The term direct access electronic serials refers to serials accessed directly via a physical carrier, such as CD-ROMs or floppy disks.  The rules for cataloging these serials have been evolving and will continue to evolve as computer technology changes and as we determine the best ways to handle the new cataloging challenges encountered with this medium.  This module will be revised on a regular basis to reflect both changes in the technology and changes in cataloging policies for this medium.

This module will discuss

Cataloging of serial electronic resources in CD-ROM and floppy disk formats

Areas where the cataloging differs from that of print serials

Aspects of the cataloging that are still under discussion



Chapter 9

Chapter 12


Appendix N

Additional Resources

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.  c2004  (

Computer Software Description. Bethesda, Md. : NISO Press, 1993 (ANSI/NISO Z39.67-1993)  (ANSI/NISO Z39.67-1993)

Freedman, Alan.  The Computer Glossary. 9th ed.  New York : AMACOM, 2000.  (Freedman)

Microsoft Press Computer Dictionary. 5th ed. Redmond, WA : Microsoft Press, c2002.  (Microsoft)

MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data

Definitions of terms used in this module

Accompanying material:  A complementary part of a software package, physically separate from the software and frequently in a different medium, such as a user's manual accompanying a computer disk.  Materials that accompany computer software include documentation of various kinds, codebooks, reference cards, keyboard templates, maps, audiocassettes, tutorials, and other items.  (ANSI/NISO Z39.67-1993)

ASCII:  Acronym for American Standard Code for Information Interchange.  A coding scheme that assigns numeric values to letters, numbers, punctuation marks, and certain other characters.  By standardizing the values used for these characters, ASCII enables computers and computer programs to exchange information.  (Microsoft)

CD-ROM:  Acronym for compact disc read-only memory, a form of storage characterized by high capacity (roughly 600 megabytes) and the use of laser optics rather than magnetic means for reading data.  (Microsoft)  See also Optical disc (Electronic resources).

Compact disc:  Also called an optical disc.  A nonmagnetic, polished metal or plastic disk used to store digital information.  The disk is read by an optical scanning mechanism that uses a high- intensity light source, such as a laser, and mirrors.  (Microsoft)  See also Optical disc.

Computer file:  See Electronic resource.

Computer optical disc:  The term used in AACR2 cataloging as the special material designation to designate CD-ROM.  (CCM)  See also Optical disc (Electronic resources).

Container:  Any housing for an item, a group of items, or part of an item that is physically separable from the material being housed.  (AACR2)  See also Physical carrier.

Database:  1) Set of interrelated files that is created and managed by a database management system.  2) Any electronically-stored collection of data.  (Freedman)

Direct access (Electronic resources):  The use of computer files via carriers (e.g., discs/disks, cassettes, cartridges) designed to be inserted into a computerized device or its auxiliary equipment.  See also Remote access (Electronic resources).

Disc (Electronic resources):  See Optical disc (Electronic resources).

Disc label:  See Label.

Disk (Electronic resources):  A magnetic disk, usually encased in a protective plastic jacket or rigid case, used by computerized devices for storing and retrieving electronic resources.  Disks can either be fixed or removable.  See also Floppy disk.

Diskette:  See Floppy disk.

Documentation:  Information intended for use with the software package that describes the content or structure of the software or explains how to use it.  Also known as user manual, reference manual, etc.  Forms a part of accompanying material.  (ANSI/NISO Z39.67-1993)

DOS:  Disk Operating System.  1) Generic term for operating system.  2) Single-user operating system for the PC, PS/1 and PS/2 series from IBM.  DOS is also called PC-DOS to distinguish it from MS-DOS, the version for non-IBM PCs.  (Freedman)

DVD:  Digital versatile disc or digital video disc (DVD), a 4 3/4-in. (12-cm) disc used for the storage of digital data.  The successor media to the compact disc (CD), a DVD can have as much as 26 times the storage capacity of a CD.  When compared to CD technology, DVD also allows for better graphics and greater resolution.  The disc is covered with a protective, transparent coating so that it can be read by a laser beam.  As with other optical disks nothing touches the encoded portion, and the DVD is not worn out by the playing process.  Because DVD players are backward compatible to existing technologies, they can play CD and CD-ROM discs; however, CD players cannot play DVD and DVD-ROM discs.  (Columbia)

DVD-ROM:  Digital Versatile Disc Read Only Memory.  DVD-ROM discs hold computer data and are read by a DVD-ROM drive hooked up to a computer.  These disks can only be read—the disks are impressed with data at the factory but once written cannot be erased and rewritten with new data.  (Columbia)

Edition:  Electronic resources:  All copies embodying essentially the same content and issued by the same entity.  (AACR2)  See also Version.

Electronic resource:  Material (data and/or program(s)) encoded for manipulation by a computerized device.  This material may require the use of a peripheral directly connected to a computerized device (e.g., CD-ROM drive) or a connection to a computer network (e.g., the Internet).  (AACR2)

Floppy disk:  Removable storage medium.  Also called a diskette, the medium is a single round disk of flexible, tape-like material housed in a square envelope (5 1/4") or (hard plastic 3 1/4") cartridge.  (Freedman, edited)  See also Disk (Electronic resources).

Hardware:  The physical components of a computer system, including any peripheral equipment such as printers, modems, and mice.  (Microsoft)

Jewel case:  A hard plastic container often used to house a compact disc.  (CCM)

Joy stick:  Pointing device used to move an object on screen in any direction.  It employs a vertical rod mounted on a base that contains one or more buttons.  (Freedman)

Label:  Refers to any paper, plastic, etc., label permanently affixed to a physical carrier, or information printed or embossed directly onto the physical carrier by the publisher, creator, etc., of the resource, as opposed to those on the container or to any label added locally.  (AACR2)

LAN:  Acronym for local area network, a group of computers and other devices dispersed over a relatively limited area and connected by a communications link that enables any device to interact with any other on the network.  (Microsoft)

Licensing agreement:  A contract for use of software, which may include warranty, use limitations and other conditions for use.  (CCM)

Magnetic tape:  Sequential storage medium used for data collection, backup and historical purposes.  Like videotape, computer tape is made of flexible plastic with one side coated with a ferromagnetic material.  Tapes come in reels, cartridges and cassettes of many sizes and shapes.  (Freedman)

Memory:  The computer's working storage (physically, a collection of RAM chips).  All program execution and data processing takes place in memory.  (Freedman)

Menu:  List of available options on screen.  Selection is accomplished by highlighting the option with a mouse or cursor keys and clicking the mouse or pressing Enter.  (Freedman)

Mouse:  Puck-like object used as a pointing and drawing device.  As it is rolled across the desktop, the screen cursor (pointer) moves correspondingly.  (Freedman)

MS-DOS:  Microsoft-Disk Operating System.  Single-user operating system for PCs from Microsoft.  (Freedman)  See also DOS.

Operating system:  The software responsible for controlling the allocation and usage of hardware resources such as memory, central processing unit (CPU) time, disk space, and peripheral devices.  The operating system is the foundation on which applications, such as word-processing and spreadsheet programs, are built.  (Microsoft)

Optical disc (Electronic resources):  Any of several specific carriers delivering optically read data (e.g., CD-I, CD-ROM, Photo CD).  (AACR2)  See also Disk (Electronic resources).

Packaging information:  Information supplied on the physical packaging that is visible and eye-readable when the physical packaging is sealed.  (ANSI/NISO Z39.67-1993)

Peripheral:  In computing, a term used for devices, such as disk drives, printers, modems, and joysticks, that are connected to a computer and are controlled by its microprocessor.  (Microsoft)

Physical carrier:  A physical medium in which data, sound, images, etc., are stored.  For certain categories of material, the physical carrier consists of a storage medium (e.g., tape, film) sometimes encased in a plastic, metal, etc., housing (e.g., cassette, cartridge) that is an integral part of the item.  (AACR2)  See also Container.

Platform:  Hardware architecture of a particular model or computer family.  It is the standard to which software developers write their programs.  The term may also include the operating system.  (Freedman)

RAM:  Acronym for random access memory.  Semiconductor-based memory that can be read and written by the microprocessor or other hardware devices.  The storage locations can be accessed in any order.  (Microsoft)

Release:  See Version.

Remote access (Electronic resources):  The use of electronic resources via computer networks.  (AACR2)  See also Direct access (Electronic resources).

Search engine:  The software used for search and retrieval in databases.  This software determines the searching capabilities available to the user.  (CCM)

Software:   Instructions for the computer.  A series of instructions that performs a particular task is called a program or software program.  The two major categories are system software and application software.  (Freedman)

Software package:  The software, any related data files, the documentation, and any other accompanying material, all of which are available as a unit, although any of the components also might be available separately.  (ANSI/NISO Z39.67-1993)

Specific material designation:  A term indicating the special class of material (usually the class of physical object) to which an item belongs (e.g., sound disc).  (AACR2)

System details:  System information about an item.  Such information includes the presence or absence of certain kinds of codes or the physical characteristics of an electronic resource, such as recording densities, parity, or blocking factors.  (MARC 21)

System requirements:  Information about the hardware and software required to run a software item.  (ANSI/NISO Z39.67-1993)

Title screen (Electronic resources):  In the case of an electronic resource, a display of data that includes the title proper and usually, though not necessarily, the statement of responsibility and the data relating to publication.  (AACR2)

UNIX:  Multiuser, multitasking operating system from AT&T that runs on a wide variety of computer systems from micro to mainframe.  (Freedman)

Version:  A specific edition of software, often distinguished by a numeric or other designation (e.g., "3.1"; "Beta release"; "Revised"; "Macintosh version").  May also be termed an edition, level, release, update, or upgrade.  (ANSI/NISO Z39.67-1993)

See also:

Module 30.  Direct Access Electronic Serials