Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Series treatment


My current place of work handles monographic series in a way that just seems wrong to me, even though it's perfectly valid. It only seems wrong to me because it's different from the way I've dealt with series at every other library I've worked at. Here's our current practice as I understand it:
  • Any numbered monographic series to which we subscribe is treated as a serial with analytics. Volumes are classed together, holdings are maintained on a serial record, and each issue gets a monograph record (e.g. an analytic record) with a series tracing to the serial title.
  • Any numbered monographic series to which we don't subscribe is analyzed, traced as a series on the monographic records, and classed separately. There is no serial record to unify the holdings, and searching collocation is handled by the series authority record
  • Unnumbered series are usually analyzed, traced, and classed separately
It's the first of those categories that I have trouble with. I understand the need for acquisitions to have a check-in record for anything we subscribe to. What I'm not sure I understand is why we go to the trouble of doing full CONSER serial records and displaying them to the public when the series authority record is meant to collocate series holdings. Our ILS is pretty good at collocating based on series tracing, so I'm just not sure what we gain by maintaining publicly viewable holdings on a serial record. But I am fairly certain that creating both serial records and series authority records for these titles is a waste of time. We have to have the SAR in order to trace the series, so unless we stop creating the serial records, I don't see a way around doing both.

On the other hand, I'm not sure what we'd gain by eliminating the practice either. My gut feeling is that it would create less confusing OPAC displays if someone searched by the series title, but I need to do some testing to verify that.

One thing that we could gain by changing our practice is to bring us more in line with LC/NACO practice regarding series, which is to treat most numbered monographic series as fully analyzed, traced, and classed separately. It would let us make more effective use of PCC bib and authority records with fewer local changes, which could have significant benefits.

There. That articulates the issues well enough for now. Now I just need to think through them and figure out whether I want to propose changes.