Catalogers today are faced with a broad spectrum of materials to catalog that often defies obvious distinctions.  One of the first and often most difficult decisions that must be made is to determine what the item in hand is and what set of rules to apply to its cataloging.  Some resources are very clearly one type or another.  A magazine, such as Newsweek, is clearly a serial; The Bible is clearly a monograph.  And the publication you are reading now, whether in print or in its electronic form, receives updates that are incorporated into the main publication, and is, thus, an integrating resource.

The categorization of treatment for many other resources is not so obvious and will require a certain amount of investigation and decision-making in order to determine the most appropriate treatment.  One treatment may be preferable over another due to the type of resource.  LCRI 1.0 contains policy decisions about the preferred treatment for certain resources for the purpose of consistency.

This module will discuss

The criteria that must be met for a publication to be cataloged as a serial

The types of publications that are serials or are treated as serials

Other types of resources that exhibit seriality but that are not continuing resources

How to determine treatment when there is no clear evidence

When to change treatment




LCRI 1.0



Additional Resources

MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data

Definitions of terms used in this module

Bibliographic resource:  An expression or manifestation of a work that forms the basis for bibliographic description.  A bibliographic resource may be tangible or intangible.  (AACR2)

Conference:  1. A meeting of individuals or representatives of various bodies for the purpose of discussing and/or acting on topics of common interest.  2. A meeting of representatives of a corporate body that constitutes its legislative or governing body.  (AACR2)

Continuing resource:  A bibliographic resource that is issued over time with no predetermined conclusion.  Continuing resources include serials and ongoing integrating resources.  (AACR2)

Database:  A collection of logically interrelated data stored together in one or more computerized files, usually created and managed by a database management system.  (MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data)

Distinctive title:  A title that appears in addition to the title proper, is unique to an issue, and is often related to the topic or theme of that issue.  (CCM)

Integrating resource:  A bibliographic resource that is added to or changed by means of updates that do not remain discrete and are integrated into the whole.  Integrating resources may be finite or continuing.  Examples of integrating resources include updating loose-leafs and updating Web sites.  (AACR2)

Loose-leaf publication:  See Updating loose-leaf.

Monograph:  A bibliographic resource that is complete in one part or complete or intended to be completed within a finite number of parts.  (AACR2)

Multipart item:  A monograph complete, or intended to be completed, within a finite number of separate parts.  The separate parts may or may not be numbered.  (AACR2)

Newspaper:  A serial publication which contains news on current events of special or general interest.  The individual parts are listed chronologically or numerically and appear usually at least once a week.  Newspapers usually have a masthead rather than a cover and are normally larger than A3 (297 mm x 420 mm.) in size.  (International Organization for Standardization)

Numbering:  The identification of each of the successive items of a publication.  It can include a numeral, a letter, any other character, or the combination of these with or without an accompanying word (volume, number, etc.) and/or a chronological designation.  (AACR2)

Periodical:  A serial appearing or intended to appear indefinitely at regular or stated intervals, generally more frequently than annually, each issue of which normally contains separate articles, stories, or other writings.  (AACR, ALA rules)

Serial:  A continuing resource issued in successive discrete parts, usually bearing numbering, that has no predetermined conclusion.  Examples of serials include journals, magazines, electronic journals, continuing directories, annual reports, newspapers, and monographic series.  (AACR2)

Seriality:  A dimension of resources that are not complete as first issued that refers to the fact that they are issued over time and thus, may exhibit change.  (CCM)

Series:  A group of separate items related to one another by the fact that each item bears, in addition to its own title proper, a collective title applying to the group as a whole.  The individual items may or may not be numbered.  (AACR2)

Updating loose-leaf:  An integrating resource that consists of one or more base volumes updated by separate pages that are inserted, removed, and/or substituted.  (AACR2)

Web site:  An electronic resource that consists of a collection of digital documents, commonly referred to as home pages, that are usually interconnected by the use of hypertext links.  Web site is a broad category of electronic resources, exclusive of resources that fit into other categories, such as databases or electronic journals.  (CCM)

See also:

Module 2.  What is a Serial?