DATE: May 14, 1999

NAME: Seriality and MARC 21

SOURCE: CONSER Program, Library of Congress

SUMMARY: This paper presents three areas of MARC 21 that could potentially be affected by the introduction of seriality-related changes to the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd ed. Rev. The recommendations have yet to be approved.

KEYWORDS: Serials (BD), Seriality (BD), Leader/07 (BD), Field 008/34 (BD), Field 008/21 (BD), Field 260 (BD)


5/14/99 - Forwarded to the MARC Advisory Committee for discussion at the June 1999 MARBI meetings.

6/26/99 - Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion:
Coding Leader/07 and 008/21. The Committee did not take a clear stand because of the uncertainty in both the change in rules and in new forms of publications now emerging. However, it was generally agreed that it was important to look at practical advantages particularly in the ability to process records of any change that is considered because of the implementation cost. The AALL liaison will discuss the issues at the annual conference this summer, since law libraries have more looseleaf materials than any other type of institution. General consensus was that option 3 was not viable, and support for the other two options were mixed.
Field 260. Discussion generally favored defining an indicator to distinguish current and intervening publishers. It was noted by the AALL liaison that policy for law works is to change the 260 and use the current publisher and retain the information about the original publisher in a note.
Title change convention coding. It was questioned whether a new value was needed because the user can tell from the information in Leader/18 (Descriptive cataloging form) what rules were used. However, it was pointed out that the ISSN directors were interested in a new code for systems to select these. There was no clear consensus by the committee.

DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 114: Seriality and MARC 21


During 1998 Jean Hirons, CONSER coordinator, was charged by the Joint Steering Committee on the Revision of AACR (JSC) with recommending revisions to AACR2 to accommodate new forms of bibliographic resources and to broaden coverage of seriality in the code. A report, "Revising AACR2 to Accommodate Seriality," was submitted by Hirons in late March and released in May for review. (The report will be available at the JSC Web site in the near future.) In that report, Hirons not only recommends changes to AACR2 but also cites the possible impact on MARC 21. Appendix D in the report lists three basic areas of impact, which range from major to minor.

The purpose of this paper is to acquaint MARC Advisory Committee members with the recommendations and to begin a dialogue on what changes might be needed or desirable in MARC 21 if the recommendations are approved and incorporated into the code in the form of new or revised rules. Because the recommendations have yet to be approved, there can only be discussion at this point. The JSC is scheduled to meet in the fall to review the report and likely make some decisions about it, as well as review other documents relating to code revision.


2.1. Recommendations.

The recommendation from the JSC paper (1.1): Define two types of publication: 1) Finite: those that are complete or intended to be completed (e.g., monographs, static databases) and 2) Continuing: those having no predetermined conclusion (e.g., serials, loose-leaf for updating publications, additive databases, etc.).

Fields/codes affected: Leader/07 (Bibliographic level); potentially 008/21 and 006/04 (Serial type).

Current codes m (monograph) and s (serial) exclude a broad category of bibliographic resources, referred to as "integrating resources" in the JSC report. Currently most are being coded as 'm' and are not treated as serials.

A definition of "integrating resources" is the following:

Integrating resource is one that is added to or changed by means of updates that do not remain discrete and that are integrated into the whole. The updates may be separately issued (e.g., loose-leafs), or integrated by the publisher (e.g., an electronic database or Web site).

2.2. Impact.

Coding the Bibliographic Level is very important in that with the Leader/06 Type of record code it determines the 008 (in the case of serials). It is also critical to cooperative cataloging programs, such as CONSER, which cover only those records with a certain bibliographic level code (CONSER records are only those coded as 's').

Because of the importance of this byte and the difficulty for systems and large databases, such as OCLC, to make changes in the leader, this recommendation has a potentially major impact on MARC.

Following are three possible ways of dealing with this recommendation in MARC 21, from the least to the greatest impact.

2.3. Option A. Least change approach.

2.3.1. Proposal. Retain codes 'm' and 's' in Leader/07 (Bibliographic level) as currently defined. Divide integrating resources based on a determination of which integrating resources are most like monographs (and most likely to be cataloged by monograph catalogers) and which are most like serials. One possible division would be:

code m = looseleafs, electronic resources that are irregularly revised
code s = electronic serials (e.g. journals, newspapers) and additive databases

Possibly add a code to the serial 008/21 (Serial type) for databases, e.g., code 'd' . In addition, a code could be added 008/18 (Frequency) for "continuously updated". (Optionally, the status quo could be retained and no new codes added.)

2.3.2 Rationale. Looseleafs are currently coded as 'm' and also are issued in revised edition. There are fewer records for Web sites, which may or may not have resource descriptions. Most databases are serials in print or CD-ROM format and the ISSN International Network recently decided to start assigning ISSN to databases on an experimental basis. Electronic journals are considered to be serials in the JSC report.

2.3.3 Pros and cons


Minimal impact on MARC 21 or systems
Retains status quo for loose-leafs
Recognizes that databases are closer to traditional serials
Would work well for cooperative cataloging programs
Can be implemented immediately


Biggest advantage is the minimal impact
Perpetuates the monograph/serial dichotomy and is not a good long-term approach
Database records would need to be converted to serial format
Potential confusion between types of electronic resources (e.g., when is a resource a Web site rather than an e-journal or database?). Difficulty in applying.

2.4 Option B. Expand code 's'

2.4.1. Proposal. Expand code 's' in Leader/07 to cover all continuing resources (includes any items with no predetermined conclusion, which also includes integrating resources). (This was the proposal made during 1998 in a paper on "Modified Model C"). Add new codes to 008/21 to include loose-leaf , database, web site (e.g., codes l, d, w) or a single code to indicate integrating resources (e.g., code 'i').

Field 008/21 is defined as follows:

/21 - Type of serial
A one-character code that indicates the type of serial.
# - None of the following
This code is also used for yearbooks and annual reports.
m - Monographic series
n - Newspaper
p - Periodical

2.4.2 Rationale. Would group resources based on their intention to continue and the likelihood for change. This could be a benefit for large databases, such as OCLC, because records need to be regularly updated through enhance and cooperative programs.

2.4.3 Pros and cons.


Minimal changes to MARC 21 (e.g., new codes in 008/21); redefinition of code 's'
Keeps all continuing resources together, including most manifestations of the same work (i.e., recognizes the concepts in the JSC report)
Better for serials control for systems that don't allow serials functionality (e.g. check-in) when a record is coded as a monograph
Integrating resources would be more consistently coded than under Option A


A large number of records on OCLC and other databases would need to be recoded.
Potentially negative impact on searching and retrieval because local systems use Bib level for searching and separating traditional serials from other resources.
Loose-leafs would potentially be split between those that are finite and those that are continuing.
Major impact on cooperative cataloging programs: would put a lot more into the "serials camp" (even though these resources would not be called "serials" according to AACR).

2.5 Option C: Define a third bibliographic level

2.5.1. Proposal. Define a new bibliographic level code "i" for integrating resources, regardless of whether they are finite or continuing. Either create a new 008 to be used with code "i" or use the serials 008.

2.5.2 Rationale. Integrating resources can be thought of as unique because they require their own separate cataloging rules. While most are continuing, they are neither serial nor monograph and might, therefore, deserve their own category in MARC 21.

2.5.3 Pros and cons.


Would distinguish integrating resources based on their intention to continue, rather than on their form.
Would group resources cataloged according to similar rules.
A new 008 could combine aspects of seriality and add new codes, as appropriate; alternatively, the serials 008 could accommodate most needs.
Less distinction needed between types of electronic resources.


Major impact on systems, shared databases might never be accomplished.
Would separate manifestations of the same work (because print and online would have different coding).
Does not recognize the concept of continuing resources, as expressed in the JSC report.
The bibliographic level codes are already a mixed bag. The addition of code "i" would add to this--e.g., codes m (monograph) and s (serial) would be based on intention to continue; code i (integrating) would be based on form of issuance; while codes b (component), c (collection) and d (subunit) are based on hierarchical levels.


3.1. Background.

Serials and other continuing resources have changes in the publisher and/or the place of publication. Current rules are to record the earliest place and publisher in the 260 field. While the earliest place and publisher are needed to aid in record matching and duplicate detection (because this is the most stable data), the latest publisher and place are needed by Acquisitions departments for ordering, claiming, and check-in. With integrated systems, the bibliographic record serves a critical role in serials control. The latest information is also more useful to reference librarians and patrons since it is used in abstracting and indexing services from which the majority of citations are taken. The JSC report calls for a more holistic approach to cataloging continuing resources that recognizes the need for both earliest and latest information in areas of the record that can be retrieved.

There are various ways in which this could be accomplished, which are discussed below. In all cases, changes other than the latest would be recorded in notes, if considered necessary.

3.2. Recommendations from the JSC report (2.10 and 2.11):

3.2.1. Place of publication. When the place of publication changes, without an accompanying change of publisher, include the latest place, in addition to the earliest, in the publishing area. Precede the earliest place with the word "originally" (or its equivalent in other languages) and enclose this word and the original place in brackets. Apply to all continuing resources.

3.2.2. Name of publisher. When the publisher changes, add the current place and name of publisher preceding the earliest place and name of publisher, separated by a full stop, space, dash, space (. -- ). Precede the earlier publisher or place and publisher with the word "originally" (or its equivalent in other languages) and enclose the entire statement in brackets. {Note: the ISBD(S) punctuation is merely suggestive.}

3.3. Option A. Repeat field 260 and use subfield $3 to specify current or original publisher.

The 260 field could be made repeatable so that the current publisher and place could be added to the record. Subfield $3 (Materials specified) could be defined to contain "original" or "current" (or whatever language is preferred in the cataloging rules) and/or the date of change. Use subfield $c (beginning date) only in the 260 for the earliest. Note: Only two fields would be used; intervening publishers would be recorded in notes, if considered necessary.


As first cataloged: 260  $a Boston, MA : $b Holt, $c 1983-

Place changes:      260  $3 original $a Boston, MA : $b Holt, $c 1983-
                    260  $3 current $a New York, NY :$b Holt.
Publisher changes:  260  $3 original $a Boston, MA : $b Holt, $c 1983-
                    260  $3 1997-  $a New York, N.Y. : $b Pergamom.

Alternatively, if necessary to indicate "originally" it could be included in a repeatable $a (for change in place) or repeatable $b (for change in publisher):

                     260  $a Boston, MA : $b originally $b Holt, $c 1983-
                     260  $3 1997- $a New York, N.Y. : $b Pergamon.

An advantage to this approach is that it would provide separate publishing statements for different publishers. In addition it could accommodate the date of the change by using subfield $3 for the information. However, it might be difficult to identify the field containing the latest data for system retrieval. How well it accommodates displays depends upon the final JSC recommendation concerning punctuation and syntax.

3.4 Option B. Repeat Field 260 with an indicator to specify current/original.

This option also would require making field 260 repeatable. Although both indicators have been defined, the first could be redefined and a previously unused value defined to show which publisher is included in the field. The first indicator was previously defined as Presence of publisher in imprint, while the second indicator was previously defined as Added entry/publisher relationship. Both were made obsolete in 1990. The first could be redefined as follows:

First indicator -- Type of publisher
        #             Original
        3             Current
As first cataloged: 260  $a Boston, MA : $b Holt, $c 1983-

Place changes:      260  $a Boston, MA : $b Holt, $c 1983-
                    260 3     $a New York, N.Y. 

Publisher changes:  260  $a Boston, MA : $b Holt, $c 1983-
                    260 3     $a New York, N.Y. : $b Pergamon.

This approach would be easier to identify the current publisher with an indicator value. However, it would require reusing a previously defined indicator position. If considered necessary to indicate dates of change, both a subfield $3 for such information could also be defined.


4.1. Background

The JSC report recommends that integrating resources and some electronic journals be cataloged according to conventions similar to latest entry, as applied prior to AACR. Latest entry records for successively-issued serials still exist on OCLC and other shared databases and some libraries are systematically trying to recatalog them to successive entry. In order to distinguish these older records from new records cataloged according to rules to be added to AACR2, some have recommended that a new value be added to the 008/34 and 006/07.

4.2. Issues

Field 008/34 is defined as follows:

008/34 - Successive/latest entry

A one-character code that indicates whether the serial was cataloged according to successive entry or latest entry cataloging conventions.

0 - Successive entry
A new bibliographic record is created each time a title changes or a corporate body used as a main entry or uniform title qualifier changes. The earlier or later title or author/title is recorded in a linking 780/785 field in each record.
1 - Latest entry
The serial is cataloged under its most recent title or issuing body (pre-AACR cataloging rules). All former titles and/or issuing bodies are given in notes (fields 247, 547, and 550).

It needs to be considered whether the definitions could be changed to take out reference to AACR2 and use value 1 for both pre-AACR2 latest entry and AACR2 latest entry. Alternatively a new value could be defined. Questions to be asked are:

- Is it necessary to identify latest entry using AACR2 versus latest entry as previously defined?

- What impact is there on systems if value 1 were used for both situations?

- What is this element used for?

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