Technical Services Department Procedures Manual


Section 3E.3 :
Searching Guidelines for Serials
Searching serial titles is different than searching books. The records do not look the same and they do not behave like other types of publications. Serials have a remarkable propensity for change. Because serials are issued continuously the information presented on them may change. Such changes can appear in any area, title, numbering, issuing body, size, appearance, etc. They often have different manifestations, print, microform, CD-ROM, etc. Many serials do not have a title page, instead the title can be found on the cover or at the beginning of the text. They may have specific designations, numbering, dates, or combinations of both that distinguish each issue, and these designators may or may not be consistent. Serials are often related to other publications–as earlier titles, later titles, companions, section, language editions, etc.; they may even be related to monographs. Serials may have supplements, indexes, special issues, or may themselves be supplements, etc. These supplements, etc. may or may not be cataloged as serials.Searching a serial usually entails:

1. differentiating records that have the same title, and
2. finding related records that will effect the cataloging and thus access to the title(s);
3. how the serial is treated in our library.

There are also several sources that can be searched for serial titles that can aid in finding information and records for serial titles. In these instructions we will be concerned basically with two – our catalog (PAC) and OCLC.

Local Catalog – VOYAGER

1. Check under the serial’s title.
2. If you find an entry that you think matches the title you are searching check: title, edition (if present), publisher, year of publication, ISSN number. Because serials change so much you may not find an exact match in these areas.
3. If we have the item and it is not treated as a serial (series, set, etc.) – give to the cataloger.
4. Put a slip in the item and notate that there may be a match in our catalog.

OCLC Search

Use the following searches:

1. ISSN (International Standard Serial Number)
2. LC Card Number (if present)
3. Derived search key with qualifiers (are more exact than scan titles)
4. Scan title search.


Any of these searches may turn up multiple records. The ISSN may appear on more than one record, on linking entries, different formats (print, fiche), etc. The LC Card Number may duplicate on different formats such as serials, monographs, sound recordings, etc.

Dates. The dates appearing on a serial record are usually the date the publication began and/or ceased. Unless you are sure of the year that a serial began be careful with date qualifiers!

On all searches:

1. Once you decide on a record that you feel matches the item you have look at the following fields and compare them with the serial:

Bib lvl: s
022 — ISSN number
245 — the title proper of the serial  $h [General Material Designator] (if present)
250 — edition statement (if present)
260 — place of publication
300 — physical description
3xx — frequency, numbering
5xx — notes for other information
780 — preceding title
785 — succeeding title

2. Select the record(s) you think matches. If there are multiple hits — see the section below on deciding between multiple records.

4. Search all series (440, 490 0_, 8xx if 490 1_ is present) in the Name Authority File and print the matching record.  Determine if we treat the series the same in our library.  See Section on – Authority Searching Guidelines.

Deciding between multiple bibliographic records. You can use the following priorities to decide between records that match the item you have when you get more than one hit on a search.

1. On multiple hits look at the truncated screen and see if you can eliminate any titles by the format  designator. Example: if you are searching for a print copy of a serial the microfiche or the computer file format is not an exact match for the title. It may be a near match which is useful for cataloging.

2.  040 field. Look for DLC.
Desc: a
Bib lvl: s

3.  040 field. Other library’s symbol.
Desc: a
Bib lvl: s
Enc lvl: I
6xx fileds are present

4. For other member library records that do not fit any of the patterns above – Prefer as full a record as possible.

When in doubt ask for help!

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