HCL Technical Services
Report on the Use of Captions in Analyzed Monographic Series
This report stems from discussions surrounding the new workflow for monographic series. After the move of HCL Technical Services to 625 Mass Ave, some receiving work which had been done by the Serial Records team was shifted to the cataloging units. During the course of discussions to iron out this new workflow it became clear that there is confusion about how captions are to be recorded in the item record, call number and on the piece itself. And confusion, as we all know, leads to inconsistent application. This investigation is an attempt to banish that confusion once and for all.
I. Overview of Monographic Series Treatment
All monographic series are cataloged both as serials and as monographs. Because of this serial treatment, the Serial Cataloging team is the first to handle any new title. New monographic series titles are assigned to one of four categories by a serial cataloger. These categories are:
- Various (all volumes fully analyzed, traced, classed separately, item records attached to bibliographic records for individual volumes)
- Analyze (all volumes fully analyzed, traced, classed together, item records attached to serial record)
- Analytic monographs (cataloged as a serial, with analyzable volumes fully analyzed, traced, classed separately, item records attached to the serial record)
- Submit for Analytic (cataloged as a serial, but each volume is submitted to a serial cataloger who makes a decision as to whether it is analyzable, item records attached to the serial record)
In practice, most series are treated as either various or analytic; analytic monographss and Submit for Analytics are rare. These categories are given differing levels of serial cataloging. The serial record for a Various is an order level record. It contains only main entry, publisher and a LOC with the note "Various call numbers." An analytic is given slightly more complete serial treatment; the bibliographic record is upgraded to include subject headings, the fixed field is filled in and the LOC contains the series call number. Both analytic monographs and Submit for Analytics are given complete, core level serial cataloging. In all cases the serial cataloger creates a holdings record attached to the serial record. The serial cataloger creates or imports from OCLC a series authority record (known locally as an SAR). Local treatment decisions and call number are added in the appropriate fields. The serial cataloger then sends the piece to the language team, where it is added to the regular work stream. A flow chart of this process is included as an appendix to this report.
II. Item Record Conventions
In 1996 a task force was created to study issues related to item records. Their charge was to review current practices and to recommend library-wide standards for the following:
- Format for piece-level data
- Loan-code formats and usage
- Re-ordering of item record indexes
- Which bibliographic records items records should be attached to
- Data in piece-level vs. data in call number
The final report of this committee was used by Jane Ouderkirk and Barbara Mitchell to create standards for item record data entry. Their guidelines, outlined in a document entitled Widener Library Standards for Item Record Data Entry : Piece-level, Note, and Loan Code Fields, were put into affect on September 2, 1997. A brief summary of the standards relevant to this report follows.
- In cases where captions exist, abbreviated vernacular captions are to be used regardless of the format previously used within an item record index.
- Standard vernacular captions found in Appendix B of the HOLLIS holdings editing guide and AACR2 are to be used.
- In cases where no captions exist, captions will not be added.
- The standards are prospective. Staff are expected to create new item records according to these standards but are not required to retrospectively change existing item records unless the index is disarray.
III. Current Practice
In researching this report, I spoke to a member of each team to get an idea of how captions are being recorded for monographic series. Without exception, every monograph cataloger with whom I spoke was unclear on exactly what they were supposed to be doing. Not surprisingly, practice varied. Most of the confusion centers on how the caption is to be recorded as part of the call number. This affects analytics only, as variouses have individual call numbers. Another wrinkle is the recording of the caption on the piece itself. Some people are using the vernacular in the item record and "v." in the call number on the piece. A summary of what is currently being done follows.
Authorized abbreviations of vernacular captions are used. This is done by serial catalogers according to the rules they use in creating all holdings records. There is no confusion on this practice.
Series Authority Records:
Authorized abbreviations of vernacular captions are used. This is done by serial catalogers according to the rules they use in creating all holdings records. There is no confusion on this practice. Item records: Due to the wide distribution of the item record standards report, vernacular captions are in general use in item records.
These practices are used widely across the department:
- Always use the English abbreviation "vol."
- Always use the vernacular abbreviations
- Use vernacular if present, use "vol." if there is no caption on the piece
- Use "vol." only if there is no caption on the piece, use "v." if the piece has any caption designation in any language
IV. Issues to be Considered in Setting a Policy
The more consistent we are in how we record information, the less confusion is created for our users. Caption information is found in the bibliographic record, the LOC, the item record, the holdings record and on the piece itself. In the best of all possible worlds the information in all of these locations would match, creating no confusion.
A clearly articulated and well published policy can eliminate confusion on the part of cataloging staff. The item record report is proof of this.
V. Documents Consulted
BIBCO Working Group on Series Numbering final report
(it turned out not to be terribly relevant but made for some mighty fascinatin' reading)
Report of the Item Record Task Force (PDF), November 1996
« Return to Policies and Procedures