example:
086 0_ TD 4.8/2:L 47/
246 - Varying Form of Title
The “CONSER MARC-to-RDA Core Elements” guidance illustrates the basic preferred encoding for parallel titles, and for variant titles, including later titles proper (for minor title changes). These are listed under MARC encoding 246. “Record initialisms/acronyms of the title proper not chosen as the title proper in field 246 rather than other title information,” either as: 246 1# ǂa [Variant title], or as: 246 1# ǂi [Note:] ǂa [Variant title].
For citing the particular issue or range of issues having a later title proper that is a minor title change, use either of the terms: issue/issues or volume/volumes. The term “issue/issues” is preferred. Free-text notes that introduce variant titles are exemplified by, but not limited to, the following examples.
264 - Production, Publication, Distribution, Manufacture, and Copyright Notice
264 ǂc: Date of publication: Follow the CONSER RDA CSR metadata application profile, under Date of publication, 2.8.6: “Serials: Record the publication date(s) of first and/or last issue if the dates are known and the first and/or last issues are in hand.” Do not apply the following instruction in RDA 184.108.40.206: “If the first and/or last issue, part, or iteration is not available, supply an approximate date or dates by applying the instructions at 1.9.2.” See also the CONSER RDA Cataloging Checklist, under 17c, Date of publication.
See GPO Sales Information in Bibliographic Cataloging: Overview.
300 - Physical Description (300 |a )
GPO always includes a 300 field, including for open serials, e.g.,
In the second example above, the type of unit - “(volumes)” - is provided per RDA 220.127.116.11: Incomplete Resource. GPO follows RDA 18.104.22.168 but not its alternative or the LC-PCC Policy Statement for 22.214.171.124 for the alternative.
362, 588, and Any Field Where Designation is Represented
See section: General Policies: Numbering.
362 - Beginning and/or ending numbering/dates of publication
Clear guidance, including examples and descriptions of former practice, is found in:
- CONSER Editing Guide (CEG): Variable data field 362
- CONSER Cataloging Manual: Module 8. Numbering (Fields 362, 515, 588) (Updated version at: http://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/conser/more-documentation.html, as of May 2016. Specific link: http://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/conser/word/Module8.docx)
- CONSER Cataloging Manual: Module 31.8. Remote Access Electronic Serials: Numbering (fields 362,588)
Inferring first or last issue from the print version: This practice is most commonly employed when creating the record for the online version, and the first online issue or beginning date is unknown. The beginning dates of the print version, when known, may be given in a 362 1# field. Give this note in addition to the “Description based on note” to provide justification for the fixed field beginning date.
Do not give a 362 1# “Print began with” note when the beginning date of the print or other original format is not known. Give an unknown* fixed field date in this case.” (CEG) (*Note: such as 199u, 19uu, or 200u)
362 - Determination of Cessation of a Serial When Response from the Publishing Agency is Lacking
When verification of a serial’s suspected cessation cannot be confirmed with the publishing agency, then cautious judgment should be exercised to make that determination. For example, in 2013, the cataloger had to consider the serial’s publication status and found the following data:
Because of the lapse in issues for a ten-year period and a lack of success in eliciting a response from the agency, the cataloger confidently added to the above variable fields the following statement in a separate 362:
362 1_ Ceased publication.
However, it is not uncommon for gaps and other irregularities in issuance to occur, especially during periods of fiscal restraint, so act conservatively when making this determination.
500 - Distribution Note
If no issues of a serial have been distributed in a particular format, a 500 note that reads "Format not distributed to depository libraries" should be included in the record for that format. This note would most commonly appear in the print record for a serial that is only “distributed” to the Federal Depository Library Program online. However, many older serials, unlike monographs, were distributed in the past in print, microfiche, or direct electronic format, but later ceased such tangible distribution in favor of the online version. Distribution of such serials changed from tangible distribution to “online only” or “EL only.” In such cases, the note “Format not distributed to depository libraries" is inaccurate, since libraries will have parts of these serials on their shelves. In such cases, use in the appropriate print, microfiche, or direct electronic record such a note such as:
500 No longer distributed to depository libraries in a physical form.
500 Format no longer distributed to depository libraries.
In most cases, catalogers updating such older serial records need only retain the existing “No longer distributed …” note. Any such “no longer distributed” notes may be edited to include the following final phrases:
500 No longer distributed to depository libraries in a physical form “as of [date].”
500 No longer distributed to depository libraries in a physical form “after [designation or year of last distributed issue, or year in which the last issue was distributed].”
500 Format no longer distributed to depository libraries “as of [date].”
515 - Numbering Peculiarities Note
For extensive examples of numbering peculiarities, see Notes for Serials Cataloging (2nd edition by Geer & Caraway or 3rd edition with revisions by Genereux & Moeller), and CONSER Editing Guide (CEG), 515: Numbering Peculiarities Note.
538 - System Details Note
Closure of serial records often requires edits to the MARC 538 subfields that introduce the original URLs. For instructions, see: SOP 422 – Electronic Access and Location in Bibliographic Records [internal GPO document], section entitled “Publications No Longer Available.”
588 - Source of Description Note
Clear guidance, including examples and descriptions of former practice, is found in:
- CONSER Editing Guide (CEG): Variable data field 588
- CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM): Module 8. Numbering (Fields 362, 515, 588)
- CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM): Modules 31.8. Remote Access Electronic Serials: Numbering (fields 362, 588) and 31.3.4
Language for “Description Based on” Note
Do not use the phrase “Identification of the resource based on:” found in RDA 126.96.36.199, to describe the serial issue that serves as the basis of description. Instead, use the phrase “Description based on:" as instructed in LC-PCC PS for 2.17.13, the RDA CONSER Standard Record (CSR) Metadata Application Profile, and CONSER RDA Core Elements.
Although the description based on (DBO) and latest issue consulted (LIC) notes typically reflect transcribed designation, catalogers may abbreviate months in viewed dates.
Print Version Record Used As Basis of Description for Online Version
For online serials, generally do not use the print version as a basis for description. Exceptions to this occur when agencies’ own serial archives or GPO’s digital repository, FDsys/govinfo, serve as the basis for the electronic record description, and contain substantially fewer issues/volumes than the print version, or contain issues that lack title pages, covers, etc. that are present in the print version. In these cases, use the print version as the basis for description to justify title, title variants, statements of responsibility, etc., that otherwise would be lost. The following text should be used in a 588 field in such cases:
Similar situations also occur for longstanding print titles for which only one or a few online issues can be found. One example occurs when adapting a Hathi-Trust record that is based on the print version, when only the latest issue is available to the cataloger (example: OCLC *604986725). In this case, retain the description based on print version, but update the “Latest issue consulted” note to identify the most recent online issue that is viewed. The “latest issue consulted” note that is corollary to the “Description based on print version record” note nevertheless reflects the online version.
76X--78X - Linking Entry Fields
Consult and follow:
- CONSER Cataloging Manual, Module 14 and 31.15
- Report of Multiple Format Linking Group (Note: Some modifications have been made to the examples in this section.)
- Bibliographic Cataloging: General MARC Field Policies: 76X to 78X - Linking Entries
776 - Additional Physical Form
In general, the 776 field is used to indicate that the title in the cataloging record is (or was) available in an additional format. The 780/785 fields should not be used when a simple format change (but no title change) has occurred, even if one of these formats has been discontinued in favor of another. An exception is made if a title change accompanies a format change; in this case, the 780/785 fields are used (see example below of The Japan Foundation newsletter).
In addition, CONSER policy is to prefer the use of the 776 ǂi to record the format of the record being referenced, rather than a 530 field. When upgrading a serial record substantially, GPO catalogers should update the 776 treatment, as shown below.
530 Some issues also available via Internet from the ASTOR web site.
776 1 ǂc Original ǂx 1076-8920 ǂw (DLC)sn 91023417 ǂw (OCoLC)23110031
[is updated to:]
For general guidance on updating 776 and related fields, see “For copy cataloging” in the section, 76X-78X in: Bibliographic Cataloging: General MARC Field Policies.
Cessation of Print Version but Continuation of Online Version
The 776 field (not 780/785 fields) also is used when a print version ceases publication but the online manifestation continues. This relationship is noted in ǂi of the 776 in both the print and online records. Cf. CONSER Cataloging Manual, Part 3, Special Types of Continuing Resources. Module 31, Remote Access Electronic Serials (Online Serials). Section 31.15, Linking Relationships.
Cessation of Print Version but Continuation of Online Version - Examples:
When a simple format change (but no title change) has occurred, the 780/785 fields should not be used even if one of these formats has been discontinued in favor of another.
Cessation of Serial Due to Both Format Change and a Title Change
When a publication ceases due to a format change and a title change, use a 776 field along with 780/785 fields.
Microform Serials and GPO Practices for Linkages
In the early 2000s, GPO began a practice of discontinuing microfiche serials when an online equivalent had been cataloged. The intent was to inform users that microfiche would no longer be distributed to depository libraries and that GPO would distribute only in EL format or possibly in conjunction with the print format (if cataloged). Below is an example of what the microfiche and EL records looked like after they were edited in the OCLC database.
Former, Discontinued Practice for Linking Microform Serials to Other Manifestations
The above practice was discontinued ca. 2005. In current practice, simple relationship information is provided in 776 ǂi rather than in 580 notes, as shown in th4e following examples.
Current Practice for Linking Microform Serials to Other Manifestations
Other Considerations for Linking Entry Fields: Parallel Formats & Works Not Described in Bibliographic Records
When linking works with 77X-78X fields, be careful to consider the same physical format for horizontal (776), chronological (780/785), and other related works (787).
Specifically for chronological (predecessor/successor) relationships reflected in 780/785, do not link to a different format when that chronological link can be made to the same format.
Works Linked but Not Described in Bibliographic Records
Also consider the admissibility of linkages to works for which no bibliographic records exist, as given in CONSER Editing Guide, Section E. 76X-78X, Linking Entry Fields General Information:
Linking entry fields may be used to provide notes and computer access for related titles for which there is no record online (e.g., a 780 field may be given for the earlier title when the title is known, even though there is no record on [i.e., in] the database).
When the cataloger knows for certain that another, related work exists, it must be included as a linking field entry in the record for the work being cataloged, whether or not it has been described in a bibliographic record.
856 - Electronic Location and Access
Spend time locating the best and most comprehensive URL (meaning "location") for a serial.
Some examples of such locations are given below, as these may appear unusual to catalogers who mostly catalog monographs:
|609214511||856 40 ǂ3 Latest edition only ǂu|
|845104850||856 40 ǂu|
|823178322||856 40 ǂu http://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo32752|
|682455267||856 40 ǂu http://purl.fdlp.gov/GPO/gpo19888|
Keep the PURLs of current (live) serials connected live to the agency Web site, but notify OAM to put the PURL on the scheduler, as instruct ted in the "Notification of LSCM’s Office of Archival Management (OAM) for Serials Harvesting" section of this article.
When issues of a serial appear online in separate locations, then two PURLs are allowed, typically to provide access to “Current issue(s)” and “Archived issues.”
Single-record vs. Separate-Record Approach and PURLs
Older GPO records for print, microfiche, or direct electronic resources that followed the single-record approach may contain PURLs. The cataloger may need to update such an existing record for a tangible format which was created according to the single-record approach and thus contains a PURL (even though the cataloger would not include a PURL when creating a new record for a tangible format). A PURL in a single-record approach description should match that of the online manifestation of the same work or expression (or title, to use a simpler term). The cataloger often needs to “split” the single-approach record into two records into one each - the existing tangible record and a new online record. Therefore, when creating the new online record for such a title, use the same PURL that is found in the tangible record. Do not create a new PURL for this same title. It is acceptable to use the older formulated PURL.
Records that reflect different works or expressions should have different PURLs. Each work or expression in an online manifestation should have its own PURL (or PURLs). When a title changes, a bibliographic record that reflects the new work or expression in online format is created with a new PURL. To summarize: New records for title changes receive new PURLs.
See SOP 422 – Electronic Access and Location in Bibliographic Records [internal GPO document] for more information.
Appendix A: Bibliographic File Maintenance: Deletion of Records from the CONSER Database
Duplicate CONSER authenticated serial records are occasionally discovered. These may either be exact accidental duplicates, or multiple records that were created by GPO for what is now considered a minor title change, which may better serve the catalog and its users by being consolidated into one record. Normally, the cataloger would report the duplicate record to OCLC for deletion. However, OCLC cannot delete an authenticated CONSER record. Therefore, the cataloger must first delete the record from the CONSER database, then report this same record to OCLC for deletion. (CONSER Editing Guide C7.4, C7.4.2) To delete records from the CONSER database, catalogers should proceed as follows:
- Consult the CONSER Editing Guide (CEG): revised section C7: Duplicate Records as of March 2016, which should be updated in Cataloger’s Desktop in the May 2016 update). As needed, also consult the CEG: section C8: Record Consolidation/Separation. Specific procedures are found in C7.5, but catalogers should ensure that they have the necessary background found in all of C7, and, if needed, in C8.
- If the record to be deleted is an LC record, follow the procedure in the CEG section C7. Library of Congress records may be identified by: (a) containing a 050 field with second indicator “0” (zero), and (b) containing LC’s symbol, DLC, in the 040 field.
- If the record to be deleted is not a Library of Congress record, the cataloger may delete the record from the CONSER database following the procedure in CEG section C7.5. A record created by GPO may always be deleted. Records created by other institutions may also be deleted. Do not, however, delete another institution’s record if it was created first, and an accidental duplicate was created after it. Instead, retain the earlier record and delete the later one.
Appendix B: Where to Find Certain CONSER Procedures
Consult relevant sections of the CONSER Editing Guide (CEG) and CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM), for specific procedures, especially for those dealing with older serial records.
CEG C2.2.2 as of March 2016, which should be updated in Cataloger’s Desktop in the May 2016 update): To correct or replace an LCCN in a CONSER record. (in section titled: Record control number)
CEG C8. Record Consolidation/Separation
CCM 21.5. Record consolidation and separation
CEG C9. Converting Pre-AACR2 Records to AACR2 (useful also for converting to RDA)
CCM Module 22. Interpreting pre-AACR2 serial cataloging records
CCM 21.4. Pre-AACR2 record modification
CEG C10. Latest and Integrating Entry Records
CEG C7. Duplicate Records (also deals with latest entry records, as well as with permissible duplicates)
CCM 21.7. Deleting records
CCM 21.8. Upgrading minimal, core, and 'lccopycat' records
CCM 21.10. Revising AACR2 records to “back-up” the description
CCM Module 32. Microform serials