Once the title proper for the serial has been selected and transcribed in field 245 , consider whether additional title access is necessary.  Are there variant forms of the title appearing on a source other than the chief source?  Might somebody search for the title in a form different from the form in which the title has been transcribed?  Would it be useful to give access to a portion of the title?  Access for such titles is given in the cataloging record in the form of "variant titles."  Access to variant titles is given because the user of the cataloging record, be it another cataloger, a reference librarian, or a library patron, might search for the serial under the variant form of the title.  The presence of variant titles can also be essential for the identification of the serial, particularly when they contain minor changes to the title proper.

Variant titles are input in field 246 , which allows for the generation of a note and/or an added entry.  The first indicator determines the generation of a note and/or an added entry; the second indicator specifies the type of title given and may be used to generate a "display constant" for part of the note (e.g., "Cover title:").  Subfield $i was newly defined in 1995 ( FN 1) for the addition of specific introductory wording that is not available in second indicator values 2-8 (e.g., $i Some issues have title: ...).  For complex situations (e.g., those in which more than one title would be given in a note), the note is given in field 500 and field(s) 246 are supplied to provide added entries.

Notes and added entries are prescribed by the rules in certain cases; when not prescribed, consider the library’s needs and give what seems appropriate.  The rules governing notes and added entries for variant titles:  AACR2 12.7B4.1-2 (notes) and AACR2 21.30J1-2 (added entries).  The rules are very broad, allowing for cataloger’s judgment.  LCRI 21.30J provides additional guidance and specifies when added entries must be made.  In general, notes for variant titles are given to justify added entries and to help identify the title being cataloged.  Added entries are necessary for card or book catalogs to provide additional access to the title.

The variant title may also provide "machine access" (i.e. searchability in an online system), whether or not an added entry or note is to be generated.  Since "machine access" varies from system to system, the capabilities of the system being used (national and local) must be considered when creating variant titles.  Very common titles, such as "Proceedings" or "Report" may not be searchable or may produce too many ‘hits’ to provide a useful access point.

See also:

Module 7.  Variant Titles and Title Added Entries (Fields 246, 245 and 730/740/700-711)