SERIALITY, WAS: Re: Serial or Monograph? (Again!) Mitch Turitz 05 Feb 1998 19:25 UTC

(I am posting this reply to both SERIALST and AUTOCAT because I thought it
would be relevant to both listservs.  Sorry for the duplication. -- Mitch

Actually, as a direct result of the Crystal Graham/Jean Hirons paper
issue of "Seriality" is about to change.  It was reported that of the
papers presented at that conference the one on "Seriality" was the most
widely accepted.

At ALA Midwinter in New Orleans, Jean Hirons (editor of the CONSER Editing
Guide) asked for volunteers for several Task Forces to look at the
revision of Chapter 12 and other parts of AACR2 to change it as per her
and Crystal Graham's paper.  (This was a charge put to ALA from JSC the
Joint Steering Committee for the revision of AACR2, not an independent
decision).  Also rule 0.24, which is the heart of AACR2 ("Catalog from the
piece in hand") is being looked at for changes.  This will likely change
the entire concept of AACR2 (e.g. we may no longer be required to have
separate bibliographic records for different versions - but that's just my

The implications of this will be far-reaching.  The term serial will very
likely be extended to include loose-leafs, web pages, and other things of
an ongoing nature which were not considered serials previously.

Now for my opinion:
  We also need to look at WHY we catalog something as a serial:  so that
when the next issue/piece arrives, we would (hopefully) only need to check
the piece in, and not do all new cataloging for every piece.  If we are
doing successive entry cataloging for every new piece, it might serve us
better to catalog it as a monograph (e.g. a directory which is revised
every few years).  Think of the check-in person and what s/he has to go
through with the title the next time you catalog that thing in your hands.

-- Mitch

---------------YOU SAID----------------------
Date:    Wed, 4 Feb 1998 10:47:33 -0500
From:    New York Society Library <nysl@IX.NETCOM.COM>
Subject: Re: Serial or Monograph?  (Again!)

On Thursday, Jan. 29th, Regina Beach wrote,

> The rules for what constitutes a serial are in Chapter 12 of AACR2.

Actually, they're not there (except for the brief definition in Appendix
D).  The collection of policy determinations (similar in scope to the LC
rule interpretations) that define a serial are in the CONSER cataloging

> In order to be a serial, an item has to completely change in content.
> This is why looseleafs and databases are monographs technically, even
> though they act an awful lot like serials.

I don't know about a complete change of content.  In the CCM 2.4.3. it
"Consider the contents and nature of the publication.  Does the
publication contain the type of information that is likely to be issued on
a continuing basis? Statistics, directories, reports of activities or
research are all types of information that are likely to be issued
regularly. If the topic seems finite, of a limited duration, or very
specific, it is best to treat as a monograph."

This seems to suggest that the aggregate information can vary slightly or
be updated (like a directory that varies slightly from year to year),
without the necessity of wholesale changes found in journals with
brand-new content every issue.  With something like What color is your
parachute?, the format remains the same, some significant part of the text
probably remains constant, but each edition contains new information,
sources, contacts, (insights?) into the job market.  After all this time,
one can assume that the publisher plans to continue publication
'indefinitely' (as long as the product will sell, but isn't that a
criteria for virtually all commercial publications?).  It makes sense to
me to take a bunch of essentially similar monographic records (all with
virtually identical subject headings) and make one nice neat serial

> However, for now, a book that is constantly revised is a monograph
> according to AACR2.

Again, AACR2 is inadequate to determine seriality.  I'd use the CCM.

Steven Baumholtz
Head of Technical Services
New York Society Library
53 East 79th St. New York, NY 10021
(voice) 212.288.6900

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