34.1.1.  Monograph, integrating resource or serial treatment

As with any other kind of publication, a legal publication must meet the criteria identified in LCRI 1.0 in order to be considered a serial.  Is the title issued in successive parts?  Do the parts carry unique numeric or chronological designations?  Is there no predetermined conclusion?  Other modules in the CONSER Cataloging Manual (CCM) address these fundamental issues.  Generally the process of determining whether a title meets the definition of a serial is a relatively simple one.  A monthly bar association newsletter, with number and date designations clearly printed on the cover, easily meets the criteria.  A scholarly journal issued by an American law school readily conveys its chronological designations.

Many primary source materials in law are serial publications.  LCRI 1.0 specifically identifies court (law) reports and session laws as serials.  They are issued in successive parts and there is no information that the resource will be complete in a finite number of parts.

34.1.2.  Loose-leaf publications

There is a whole body of legal literature—loose-leaf publications—that does not fit the definition of what constitutes a serial or a monograph.  In a field where the texts of the law are continually being interpreted, revised, and reinterpreted again, it is important to have the most current wording of the law and its related court decisions, regulations, etc.  The loose-leaf format is particularly well-suited for legal publications because it is easy to update the contents of a text simply by removing, substituting, and adding pages with new information.  With the revision of AACR2, most of these publications fall into the new category of integrating resources.

When cataloging an item issued in a binder, one must first determine whether it is cumulating or interfiling.  Was it issued on pages with punched holes and placed in a binder to save on binding costs, or is it a successively-issued serial simply stored in binders, perhaps to be bound later, or is it a publication meant to be updated by integrating pages into the text with new or revised material?  In the first instance, the rules for monographs apply; in the second, the rules for serials apply, and in the third instance the rules for integrating resources apply.  An updating loose-leaf may consist of only one volume, which regularly receives a packet of pages (often called releases) to interfile with or to replace existing pages.  More complex loose-leaf publications are loose-leaf services, which are multivolume works that, in addition to the main body of text, receive newsletters, bulletins, and special pamphlets, and require transfer binders for storing some of the superseded pages.  The updates are received regularly and usually have numerical or chronological designations, as do serials.

Rules for updating loose-leafs are included in AACR2 Chapter 12, and more information will be provided concerning them in future modules of the CONSER Cataloging Manual.  For many years, prior to the 2002 revision, catalogers used Hallam’s standard work, Cataloging Rules for the Description of Looseleaf Publications, which provided instructions for cataloging of loose-leaf publications as monographs.  Hallam’s work also contains instructions on the treatment of loose-leaf services, which are not found in the AACR2 revision, but are included in LCRI 1.0.  This LCRI also enumerates special criteria for analyzing when a loose-leaf title could be considered a serial.  A loose-leaf publication may be cataloged as a serial if it meets the "definition of a serial whose issues remain discrete even though they are to be stored in a binder," or when its "binders are issued successively even though the contents filed into each binder may be updated in integrating fashion until the next binder is issued."

Most loose-leaf legal publications encountered by catalogers should be cataloged as integrating resources.

34.1.3.  Uniform titles

Serials catalogers are familiar with the use of uniform titles as a means of differentiating between publications with identical titles (see Module 5).  Legal publications rely heavily on uniform titles which function more as form headings, to bring together different manifestations of works.  For some types of publications, such as constitutions, the general rules for uniform titles apply.  For others, such as collections of laws and treaties, special rules apply (see AACR2 25.15-16).  The instructions that follow specify when a uniform title should be used and how it is constructed.

See also:

Module 34.  Legal Serials