Periodicals and Serials

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. (links to checkin, claiming, etc.)

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. (link to procedures for added volumes)

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 (still to be entered)

Handy reference things

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
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