DATE: May 1, 2000

NAME: Seriality and MARC 21

SOURCE: CONSER Program, Library of Congress

SUMMARY: This paper presents five 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 are due to be approved in September 2000.

KEYWORDS: Serials (BD), Seriality (BD), Leader/07 (BD), Field 008/34 (BD), Field 008/21 (BD), Field 008/18 (BD), Field 260 (BD)

RELATED:DP 114 (June 1999)


05/01/00 - Forwarded to the MARC Advisory Committee for discussion at the June 2000 MARBI meetings.

07/08/00 - Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion:
Leader/07. Participants were generally in favor of this solution. Law catalogers were concerned about how loose-leaf material will be handled, including replacement volumes. How these fit into the definition of integrating resources needs to be clarified. In addition, since the serial 008 would be used, some examination is needed as to whether any elements from the books 008 would need to be used for integrating resources in a serial 008, e.g. perhaps target audience.
Serials 008/18 (Frequency). Again it needs to be further examined how a possible new code "k" would apply to looseleafs.
Serials 008/21 (Type of serial) A code could be added for looseleafs, either "l" or some other code (NLM was concerned about the use of "l" because of the confusion with the number "1"). Open questions were whether to also define a code for replacement volumes as well as codes for database and Website, which ISSN was interested in.
008/34 (Successive/latest entry indicator). OCLC prefers a new code because many institutions stream their work depending on latest or successive entry indicator, so a third separate code would be useful for these. The question of using 246 or 247 also arose; some participants preferred 246 for earlier title.
Publication/distribution. Examples of the use of repeating 260 fields for looseleafs and for monographs were needed. NLC is in favor of a separate field in the 26X block with 550 to carry publishing history. The question of how using repeated 260 fields fits in with the areas specified in AACR2 was raised, and this needs to be considered in a future paper. Does 260 replace a note, and is this a description versus access issue?
Future work. Because the issue of repeating 260 fields is not directly a result of the changes in the definition of seriality, this will be brought back as a proposal for Midwinter. If decisions are made at the JSC meeting in October, there will be a further proposal or discussion paper on the other MARC seriality changes.

DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 119: Seriality and MARC 21


Following the 1999 meeting of the Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of AACR (JSC), Jean Hirons, CONSER coordinator, was charged with preparing rule revisions based on recommendations in the report "Revising AACR2 to Accommodate Seriality." The rule revisions were submitted in February 2000 and are currently under review. While final decisions have yet to be made on a number of issues, it is clear that the concepts of ‘continuing' and ‘integrating resources' have been firmly embraced by the JSC and other international standards. Thus, the impact of the new model on MARC 21 needs to be considered.

This paper is a continuation of the issues covered in Discussion paper no. 114, which was discussed at the MARBI meeting in June 1999. In that paper, Hirons outlined issues relating to leader/07 (Bibliographic level) and 008/21 (Type of serial), field 260 (Publication, distribution, etc.), and field 008/34 (Successive/latest entry indicator). This paper further develops these and other issues based on latest thinking.


2.1. AACR and other standards.

The revisions to AACR2 include a complete revision to chapter 12, which now encompasses all "Continuing Resources." Rules for integrating resources in both print (loose-leafs) and electronic format (updating databases, and Web sites) have been added to this chapter in order to accommodate the seriality aspects of both serials and integrating resources. (Note that for purposes of this document, a Web site is defined as a collection of data, documents, and links to other sites on the World Wide Web that is generally updated over time.) The new category of integrating resources is a major change to the monograph/serial dichotomy that now exists. Both the International Standard Bibliographic Description for Serials (ISBD(S)) and the ISSN Network have also embraced the idea of continuing resources. The ISBD(S) Working Group will recommend that ISBD(S) become ISBD(CR) and the ISSN Manual Revision group is recommending a revised scope that would encompass updating databases and many Web sites.

A continuing resource is defined as:

An integrating resource is defined as:

A serial is defined as:

2.2 Current situation.

Most items that would be treated as integrating are currently coded as ‘m' (monograph) in leader/07 and are cataloged as monographs. The negative impact of this policy is evidenced by numerous complaints from participants in conference discussions about the duplicate records for loose-leafs in OCLC. When the title of a loose-leaf changes, catalogers tend to create a new record, either because they lack the ability to change the record or do not think about changing it in the way serial records are maintained. There is no equivalent of the CONSER Program for loose-leafs and maintenance of records has not been an emphasis for BIBCO. As more and more records for electronic updating resources are being added to catalogs, it is important that we be able to identify and maintain them appropriately.

2.3 Impact.

Coding the bibliographic level byte in the leader is very important to the identification, retrieval, and control of records in both shared and local catalogs. It can be used to limit searches, identify duplicate records, and validate who can change records. Because of the importance of this byte and the eventual need for large systems such as OCLC to make changes and potentially recode existing records, any change can have a major impact.

It is possible that loose-leafs could be retained as code ‘m' if this is the desire of the loose-leaf community; however, it may be desirable to recognize the seriality inherent in the updates. Furthermore, as loose-leafs go electronic, they could become databases and thus, it makes sense to treat these resources similarly.

2.4 Proposal: Defined new code i for integrating resources to be used in conjunction with serials 008 (renamed 'seriality' 008).

2.4.1. Background. Three options were presented in Discussion paper 114: A) to use existing codes ‘m' and ‘s' for various types of integrating resources; B) to redefine code ‘s' to cover all continuing resources; and C) to define a new bibliographic level code with a new or existing 008. Discussions favored options A or B with less enthusiasm for option C. Looking at it anew, option C seems the best approach because of the importance of keeping MARC in close relation to AACR2 and the ability to express both seriality and form of issuance. Also, further discussion with OCLC has led us to believe that a new bibliographic level code alone would not be as difficult to implement as long as an existing 008 field is used with it. Thus, this proposal takes a new look at defining a new bibliographic level code.

2.4.2. Proposal. Define a new code ‘i' in leader/07 for integrating resources. Redefine the serial 008 as ‘seriality' or ‘continuing resources' 008. Treat code ‘i' similar to code ‘s' and use the seriality 008 when type (leader/06) is ‘a' (textual material).

While most integrating resources are textual in nature, it is possible that there can be other appropriate formats. If the type code is ‘m' (computer file), the computer file 008 would be used with a seriality 006. If it was determined that certain cartographic material were integrating, the cartographic 008 would be used with code ‘i' in leader/07 and a seriality 006.

2.4.3. Rationale. By following this option, MARC 21 would embrace the continuing resources model: the use of the same 008 would bring out aspects of the seriality of all continuing resources, while the separate leader codes would express the form in which the seriality is realized.

2.4.4. Pros and cons. The following pros and cons are based in part on articles by Robin Wendler, Robert Bremer and others in a Serials Review "Balance Point" column, edited by Jean Hirons *1.

Retrieval and display:



Record processing


Cataloging and other library functions



2.5 Alternatives

2.5.1. Expand code ‘s' in leader/07 to cover all continuing resources. This option is not currently favored because the cons outweigh the pros. Some of these are:

2.5.2. Use existing codes ‘m' and ‘s' for integrating resources, as determined appropriate (e.g., Web sites and loose-leafs as monographs; databases as serials). While easier to implement, this option is not currently favored because it negates the seriality of a large portion of integrating resources and is not seen as a good long-term option. Some of the cons associated with this option are:

3.008/18 and 006/01 Frequency; also field 853, 854, 855 in Holdings format

3.1. Proposal.

Define code ‘k' to indicate an electronic resource that is continuously updated where the updates are seamlessly integrated into the whole. This code could also be used for loose-leafs but since the updates are generally less frequent and more determinable, the existing codes for irregular or a know frequency might be more applicable. Examples of resources that would receive code ‘k' are the LC Web site, the OCLC database, an online directory or encyclopedia that is updated on a constant basis.

3.2. Rationale.

Field 008/18 currently contains codes that indicate the frequency of issues to serials. There is no code that implies constant updating. A new code could clearly identify an integrating resource whose seriality is expressed by seamless updates unknown to the user (other than by a revision date) rather than a succession of issues or tangible updates.

3.3. Alternatives.

Use existing codes for updates with regular frequencies; for those not able to be determined use code blank for irregular or code ‘z' (other frequencies).

Code ‘k' would be used in conjunction with a 310 field with ‘continuously updated'. Some revision of the text would be necessary to accommodate the concept of frequency of updates. We would probably also need to revise the text, but no coding, for fields 310 and 321 to incorporate the concept of updates and include an example.

4. 008/21 and 006/04. Type of serial.

4.1. Proposal.

Rename as "Type of continuing resource" and define a new code 'l' (loose-leaf).

4.2. Rationale.

Because of the special nature of loose-leafs, it may be desirable to be able to identify them from other types of integrating resources. The codes in this byte identify serials requiring special forms of control. They are:

Loose-leafs would fit into this category very nicely as they require a special form of control. It would also make it possible to retrieve the number of loose-leaf services maintained in a library. Code blank, which now encompasses other kinds of serials (e.g., annuals, statistical reports), would also include electronic integrating resources such as updating databases.

5. 008/34 and 006/17. Successive/latest entry indicator

5.1. Background.

AACR2 is introducing a new form of title change convention, integrating entry, which is very similar to latest entry conventions but is being used in different ways and for different forms of material. Under both latest and integrating entry, a single record is used to record all changes in title, with description based on the latest issue. The difference applications of latest and integrating entry are as follows:

Latest entry (008/34 code '1')

Integrating entry
5.2. Proposal.

Define new code ‘2' for integrating entry.

5.3. Rationale.

Use of code 008/34. Libraries currently use this code for:

Quick identification of good cataloging copy
To retrieve latest entry records to convert to successive
To determine whether record duplication may be ignored

Use of the bibliographic level (leader/07) code ‘i' alone would not be sufficient to identify the type of cataloging convention applied. Some electronic journals will not retain earlier titles and will require the use of integrating entry cataloging. To clarify, the term ‘integrating resource' applies to resources where the updates do not remain discrete; ‘integrating entry' is a convention used when only the current title is retained on the resource. An electronic journal has discrete articles but may not retain its earlier titles. Defining a new code would allow us to still identify all electronic journals as serials (code s in leader/07) while also stating the convention under which they are cataloged (008/34 code 2). It would not be desirable to code these as latest entry records (008/34) and have them included with old records that are being deleted or ignored.

Note: Fields 247 and 547, previously used for latest entry records, would also be used in integrating records to include the former title(s) and this new usage will require some revision to the description of these fields. No coding changes are foreseen.


6.1. Background.

Serials and other continuing resources often undergo a change in publisher and/or place of publication. Current rules are to record the earliest place and publisher in field 260 and give all later changes in notes (field 500). The latest publishing information is needed by acquisitions departments for ordering, claiming, and check-in. The latest information is also more useful to reference librarians. However, the earliest information is needed as a constant identifier for the record for record matching and duplicate detection. For many continuing resources in fact, particularly rare and legal, it may be desirable to have better access to each successive publisher.

The recommendation to the JSC to describe from the latest publisher was rejected; however, they recommended that this be accommodated through the format and displays. Making the 260 field repeatable was discussed in June 1999 and the idea was favorably received. The proposal below reflects the technique that was considered most desirable during that discussion.

6.2. Proposal.

Make field 260 repeatable for changes in the publisher. Do not repeat a 260 field for a change in place only. Define the first indicator as "Publisher status" and define values blank, 3 and 4. (Note that prior to 1990 the first indicator was defined as ‘presence of publisher in imprint' with values 0 and 1 defined which are now obsolete.) Field 260 with first indicator value 4 would be repeatable; value 3 would not be repeatable. The order of fields should be shown chronologically from first to last.

Define subfield $3 (Material specified) to be used with indicator values 3 and 4 to include the date or enumeration of the subset of materials to which the publisher applies. Give subfield $c beginning and ending dates of publication only in the 260 field with first indicator value blank (i.e., the first 260).

First indicator - Publisher status


6.3. Discussion

Use of code 4 for intervening publishers may not always be desirable. Feedback from the rare serials and loose-leaf communities has indicated a desire to record all publishers in 260 fields; CONSER might prefer to record intervening publishers in a note.

The publication dates in subfield $c and dates recorded in subfield $3 dates need to be kept separate as they describe different things. The publication dates refer to the entire item and need to remain discrete within the record. Keeping these dates together would also keep newly-created records compatible with existing records. The $3 dates specify the subset of the serial published by a particular publisher and would be those now given in a 500 note. Enumeration would be given in place of dates when applicable.

6.4. Questions for discussion

  1. Would the use of multiple 260 fields also be used for multi volume monographs?

  2. How would this apply to integrating resources, such as loose-leafs, where the rules say to change the publishing statement to reflect the latest? We could interpret this in documentation, such as "add an additional 260 field with indicator value ..." since the rules do not anticipate multiple publishing statements.

  3. How would other publishing data, such as the distributor be affected? Would it be repeated with each publisher to which it applies?

    $a Washington, D.C. : $b Office of Personnel Management ; $b for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., $c 2000-
    260 3 
    $3 2001- $a Washington, D.C. : $b General Services Administration ; $b for sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O.

  4. What are the implications for indexing and display of multiple publishers and dates?

*1 Hirons, Jean. "The 'ongoing' umbrella: rethinking the redefinition of 'serial.'" Serials Review, 23:3/4 (1998) p. 107-117.

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