Periodicals and Serials



The term “Serials” has (at least) two connotations in our libraries:

  • It is a generic term for anything that is published on an ongoing basis (meaning that when the publisher issues the first one, their intent is that it will continue to be produced “forever”)
  • It is also used to describe a subset of serials that are housed in the “book stacks.” In this use, its intent is to distinguish these materials from periodicals (which are housed and arranged separately from the “book stacks”). Most of these items are published annually or less frequently than that.

In the remainder of this document, the latter meaning of the word will be identified by the phrase Stacks Serials. In general use, though, the appropriate meaning is usually apparent by context (after some experience and understanding has been gained).


Periodicals are, for our purposes, the subset of serials that are housed in the Periodicals collections in the three libraries (Main, Armstrong Library in McCardell Bicentennial Hall, and the Music Library in the Mahaney Center for the Arts). As a rule, these are published more frequently than once a year, but there are a few exceptions.

Added volumes

"Added volumes" is a subset of Stacks Serials. They are similar to periodicals in that each one has the same title as its compatriots. For example, the Union of International Associations publishes the Yearbook of international organizations. Presumably, each one of these yearbooks has the same title and they are only distinguished from each other by the (hopefully prominent) date. If you were to go to the stacks to find a collection of added volumes, they would be next to each other on the shelf, in date order.

Items cataloged separately

We have identified some of the serials we receive as being of more value to us if we can access the individual issues by title, subject, etc. To do that, each issue needs a separate bibliographic record in the same way that Journal of nutrition and Science News have separate bibliographic records. We still check the issues in on one record so we know when we miss one, but then each issue goes to the Catalog Dept. so they can find a record for that particular issue. Hopefully in the checkin note for these items is a phrase like “Catalog Separately” or “CatSep.”

After checking in one of these issues, insert a beige “NO RECORD IN CATALOG” flag between pages, and in the upper right-hand corner of the back page IN PENCIL write today’s date and “ser.” These items go on the “no record in catalog” shelf in Room 125.

Procedures (this section is still under construction)

Checking in

Checkin for most items is straightforward - find the correct record, get to the checkin card for the current print issues, find the correct box (which may be by date or by volume/issue number), press alt/c, change any information necessary (e.g., issue date), then press return or click "OK."

The hardest parts are finding the correct record and, once it's found, getting to the correct checkin record. Unusual situations:

  • Combined issue: if two issues are combined in one, it's important not only to change the issue number in that field, but also delete the box for the other issue. For example if the issue before you is number 2/3, and the next open checkin box is for number 2, highlight the box and press alt/c to check in, edit the issue number to say 2/3, and press return. Then, delete the box for issue number 3. (Otherwise, it will show up as a late issue that needs to be claimed.)
  • Supplements: Some issues come with an item that supplements the 'original' issue. Often it is a printed item, but it could be a CD, DVD, or other media. In most cases, all that is necessary is to use the "Insert" key to add another box on the checkin card (after the box for the 'original' issue). In the "Note" field, add "Supp:..." (without quotes) where the text after "Supp:" reflects the item. For publications that often have supplementary material of various types (Francais dans le monde is an example), there are notes indicating when to check in the supplements on their own card or even on a separate record.


There are (at least) three triggers to file a claim:

    • someone notices an issue that "should have arrived by now" hasn't (usually noticing an empty checkin-box when checking in a subsequent issue)
    • the claiming function in Millennium identifies an issue that should have arrived by now
    • a Library patron brings it to our attention.

If the trigger is either of the first two, first verify (by checking the shelf) that we did not receive the issue but neglect to check it in on Millennium.

Once it's verified that we really did not receive it, if we subscribe via Ebsco, check EbscoNet to see if their 'dispatched by publisher' history, or notes in their online information for the title, indicates that the issue has, in fact, been published. (Also verify that our subscription is in good standing.)

If the issue has been published, submit the claim while in EbscoNet. If it has not been published, put notes in the record and/or issue box as appropriate. If 'publication is delayed,' also highlight issue boxes that represent future issues and 'update' (ctrl/u) with an estimated date of receipt for the next issue.

If our subscription is not handled by Ebsco, contact the publisher and handle the situation appropriately.

Handy reference things (also under construction)

Keyboard shortcuts for checkin (with one or more issue boxes highlighted)

  • alt/c to check in the issue
  • ctrl/m to modify (e.g., to change the issue number)
  • ctrl/u to update (usually the expected date, or possibly numbering) of several issues (all highlighted)

853 subfield w values:

  • a - Annual
  • b - Bimonthly
  • c - Semiweekly
  • d - Daily
  • e - Biweekly
  • f - Semiannual
  • g - Biennial
  • h - Triennial
  • i - Three times a week
  • j - Three times a month
  • k - Continuously updated
  • m - Monthly
  • q - Quarterly
  • s - Semimonthly
  • t - Three times a year
  • w - Weekly

notes on Serials Solutions:

And now for something completely unrelated:

When setting up a new database in Serials Solutions, look at the "default URLs" of a few journal titles in the database. If there is a consistent "root" to each URL, that root should be emailed to [Bryan] for setup in EZ-Proxy, and will serve for all titles in the database. If each title has a different "root" then the URL for each title needs to be emailed to Bryan for setup, and when a title is added subsequently, the new title URL will need to be emailed.

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