31.2.1.  What resource is being cataloged and how is it issued?

LCRI 1.0 presents two questions that need to be answered before cataloging.  What resource is being cataloged, and how is the resource issued?  The first question refers to the fact that a Web site may offer many different resources, including access to a variety of serials, monographs, and integrating resources.  The cataloger should be clear on which resource has been selected for cataloging.  Does the cataloger’s institution require a record for the entire Web site or has the institution selected a serial residing on the Web site for cataloging?

31.2.2.  Serial or integrating resource?

The second question refers to how the resource is issued (see CCM Module 0: Introduction to continuing resources for a detailed explanation).  The term integrating resource was introduced with the 2002 revision of AACR2 and is defined as a bibliographic resource that is added to or changed by means of updates that do not remain discrete and are integrated into the whole.  Rules for integrating entry are used to record current forms of the title and headings when they change.  An updating loose-leaf publication is cataloged according to the rules for integrating entry.  In the world of online resources, many Web sites and databases are integrating resources rather than serials or monographs.  Some examples include:

Online public access catalogs or databases (e.g., OCLC WorldCat, ProQuest)

Online services (e.g., DIALOG, America Online)

World Wide Web home pages without designated parts (e.g., Serials in Cyberspace, LC Web site)

Discussion lists (e.g., SERIALST, AUTOCAT) unless the content is reformatted into designated issues

Like online serials, online integrating resources are also continuing resources that change over time.  These resources, however, are updated with new content continuously and do not publish separate designated issues with the new content.  Since the cataloging rules for integrating resources and serials differ, it is important for catalogers to make this distinction when first examining the resource for cataloging.

A resource issued as a serial in paper format may be issued as an integrating resource in online format.  For example, a scientific society’s membership directory may be issued in paper as an annually published serial with yearly designations.  The online version may be a database that allows members to update information continuously and does not display separate numbered issues.  Because there are no successive parts to the online version, it cannot be considered a serial; since updates are integrated into the whole resource without discrete parts, it is considered an integrating resource.

31.2.3.  Access to online versions

This section documents CONSER policies for digitized versions of print and other format serials:

a.  Non-cataloging approach:  the CONSER single record option

b.  Cataloging approach:  the aggregator neutral record

a.  CONSER single record option (non-cataloging approach:  giving access through the print/original record)

CONSER members may choose not to catalog online versions separately, but instead note the existence and electronic location of the online version(s) in the record for the printed serial (or, lacking that, in the record for another format, e.g., a CD-ROM serial).  The following rules of thumb give advice on when the single-record approach is a viable choice, but do not prohibit application of the single-record approach in any case.  The decision must be made by individual libraries, since it is not possible to require a library to catalog a particular online version and it is independently valid to note facts about an online version in the record for different versions.

The principles behind the rules of thumb are:  If the bibliographic record for the original version (print, CD-ROM, etc.) provides sufficient access for the online version, no matter what the differences are between the two, the single-record approach is a good alternative.  If the desired access points for the online and the original version differ, separate records may be more useful.  Separate records are always a permissible option.

The single-record approach is considered most valid when the online version contains sufficient full-text to be a satisfactory substitute and has no significant additional content.  That is, the single-record approach works best when the original and online versions can be considered equivalent manifestations.

The single-record approach is also commonly applied when the online version lacks full-text or has only selected full-text from the original, and is therefore not considered to be an adequate substitute.  The online site may not be considered worth cataloging separately in many such cases, so its existence and electronic location are noted on the record for the original, with appropriate indication of its relationship to the original version.

Separate records are preferred when the online version has significant additional content not present in the original.  The choice of a separate-record approach in such cases means that the versions are not considered equivalent and the difference of the online version from the original is significant to users.

MARC 21 coding in the single-record and separate record approaches compared:

Single-record approach

In the record for the original:

Code 008/22 (form of original item) and 008/23 (form of item) as correct for the original, not for the online version

Note the availability of the online version in field 530 (see also CCM 31.14.7 and 31.16)

Add a 740 (second indicator blank) title added entry or 7XX author/title added entry when the title of the online version differs

Provide the location of the online version in field 856

If a separate ISSN has been assigned to the online serial but a separate record doesn’t exist, add field 776 with subfields $t and $x (and/or subfields $a and $s if appropriate)

Optionally, an electronic resource 007 field may be added for the online version

Do not add an electronic resource 006 field for the online version.

(See CCM 31.20.3 for the record for ARC News (Redlands, Calif.).)

Separate record approach

In the record for the original:

Note the availability of the online version in field 530 (see also CCM 31.14.7 and 31.16)

Add a 730 title added entry or 7XX author/title added entry when the title of the online version differs

Link to the online record with field 776

Provide the location of the online version in field 856 (if not already present in the record)

In the record for the online version:

Describe the digital version using all appropriate fields

Add a 730 title added entry or 7XX author/title added entry when the title of the original differs

Link to the original version’s record using field 776

Give appropriate 856 fields

b.  Separate records:  the aggregator neutral record

CONSER implemented the aggregator-neutral record policy in July 2003.  The policy focuses on providing a bibliographic description of the serial as issued by the publisher or other original source of the content (such as a scholarly society).  The record representing the online version contains information applicable to all versions being distributed by all providers.  The practices for the aggregator-neutral record were intended, as much as possible, to be applicable to all online serials, whether or not they are represented in e-serial packages, and whether or not they have a print counterpart.  Certain elements may not be appropriate for some e-serials; for example, notes which refer to a print version would not be applicable to a serial which does not have a print counterpart.

Although the policy calls for the creation of one record for an electronic serial issued in multiple aggregations, there may be exceptions that will require separate records.  If the cataloger determines that the serials involved are really different works (e.g., content is significantly different), separate records should be created.

The aggregator-neutral record does not contain information specific to any one particular provider, with the exception of citing the package and format upon which the record was based.  Provider names are not added to uniform titles as qualifiers, given as name headings or mentioned in issuing body notes.  Notes about access restrictions, format, or system requirements specific to particular providers also are not given.  As CONSER catalogers consolidate existing multiple records for an online serial, the URL of all versions will be given on the remaining record.

The aggregator-neutral record was developed after surveying CONSER and non-CONSER librarians on the need for an OPAC record representing the online version of a print title.  Librarians told of problems with selecting and editing records from the national database to customize for local OPACs.  They needed a simpler record, adaptable to local access methods through use of record sets, serials management systems, and databases that provide full text or citations to serial content.

CONSER is applying the policy to titles in e-serial packages that present whole issues of digitized serials rather than to databases that are focused on article delivery.  Complete issue e-serial packages provide the best basis for creating a catalog record.  The PCC Third Task Group on Journals in Aggregator Databases helped develop a macro that will automate the creation of records for titles in article based databases.  The following table summarizes cataloging decisions made for the aggregator-neutral record and refers to the section of CCM Module 31 where more detailed information and field by field examples can be found.  Record consolidation guidelines are presented at the end of the table.

Guidelines for Record Creation and Record Consolidation:  Aggregator-Neutral Record


Creating an original record


Which provider site is the description based on?

Preferred list:

Publisher's site when it contains the full text.

Host or archiving site.  Prefer this site over the publisher's site when it contains the first issue and publisher's site does not.

In choosing between sites that present titles involved in a title change and those that don't, prefer the site that presents both titles (see CCM 31.18.2)

Record for the print.

Aggregations and databases which are article based and do not maintain issue integrity.




Code as for any online serial.  Use the beginning date of the print or original format as the beginning date of publication, if cited in the 362 field.



Give the ISSN of the electronic in $a; give the ISSN of the print in $y


130 / 240

Assign as for any serial, per LCRI 25.5B .

If the print format record has a uniform title, use the same qualifier as the basis for the qualifier of the online serial, whether or not the qualifying data relates to the online serial.

Do not use the name of the aggregator as a uniform title qualifier.



Record the title from the earliest available issue on the preferred source.



Make added entries for variants on other provider versions with the wording:

246 1 $i Issues from some providers have title: $a [Title]


$a, $b, $c

Record the first named place and publisher in the first or earliest available issue online.  The place/publisher should be applicable to all online versions and thus, should not reflect a particular digitizer or provider of an aggregation.

$c.  When first or last issue is recorded in 362 0, give first/last date of publication as found in that issue.



Record beginning and ending numbering or dates per rules and CONSER practice.  Do not use a "Coverage as of" note.  If the first issue is not in hand, give the beginning numbering or date of the print or other original format in a 362 1 note, if available:

362 1 Print began with Vol. 3, no. 1 (Jan. 1984).


440 , 490 , 8XX

Some aggregator names have been treated as series titles in series authority records.  Do not record these as series statements in the aggregator neutral record.



Record source of title proper and latest issue consulted notes as usual.  However, also add the file format (if there are multiple formats) and the provider version used for description.  See examples in CCM.



500 / 550

Do not note aggregators as the digitizer.



Do not use, unless restrictions apply to all versions and formats of the serial.  An example is a "classified" government document for which access is always restricted.  If specific access restrictions are considered useful in the CONSER record, give in $z of field 856.



In general, do not use this note, particularly for notes such as "Text (electronic journal)."



Provide a mode of access note, such as "Mode of access: Internet" or "Mode of access: World Wide Web."

Do not give system requirements notes unless the requirements are particularly unusual and would relate to all versions.


710 / 730

Do not make added entries for the name of aggregator or provider.



Give the applicable URLs for serial packages that present issues of the serial (i.e. those that preserve issue integrity).  Do not give URLs for databases that are article-based, unless that database served as the basis of the description.  If contents are split among multiple sites, give the appropriate URL for each with the issue coverage data in $3.


Record Consolidation and Deleting Duplicates

If multiple records exist for a title describing it as a part of several aggregator packages, one record should be selected for CONSER authentication and others reported for deletion.

Select one record to maintain:  prefer a CONSER record if one is available.  If there are multiple CONSER records, prefer a record authenticated by NSDP or ISSN Canada (see also CEG C7.3 for additional guidance on record selection).

Add the URL of the aggregation for which you are providing access and/or copy 856 fields from the records you are reporting for deletion and record them on the record you are keeping.

Remove fields that are aggregator specific, e.g., 710/730 or 440 for aggregator names; notes which only apply to one aggregator.

Authenticate the record if it is not a CONSER record; report the other records as duplicates.

31.2.4.  MARC 21 format and fixed field coding

Almost all electronic serials are textual in nature; therefore code "a" for "language material" in the leader/06 type of record code is used for most online e-serials.  A continuing resource 008 field is used to code serial characteristics and an electronic resource 006 field is added to code electronic fixed field elements.  The definition of type of record code "m" was changed in the late 1990s and some records coded "m" under the old definition may still exist on the utilities.  CONSER catalogers convert them to type of record code "a" if appropriate.  (See CEG Type of record (leader/06).  Other leader/06 codes and 008 fields are used with non-textual online serials; for those, see the CONSER Editing Guide .

Additionally, serial format records for textual electronic serials are identified and distinguished by a code indicating that the item cataloged is in electronic form.  Code "s" for "electronic" in the serial 008 was implemented in spring 2000 for "form of item" (008/23) and "form of original item" (008/22).  It is used in the same way that codes for microfilm and microfiche are currently used in those 008 bytes.

For the most part, CONSER considers electronic versions of a print publication to be a simultaneous version.  In the limited situations where it can be determined that the electronic version is a reproduction of the original, it is coded accordingly:

Form of item = Electronic

008/23 (Form of item):  s

Original form = Print

008/22 (Form of original):  #

If the form of the original item cannot be determined or if unsure, the codes are both coded "s" for electronic. This is the approach used for current serials issued both in print and online formats:

Form of item = Electronic

008/23 (Form of item):  s

Original form = Unknown

008/22 (Form of original):  s

OCLC added the new code "s" to the 008/23 of existing records in spring 2000.  For further details on fixed field construction, see the CONSER Editing Guide.

Code the fixed field beginning date based on data recorded in the 362 field.  For aggregator-neutral records, this may mean that the beginning date of the print version is recorded as the beginning date, if this information has been provided in an unformatted 362.

See also:

Module 31.  Remote Access Electronic Serials (Online Serials)