30.3.1.  Deciding which issue to use

The basis of description for any serial is the first or earliest issue, i.e. the issue with the lowest designation, as described in CCM 3.1.  According to 12.0B1 the source of description should be associated with the first or earliest issue as opposed to a source associated with the whole serial or a range of issues.  Remember that the cumulative nature of many electronic serials may mean that the "earliest" issue is no longer available at the time of cataloging.  For example, if the publisher begins publishing with a current issue and then issues regular cumulations until a disc is full (which could take several years), it may be unclear whether the first published issue is in hand if earlier discs were not part of the subscription or were returned to the publisher (in accord with the restrictions in the licensing agreement).

Sometimes a retrospective disc is published to cover previous years of the print serial and CONSER catalogers may "back up" the description for the electronic serial equivalent.  For further instructions, see CCM 30.9.

Like print serials, pilot or demo discs are sometimes issued for electronic serials.  As described in CCM 3.1.2, do not base the description on such introductory issues.  Instead, describe the publication from the first "real" issue and provide a note mentioning the pilot or demo issue.

30.3.2.  Determining the chief source of information

With the 2001 amendment of AACR2, the emphasis on using the “title screen” as the chief source has changed.  AACR2 9.0B1 states that the chief source is the resource itself.  Information can be taken from:

"... formally presented evidence (e.g., title screen(s), main menus, program statements, initial display(s) of information, home page(s), the file header(s) including "Subject:" lines, encoded metadata (e.g., TEI headers, HTML/XML meta tags), and the physical carrier or its labels), including information that has been uncompressed, printed out, or otherwise processed for use.  If the information in these sources varies in degree of fullness, prefer the source that provides the most complete information."

The 2002 amendment of AACR2 included the direction in 12.0B2 to specifically prefer the physical carrier or its labels as the chief source of information for direct access electronic serials.  In contrast with earlier AACR2 instructions for cataloging direct access resources, the current rules focus less on the title screen (though a title screen may still be a chief source, if appropriate) in favor of "formally presented evidence" and a source that provides the most complete information.  The instruction in 12.0B2 to prefer the label favors a source that is more visible to all staff that might be handling the material, from check-in to cataloging staff.

The prescribed sources of information laid out in 9.0B2 for title, edition, and publication details are:  Chief source of information, information issued by the publisher, creator, etc., container.  This gives the cataloger a wide range of sources from which to choose in selecting sources for the various areas of description.  Information for the other areas, type and extent of resource, series, notes, standard number and terms of availability can be taken from any source, including sources not part of the resource itself (such as a published description of the resource.)

If cataloging information is not available from the resource itself, it can be taken from other sources in this order of preference:

printed or online documentation or other accompanying material (e.g., publisher’s letter, "about" file, publisher’s Web page about an electronic resource)

information printed on a container issued by the publisher, distributor, etc. (AACR2 9.0B1).

Although AACR 9.0B2 states that information must be bracketed if it doesn’t come from a prescribed source, in practice, bracketing would rarely be used in the descriptive cataloging of electronic resources due to the multiplicity of sources allowed.

30.3.3.  Source of title proper

AACR2 9.1.B2 and 9.7B3 require that the source of the title proper always be given for electronic resources, even if the title is taken from the prescribed chief source (e.g., disc label).  This stipulation is unlike that for printed serials for which the source of a title proper note is required only when it comes from a place other than the title page.

500 ## $a Title from disk label.

500 ## $a Title from disc label.

[This spelling of "disc" is used for optical media, e.g., CD-ROM]

If the record has a "Description based on" note because the "earliest" issue is not in hand for cataloging, combine these two notes in the last 500 note (see CCM 30.9.)

Figure 30.1.  Title screen and Disc label titles vary

245 00 $a PsycLIT $h [electronic resource].

246 1# $i Title on title screen: $a PsycLit database

246 3# $a Psyc Lit

500 ## $a Title from disc label.



See also:

Module 30.  Direct Access Electronic Serials