While the numeric designation is sufficient to identify the serial, a chronological designation is also desirable and is given when present.  Consider this statement from the "NISO standard for a serial identifier" ( FN6):

Chronology identifies a specific date for one specific issue of a serial title.  Although it may not be needed for unique identification of a serial issue, it provides a check on the enumeration and also provides an alternative for access for serial issues requested by date only.

Many serials have only a chronological designation.

a.  Coverage dates:

A coverage date reflects the coverage of the contents and, when presented prominently and formally, is generally preferred over other dates appearing on the piece.  Coverage dates are often given with the title, such as Court Technology Reports, 1989 (Figure 8.11.).  They are most likely to be found on annual reports, directories, and other serials issued annually or less frequently.


Figure 8.11.

b.  Dated editions:

A word such as "edition" (or its equivalent) is sometimes given as part of the chronological designation, such as "1990 ed."

c.  "Cover dates":

These are the dates that are found on the covers of periodicals, such as the January 1989 issue of Ebony.   Cover dates are usually given alone on the cover and can serve as a "pull date" for stores that carry the current issues.  Frequently there is also a numeric designation found inside but the chronological designation is more meaningful to those looking for the current issue.  (See Figures 8.5a. and 8.6a.)

d.  Dates of conferences, sessions, or meetings:

Such dates will normally include the month, days, and year.  (See Figures 8.10a. & b.)   Example

While a conference date(s) may be used as a chronological designation, prefer to give a coverage date when there is one.  In Figure 8.12., "88" is a coverage date and is preferable to "September 26-29, 1988.  Since it is not clear that "88" represents a date, an explanation may be given in brackets.   Example


Figure 8.12.

A date that represents the publishing, release, or claim of copyright protection may occasionally be used as a chronological designation, but only when it identifies the issue, there is no numeric designation, and the publication appears to be a serial in all other respects (LCRI 1.0 ).

e.  Publication date:

The publication date consists solely of the year and usually appears with the publisher at the foot of the page or on the verso of the title page.

f.  Release dates:

Release or issuing dates consist of a month and year and generally appear on government publications and technical reports.

In Figure 8.13., Sept. 1990 is a release date.  This date also appears on the letter of transmittal following the title page.

500  ##  $aDescription based on: Sept. 1990.



Figure 8.13.

g.  Copyright dates:

The copyright date is a legal date that reflects the year in which the issue copyright protection has been claimed for that issue.  The date does not reflect coverage nor does it necessarily reflect the date of publishing.  The copyright date itself is not used as a designation, but it may be used, in the absence of any other date, to supply a chronological designation when it is clear that the resource is a serial.




Figure 8.14b.  Verso of t.p.

Figure 8.14a.  Title page


In Figure 8.14., the publication is clearly a serial and it is likely that the next issue will carry a date.  The copyright date has, therefore, been used initially to supply a chronological designation that was later changed.

362  0#  $a[1989]-

(362 later changed to:  [1990 ed.]- based on subsequent issue)


On piece:  © Ghana Tourist Board 2000

In record:

500  0#  $aDescription based on: [2000].

See also:

8.3.  Selecting the numbering