Remote access electronic serials are those serials available via the Internet and other networks.  They are also referred to as online serials, electronic serials and e-serials throughout this module.  Except for "single-record approach" guidelines in 31.2.3, instructions in this module concern creation of separate records for remote access electronic serials.  CONSER policies for record creation and modification are reflected in the text and include guidelines developed in 2003 for the aggregator-neutral record.  Many CONSER members and LC staff contributed to the revision and review of this module in 2003, their comments and suggestions were invaluable and are very much appreciated.

This module will discuss

Cataloging of electronic serials which are accessed remotely by computer

Sources of information for descriptive cataloging

Areas where the cataloging is similar and where it differs from that of print serials

CONSER cataloging guidelines for online versions of printed serials, including policies on the aggregator-neutral record



Chapter 1

Chapter 9

Chapter 12

Appendix D.  Glossary


Section E. MARC 21 Format for Serials as Applied Within CONSER

Appendix N. Special Physical Formats

Additional Resources

Krol, Ed.  Adapted by Bruce Klopfenstein.  The Whole Internet User’s Guide & Catalog.  Academic ed.  Belmont, Calif. : Integra Media Group, c1996.  (Cited as Krol)

Guidelines for the Use of Field 856. Prepared by the Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress.  Rev. Mar. 2003.  URL:

NetLingo Dictionary of Internet Words: A Glossary of Online Jargon with Definitions of Terminology & Acronyms.  NetLingo, Inc., c1995-2000. URL: (Cited as NetLingo)

The Word Spy. Logophilia, Ltd., c1995-2003. URL:

Source of Title Note for Internet Resources. Subcommittee on the Source of Title Note for Internet Resources Cataloging Policy Committee Online Audiovisual Catalogers, Inc., Third Revision, 2005. URL:

BIBCO Participants Manual. Appendix A, Integrating Resources, a Cataloging Manual. Program for Cooperative Cataloging. Aug. 2003. URL:

Counter Code of Practice. 3, Definitions of Terms Used. COUNTER. Dec. 2002. URL:

Description of Entities and Elements for the Electronic Resources Management Initiative. Data Elements and Definitions. The Digital Library Federation Electronic Resource Management Initiative, Data Elements and Definitions Working Group. July 18, 2003. URL:

Guidelines for Coding Electronic Resources in Leader/06. Prepared by the Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress. URL:

Weitz, Jay. Cataloging Electronic Resources: OCLC-MARC Coding Guidelines. URL:

Final Report. Program for Cooperative Cataloging, Standing Committee on Automation, Task Group on Linking Entries. Feb. 2005. URL:

Definitions of terms used in this module

Aggregator:  A company that provides digitized access to the content of many different serials and other resources, often from a variety of different publishers.  Aggregators may also be called by other terms, including but not limited to:   distributors, vendors, or secondary publishers.  Aggregators provide access to digitized material through a searchable database.  Generally the collections that aggregators produce fall into two different categories:  those that provide access to complete issues of serials and those that contain the text of selected articles from serial issues.  (CCM)

Aggregator database:  The searchable collection of digitized material produced by an aggregator.  (CCM)

Aggregator-neutral record:  A catalog record representing all versions of a resource made available by multiple online providers.  (CCM)

Anonymous FTP:  (File Transfer Protocol).  Allows retrieval of electronic resources from a remote site without requiring a user ID or password.  (CCM)

ASCII:  American Standard Code for Information Interchange.  A standard character-to-number encoding scheme used widely in the computing industry.  The term “ASCII” is also used to refer to electronic files that consist only of plain text.  (CCM)

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

Blog:  A Web site (or section of a Web site) where users can post a chronological, up-to-date entry of their thoughts.  Basically, it is an open forum communication tool that, depending on the Web site, is either very individualistic or performs a crucial function for a company.  (Netlingo)

Born-digital:  An adjective describing a document that was created and exists only in digital format.  (The Word Spy)

Browsers:  Software programs for reading hypertext documents.  Browsers are mounted locally either on site for terminal mode or on the user's PC.  Netscape, Internet Explorer, and Lynx are examples of hypertext browsers used to view World Wide Web documents.  Netscape and Internet Explorer are graphical browsers, Windows- or Mac-based; Lynx is a text-only terminal mode browser.  They all allow a user to read and follow hypertext links specified in a document.  They vary in their ability to handle graphic or sound files.  (CCM)

Client:  A software application that works on your behalf to extract a service from a server somewhere on the network.  (Krol)

Computer file:  See Electronic resource.

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

Direct access (Electronic resources):  The use of electronic resources via carriers (e.g., discs/disks, cassettes, cartridges) designed to be inserted into a computerized device or its auxiliary equipment.  (AACR2)

Electronic mailing list:  Internet software that automatically processes commands in an email forum environment.  It provides for automatic mailing of electronic serial issues to subscribers and handles messages sent to and from discussion lists.  (CCM)

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)

Email (electronic mail):  A system whereby a computer user can exchange messages with other computer users (or groups of users) via a communications network utilizing a standardized protocol.  Some electronic journals are available via electronic mail subscriptions, either through an electronic mailing list or by direct email from the distributor of the serial.  (CCM)

File (Electronic resources):  A basic unit in which electronic resources are organized and stored.  See also Electronic resource.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol):  A protocol that defines how to transfer files from one computer to another; also the access method used to move files from a remote location to a local site for use.  To retrieve files, the user initiates an FTP session by logging into a remote host computer, changing to the desired directory, and retrieving the files.  (CCM)

Gateway:  A computer system that transfers data between normally incompatible applications or networks.  It reformats the data so that it is acceptable for the new network (or application) before passing it on.  (CCM)

Home page (e-serials):  The hypertext document that serves as the "preface" for a service or publication mounted on the World Wide Web.  It is normally an introductory screen that provides general information about the institution maintaining the site, or a publication or group of publications available.  Hypertext links are included to access specific documents or files archived at the site.  (CCM)

Host computer:  A computer, also called a node, that directly provides service to a user.  (CCM)

Host name:  The address of the host computer on which a remote-access electronic resource resides.  (CCM)

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language):  A subset of Standard Generalized Markup Language (SGML).  The language in which World Wide Web documents are written.  (CCM)

HTML header:  Refers to the HEAD element of HTML source code specifications.  The HEAD element contains information about the current document, such as the TITLE element and keywords that may be useful to search engines, and other data that is not considered document content.  The TITLE element can be displayed separately from the document in the browser title bar.  (CCM)

HTML header title:  The title displayed in the title element of the HTML HEAD portion of an HTML document, sometimes used interchangeably with Source code title.  (CCM)  See also Source code title.

HTML source:  The underlying source code for an HTML document.  It includes HTML elements such as the HEAD, BODY, TITLE, and other coding which gives information about the document and/or determines how a document is displayed in a browser.  (CCM)

Hypertext Transfer Protocol (http):  Method of presenting information in which selected words or other document elements, when chosen, execute automatic links to related documents or files.  The linked documents on the World Wide Web may contain graphics, sound, or even moving images.  (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)

Internet:  The world-wide "network of networks" that are connected to each other, using the IP protocol and other similar protocols.  The Internet provides file transfer, remote login, electronic mail, news, and other services.  (Krol)

IP (Internet Protocol):  The most important of the protocols on which the Internet is based.  It allows a packet to traverse multiple networks on the way to its final destination.  Often, this is used in conjunction with TCP (Transmission Control Protocol), as in TCP/IP.  (Krol)

IP address:  The Internet Protocol or numeric address of a computer connected to the Internet.  It consists of four numbers separated by periods.  (CCM)

Link resolver:  Server software that accepts citations to articles and other items (often formatted according to OpenURL standard) and uses a context sensitive link to connect users to designated target resources such as full-text repositories, A&I, and citation databases, online library catalogs; and other Web resources and services.  (CCM)

Mirror site:  An alternative URI for accessing an electronic resource.  A mirror site might provide users in a particular geographic location better access than other URIs associated with the resource.

PDF:  Portable Document Format.  The file format of documents viewed and created by the Adobe Acrobat Reader, Acrobat Capture, Adobe Distiller, Adobe Exchange, and the Adobe Acrobat Amber Plug-in for Netscape Navigator.  This file format was developed to standardize formatting of documents that are used on the Internet.  (NetLingo)

Protocol:  A mutually-determined set of formats and procedures governing the exchange of information between different kinds of computers.  (CCM)

Provider:  A general term used throughout this module to refer to any company, publisher, or aggregator enabling access to digitized text.  (CCM)

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

Server:  Software that allows a computer to offer a service to another computer.  Other computers contact the server program by means of matching client software.  Also, the computer on which the server software runs is often called the "server."  (CCM)

SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language):  A standard for formatting textual documents so that they can be read by different document processing tools.  (CCM)

Source code:  The form in which a computer program or Web site is written.  On the Internet, for example, the source code for a Web page could contain any of  the following languages:  HTML, JavaScript, Java, or SGML.  (NetLingo)

Source code title:  Generally refers to the title element appearing in the underlying source code of a document.  (CCM)  See also HTML header title.

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol):  One of the protocols on which the Internet is based (a connection-oriented reliable protocol).  Often used in combination with IP (Internet Protocol) as in TCP/IP.  (Krol)

Telnet:  The Internet protocol for remote terminal connection service.  Telnet allows a user at one site to log in and interact with a system at another site just as if the user’s terminal were connected directly to the remote computer.  (CCM)

Title bar:  The colored bar at the top of each window that displays the program and file names.  (NetLingo)

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)

URI:  Uniform Resource Identifier.  Provides a standard syntax for locating files using existing Internet protocols as in a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) or by resolution of a Uniform Resource Name (URN)  (CCM)

URL:  Uniform Resource Locator.  Location information of an electronic resource expressed in a standardized format, which allows for electronic resources to be sent and received automatically.  The World Wide Web uses the URL as the basis of linking to other files and documents around the Internet.  A URL can be identified by a protocol such as "http."  (CCM)

URN:  Uniform Resource Name.  A URI that has an institutional commitment to persistence, availability, etc.  A particular scheme, identified by the initial string "urn:", that is intended to serve as a persistent, location-independent, resource identifier.  (CCM)

Usenet News:  Separate from the Internet but available with many Internet accounts, it's a worldwide set of over 12,000 bulletin boards, called "newsgroups."  Software called a "newsreader" is used to read and post.  (CCM)

Userid:  Sometimes called "user name," userid is short for "user identification."  This precedes the @ sign in an email address.  (CCM)

Weblog:  See Blog.

World Wide Web (WWW):  A hypertext-based system for locating and accessing Internet resources which presents materials to the user in the form of interlinked documents (which can include text, images, and digitized sound).  (CCM)

XML:  eXtensible Markup Language.  XML is a pared-down version of SGML, designed especially for Web documents.  It enables Web authors and Web developers to create their own customized tags to provide functionality not available with HTML.  (NetLingo)

See also:

Module 31.  Remote Access Electronic Serials (Online Serials)