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Serials Cataloging

What are Serials?

A serial is any publication issued in successive parts, usually (though not always) at regular intervals, and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials include: periodicals, newspapers, magazines, annuals, yearbooks, journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, and numbered monographic series. For cataloging reason, we divide serials in two categories: annuals and periodicals.  Annuals and periodicals are different in creating holdings records - including call numbers and cutter numbers - and item records.

Bibliographic Records

  1. Checklists

    When editing a bibliographic record, be sure to examine and edit all fields according to cataloging procedures. Refer to the following tools if necessary:

    OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards

    CONSER Cataloging Manual

    CONSER Editing Guide

    AACR2 (2002 revisions)


    Fixed Fields

    Fixed Field Tag Instructions 
    Type: a Language material
    BLvl: s Bibliographic Level - serial
    S/L :0 Entry Convention (Use S/L = 0 for ‘entry convention')
    Desc: a (AACR) or blank (non ISBD) Descriptive Cataloging Form (‘a' for AACR2), When upgrading to Elvl = I, Desc = a
    ELvl: blank or I Encoding Level (If not blank or I, upgrade to I for ‘Full-level input by OCLC participants)
    Form  Form of Item: usually blank. 
    Orig  Form of Original Item: usually blank, however check whether there is an original form other than you're cataloging. 
    SrTp: blank, p or m  Type of ser: verify that code is correct for type of material (blank for ‘none of following', p for ‘periodical, m for ‘monographic series.') 
    Scre: d  Cataloging Source: use ‘d' for organization other than a national bibliographic agency or a participant in a cooperative cataloging program, OCLC users. 
    Conf  Conference Publication: ‘0' for non conference, ‘1' for conference publication. 
    EntW  Nature of Entire Work 
    Cont  Nature of Contents 
    GPub e.g., blank  = not a government publication, f = federal, etc. 
    Freq  Match 310 
    Regl Regularity: r for regular, u for unknown, etc. 
    DtSt: c, d, u  Pub stat: c for current; d for dead; u for unknown 
    Ctrl: blank, a  Type of Control: blank for no specific type control, a for archival. 
    MRec  Modified Record: Leave the default value of blank if transcribing LC or NLM cataloging exactly as found on LC or NLM printed copy. 
    ISSN  ISSN Center: blank for no ISSN Center code assigned 
    Dates Date1: Should correspond to 362; if no 362, make reasonable guess using u's, e.g. 19uu 
    Date 2: Should correspond to closing date in 362; if no 362, make reasonable guess using u's, e.g. 199u 
    Lang  Language Code: eng for English. 
    Ctry  Current state or country of publication 
    Alph  Original Alphabet or Script of Title: The original alphabet or script of the title on the source item upon which the key title (field 222) is based. 

    Variable Fields

    Field tags 1st indicator 2nd indicator  Instructions
    022      Check ‡a against item in hand, if:
    * ISSN on piece is different from 022 ‡a on bib record :
    1) If the record has an 042 nsdp, assume the 022 ‡a is correct;   add the ISSN from the piece into ‡y
    2) Otherwise, judgment call for $a or $y
    * No ISSN on bib? Record ISSN whenever possible .
    Search OCLC to see whether the ISSN belongs to something else
    1)if not in OCLC, add it in ‡a
    2)if in OCLC, add it in ‡z 
    092  0   Optional; (‡a) Dewey ‡b Cutter ‡2 21 (only for DDC21, not for local call numbers; do not include prefiexes) 
    Add/check/verify form of name in AF; if not in AF, make well-formed entry according to AACR2, Chapter 21
    Check to make sure qualifier is correct 
    245      Check: wording of 1st 5 words should match piece
    Slight difference/additions/deletions: review title change rules
                                                                AACR2 Chapter 21.2 
    246      Add /check
    For coding of indicators, see CONSER Editing Guide 
    260      Check
    If different, add appropriate 500 note and change place of pub. in the fixed field to reflect new place
    Note: no comma necessary after $b when not followed by ‡c
    300     Check
    Watch ‡c for Quarto or Folio sized materials 
    310     Check
    If updating 310, change the fixed field frequency, and add 321 for former frequency 

    Enter each former frequency in a separate 321 field. Enter the former frequencies in the order of earliest to most recent.
    Spell out a number appearing in the first 321 field only. Use an Arabic numeral in subsequent 321 fields, e.g.,

    310 Monthly, ‡b 1949-1956                                                                  
    321 Five issues yearly, ‡b 1947                                                                 
    321 14 issues yearly, ‡b 1948

      Use when 1st and /or last piece is in hand
    Use when 1st and /or last piece is Not hand, but you know when it   
             began or ceased from a reputable source 
    440    0 Add/check/verify in AF
    490  1   There must be an 8xx 
    500      Latest issue consulted: 
    550      Add/check
    Add corresponding 710s if appropriate 
    580      Add when needed to clarify 78x relationships 
    596      Notes on Electronic Location and Access  previously located in 856 
    6xx      Add/check/verify form of headings in AF
    Note: at least 1 subject should be present
    Note: On older records change form headings from $x to $v, e.g. Periodicals, Almanacs, Bibliography, Biography, Book reviews, Catalogs, Congresses, Databases, Dictionaries, Directories, Exhibitions, Facsimiles, Guidebooks, Handbooks, manuals, etc., 
    7xx     Add/check/verify form of name in AF 
    780 0 Add/check
    If we own previous title, verify OCLC no. and check call numbers 
    785  0 0 Add/check
    If we own later title, verify OCLC no. and check call numbers 
    830    0 Current practice is to enter the title without articles and use 1st indicator value 0 ; Add/check/verify in AF 
    856  4 1 Add if the title is in ORR, Online Research Resources; Move other notes on Electronic Location and Access  from 856 to 596
  2. Check authority records (OCLC Connexion).

    • 710, 710, and 711 fields should be checked when the Voyager doesn't validate them, or when you add new entries.
    • 780 and 785 should be checked until you cannot find any other related records.  You also have to check Voyager to see whether UIUC has the titles.  This will affect creating call numbers, cutter numbers, and holdings records (See Creating Holdings records).
    • When searching for OCLC numbers in Voyager, eight digits are needed, so add zero as necessary to the beginning of the number.
    • Some records have been updated while waiting to be cataloged.  When you found that the bibliographic level is not I or 4, be sure to check OCLC for better record.
  3. Suppress from OPAC

    The bibliographic records should be ‘Unsuppressed' prior to saving record.  Click the System and click the check (√) in ‘ Suppress from OPAC.' When the record is checked in ‘suppressed OPAC,' OPAC won't show the record.
  4. OK to export

    The bibliographic records should be ‘OK to export' prior to saving record. Click the System and check (√) OK to export.

Creating Holdings Record

See more information in

  1. Leader
    Click ‘MARC' → ‘‘Leader' and change the ‘type of record' to ‘y: serial item holding.'
  2. System
    Click ‘System' and uncheck (√) ‘Suppress from OPAC.'

The 852 field

#852 field shows the location, call number, cutter number, copy number, marking pattern, and *note. (*note is used only when it is needed.)

  1. Indicators
  2. Subfields
  3. Other things
    1. Call Numbers (‡h)
    2. Cutter Numbers (‡i)
    3. Subfield ‡x
    4. Subfield ‡z
    5. Subfield ‡k
    6. Electronic resources
  1. Indicators
    • 1st indicator
      • 0 = Library of Congress
      • 1 = DDC (Most libraries in UIUC use the DDC.)
      • 8 = Other schemes (i.e., K Docs, In Process, musical sound recordings)
    • 2nd indicator
      • blank character = [blank] -- No information provided. Many of our serials will be coded as blank
      • 0 = Not shelved by enumeration (used for single-part monographs and for online resources--serial or monograph-- that have no items received)
      • 1 = Primary enumeration--item has only one numbering scheme (most common) or has two numbering schemes and is shelved by its primary scheme.
      • 2 = Alternative enumeration--item carries 2 numbering schemes and is shelved by the secondary scheme.
  2. Subfields (Subfields are used in following order.)

    • b = location code.
    • k = for any type of prefix
    • h = class no.
    • i = cutter no.
    • t = copy no.
    • x = local info. (See below, 3-c.)
    • z = public note.
  3. Other things
    1. Call number construction is same as monographs.
      However, when there is a 780 (preceding entry), or 785 (succeeding entry) in bibliographic record, and UIUC has the title, add ‘1' after cutter.  When you found that numbers are already in use, add letters in lower character.
      For periodicals, add ‘05' or ‘005' as instructed in DDC at the end of the class number.
      ‘IASSIST quarterly' is published four times a year. Its call number is 025.06305.  The ‘05' indicates that this title is a periodical.
      However, when the call number is too long to add the ‘05', or ‘005', you don't need to add them.  Use the number without the ‘05', and make a cutter with cutter table.  (The call number for ‘Quivera' is 306.760972.  IF you add the periodical number ‘005' it would be 13 digits.  So use the number without ‘005' and add the cutter ‘Q49' instead of using ‘QU'.)
    2. Cutter Number: When the call umber ends with ‘05' or ‘005' - which means it's a periodical - use first two letters of the main entry as cutter. Write them in capital letters.  

      (Ex.: ‘Journal of leadership' is published quarterly, so the cutter should be ‘ JO' from the tile.)

      If the title starts with ‘Journal' it is acceptable to use ‘J' for the first letter, then add the first two letters from the first significant word after ‘Journal.'
      (Ex.: Cutter for ‘Journal of Cave and Karst Studies' can be JCA instead of just two capital letters.)

      When there is a preceding or succeeding title: ‘Journal of leadership' was first published as ‘The Journal of leadership studies' and UIUC has the item.  Its call number is 303.3405JO.  For the later title, add 1 after cutter, so the call number for ‘ Journal of leader' is ‘ 303.3405JO1.'

      When there are more than one preceding or succeeding title: Use letters, such as ‘ a, b, c...' after ‘1.'

      When the item is separated from the preceding entry
      : Create a new call number and cutter.  Usually the call number could be same, so make a little difference in cutter.  (Be sure to add the right indicators in #780.)
    3. Subfieldx
      ‡x is used for local information and marking pattern. Depending on the frequency and type of publication, marking pattern could be year (yr.), Volume (v.), Number (no.) or combination of more than two patterns (yr.:.v.), (v.: no.), etc. When there are more than two patterns, these are connected with ‘:'. When the title indicates that it covers more than two years, these are connected with ‘/'. Usually the cover, title page and t.p. verso tells the pattern as well as the streamer.

      Marked by yr.
      : ‘American Viola Society directory' is an annual directory of viola teachers.  That means it is marked by year. Usually conference proceedings, annuals, and editions are marked by year. The edition information is added in 853 field ‡a.
      x (Marked by yr.)

      Marked by volume
      : "LA record' is published bimonthly, and each issue goes by volume number. So it should look like,
      x (Marked by v.)

      Marked by more than two patterns: ‘Air navigation plan' is marked by year and part.  
      x (Marked by yr.: pt.)
      x (Marked by yr.: month)
      x (Marked by v.: no.)
      x (Marked by no.: pt)
      x (Marked by yr./yr)

      Combined with other information: When the item has other information, combine the information with ‘;' in ‡x.  This information can be found on the streamer.

      x (Gift; Marked by no.)
      x (Rec'd direct; Marked by v.)
      x (Doc.; Marked by --)
      x (No standing order; Marked by -- )
      x (Rec'd direct; Gift; Marked by --)

    4. Subfieldz
      This is used for ‘Note'.  It is optional, so use only when it is applicable to the record you are cataloging.  
      When there is a preceding entry*
      : When there is a 780 field in the bibliographic record, and UIUC has the title.
      z For earlier vols. see (use call number and cutter number of previous title)


      When there is a succeeding entry*
      : When there is a 785 field in Bibliographic record, and UIUC has the title.
      z For later vols. see (use call number and cutter number of later title)

      *The reason we add these notes is to link the related records. 


      For periodicals: For periodicals, use the following note, and do not create 863 line for each issue
      z *Recent issues (When the item is less than 3 years old and goes to Stacks)
          (* DO not create 866 field. 866 field is created after a number of issues are bound together.)

      z *Unbound issues (*Use when the periodicals are in stacks, and are more than 5 years old, but haven't been bound.)
          (Create 866 field for note, so users can see the status. Usually note volume numbers and year in 866 field.)

      When later vols. are stored in different department libraries:
      z Previous vols. in *stacks (* use appropriate library name in full.)

    5. Subfieldk
      Subfield ‡k is used when there is a prefix.
      (See following pages)

    6. Electronic Resources
      For electronic resources, 852 field and 856 field are created as following:


       (* You can get the numbers from OPAC through title searches. The numbers are displayed on top of the e-resource page as ‘Resource ID.'

      After creating a MFHD for electronic resources be sure to check ORR to see whether it is indeed accessible.

The 853 field

The 853 field is used for indicating a publication/marking pattern.  Add all the relevant information, such as year and number (enumeration and chronology), which is not included in 852 subfield ‡x.

  1. Indicators
    • 1st indicator
      • 0 = Cannot compress or expand
      • 1 = can compress but not expand
      • 2 = Can compress or expand (UIUC use ‘2' as the 1st indicator in most cases.)
    • 2nd indicator
      • 0 = Captions verified, all levels present
      • 1 = Captions verified, all levels may not be present
      • 2 = Captions unverified, all levels present
      • 3 = Captions unverified, all levels may not be present (UIUC use ‘3' as the 2nd indicator in most cases.)
  2. Subfields
    • ‡a = main pattern (usually v., *no., *year)
      When you use no. and yr. in ‡a, use them with ( ).
      (a should be present always.)
      a (no.)
      a (year)
    • ‡b = use for ‘no.' or ‘pt.' (sub pattern after ‡a)
    • ‡i = use for yr.
    • ‡j = use for month (sub pattern after #i or ‡a (year))
    • ‡k = use for day
    852  1 _ b stxh 336.22305i IAx (Marked by v.:no.)
    853  2 3 
    8 1a v.b (no.)i (*yr.) [*although the ‡x doesn't indicate the year, you can add the ‘yr' when the information can be used for searching, and is prominently displayed.]

    825 1 - 
    b stxh 658i B265x (Marked by yr.)
    853 2 3
    8 1a (*year) [*When the item is marked by year only, put the information in ‡a field with ( )]

    852 1 - #b alx #h 614.5 #i Am3c1 #x (Marked by yr.)
    853  2 3 #8 1 #a (ed.) #i (year)
    (When it is marked by ed. Use ‘yr.' in #852  subfield #x and add edition information in #853 subfield #a. 

    #853  2 3 #8 1 #a (year) #b (month)

    #853  2 3 #8 1 #a v. #b (no.) #i (year) #j (*month)
    (*For holdings records, use Arabic numbers for month.  See table below.

The #866 (When and how)

#866 is used as a summary statement.  A textual description of the holdings of a basic bibliographic unit is added in this field.  Every serial which has a standing order needs #866 indicating holdings history.
(See more detailed explanation in

  1. Indicators
    • 1st indicator(Field encoding level: Indicates the level of specificity of the enumeration and chronology in the field.)
      • blank = No information provided
      • 3 = Holdings level 3
        Indicates that the field contains summary enumeration and chronology information (that is, only at the first level of enumeration and chronology in a compressed form).
      • 4 = Holdings level 4
        Indicates that the field contains detailed enumeration and chronology information (that is, the first and all subsequent levels and in either itemized or compressed form or a combination of the two)
      • 5 = Holdings level 4 with piece designation
        Indicates that the field contains detailed enumeration and chronology information and an identifying number for the physical piece in #852 #b (Textual holdings).
    • 2nd indicator (Type of notation)
      Indicates whether the holdings contained in subfield #a is formulated according to standard or non-standard notation.
      • 0 = Non-standard
      • 1 = ANSI/NISO Z39.71 or ISO 10324
      • 2 = ANSI Z39.42
  2. Subfields
    • #a = Textual string (NR) The textual form of holdings may be used either instead of or in addition to holdings recorded in the Caption and Pattern (853-855) and Enumeration and Chronology (863-865) fields.  There is no space in summary note.
    • #x = Non-public note (R)
    • #z = Public note (R)
    • #6 = Linkage (NR)
    • #8 = Field link and sequence number (R)
    When three or more issues are missing in bound volume of a periodical.
    #866 4 0 #8 1 #z Some issues missing



    When one or two issues are missing
    #866 4 0 #z Lack issue
    #866 4 0 #z Lack issues

    When the item is going to be bounded yearly, add v. only even though  there is a numbering information.  Also, add only year information, in the summary statement.

The #863 field

The #863 field is used for the items in serials. Create an item line for each annual.  However, if it is a periodical, DO NOT
create item line for each item.  Just mark the call number, cutter number, and publishing pattern on the cover of each item.  The item line will be created after all the issues are bounded together.

  1. Indicators
    • 1st indicator
      • blank = No information provided
      • 3 = Summary of holdings at the first level
      • 4 = Detailed holdings, accurate to all levels of enumeration and chronology (UIUC use ‘4' as the 1st indicator in most cases)
    • 2nd indicators
      • 0 = Compressed, displayed is generated (UIUC use ‘0' as the 1st indicator in most cases)
      • 1 = uncompressed, display is generated
      • 2 = Compressed, use textual display
      • 3 = Uncompressed, use textual display
  2. Other things
    1. In the #863 line, a new issue comes first.  Create a new item line right after the #853 line.
      #825  1 _ #b stx #h 658 #i B265 #x (Marked by yr.)
      #853  2 3 #8 1 #a (yr.)
      #863  4 0 #8 1.4998 #a 2005
      (Newly added item)
      #863  4 0 #8 1.5000 #a 2004 (Previously created line)
    2. When there is a missing issue:
      #852  1 _  #b stx #h 658 #i B265 #x (Marked by yr.)

      #853  2 3 #8 1 #a (yr.)
      #863  4 0 #8 1.*4994 #a 2005
      (Newly added item.)
      #863  4 0 #8 1.5000 #a 2002 (Previously created line)
      (*Since there are no 2003, 2004 issues, leave room to add if acquired later.)
    3. When the pattern changes
      Create another #853 line as needed.  For the second pattern, change #8 1 into ‘ #8 2'.  #863 field is created accordingly. 
      Patterns can be in ascending or descending order, as long as they are applied consistently, and as long as the lines are added in the same order.
      #853  2 3 #8 2 #a v. #b (no.)
      - current pattern.
      #853  2 3 #8 1 #a (no.) #i (yr.) - previous pattern..
      #863  4 0 #8 2.5000 #a 1 #b 1 - newly added item line.
      #863  4 0 #8 1.5000 #a 1 #b 1999 - previous item record.       


      This record shows that the marking pattern is changed from 2003, from ‘v.' to ‘yr.' and ‘ pt.' Previous pattern is stated in the first line of #853, and the new pattern is added after that.


See Analytics in UIUC's ‘Cataloging Policy and Procedure,,
and Database of Analyzed Series


  1. Periodicals

    When the call number ends with ‘05', or ‘005' don't make labels for each vol. or number.  Write down the numbers on the left corner of the cover manually, and put it in a ‘ shipping truck.' We will create a label after periodicals are bound together as one volume.
  2. Annual

    Put the cursor in #852 and click Ctrl and F12 at the same time.  When the screen shows the label, add the vol. number, no., yr as in #853 in line 4 (after call number in line 2 and cutter number in line 3).  If there is more than one pattern, such as v. and no., or v. and pt. connect them with colon (:).

    Marked by v. only
    Marked by v.:no.

    Marked by yr./yr.

Item records.

Item type:




Marking for annuals is the same as monographs.  Write down call number, cutter number, and enumeration or chronology on the appropriate page, as monographs.

For periodicals, write all the numbers on the cover.

Check OPAC

After checking the bibliographic record, creating holdings record, making a label, item record, and marking on the book, go back to OPAC, and check how the record looks to the users.


  1. Table for Months in Holdings / Item Records

    Month  Holdings Records  Item Records 
    January  01 Jan.
    February 02 Feb.
    March 03 Mar.
    April  04 Apr. 
    May 05 May 
    June  06 June
    July  07 July
    August  08 Aug.
    September 09 Sept.
    October  10 Oct.
    November  11 Nov.
    December 12 Dec.

  2. Table for Seasons in Holdings /Item Records

    Seasons Holdings records Item records
    Spring 21 Spring 
    Summer 22 Summer 
    Autumn/Fall 23 Autumn 
    Winter 24 Winter

Useful Links

AACR2 (2002 Revision)
Classification Web
OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards
CONSER Cataloging Manual
CONSER Editing Guide
MARC 21 Holdings Data General Information
UIUC Cataloging Policy and Procedures and_procedures.htm


MJ 8/2006