Adam, I'm not sure your example necessarily makes the case for the series
Let's assume most users begin (and go no further than) keyword searching.
It's my understanding that most OPACs don't apply keyword indexing to
references in authority records, but most do keyword indexing of variant
title fields in bibliographic records. Given user behavior and the common
limitations of the OPACs, wouldn't it be better to use a bibliographic
record to control the series access? Such a bibliographic record could be
cataloged by default at the minimal level standard, perhaps validated by
CONSER. (Since LC is getting out of the series business, what other body
could determine standards?)
If no SAR was created, but a series bibliographic record with index fields
for all variants was made instead, you could include a note in the
bibliographic record, e.g.,
"Separate records have been created for titles in this series. For
individual titles, click here: [established form of the heading] or here:
[call number for the series if classed together]"
The heading/call number could then be hotlinked in a web catalog to
retrieve all records with that series/call number.
You could also add instructions to staff to trace the series, give the
appropriate form of numbering, etc. ; these instructions would not need to
display in the OPAC.
If a SAR is used to control series access, keep in mind that not all OPACS
have title browse searches that combine titles with the references
generated by authority records. This impacts if the citation is using a
variant form, the scenario you are evoking. In LC's OPAC, the Title search
listed at the top of the search options will retrieve the 47 items in the
series Information, computer, communication policy. However, if the
variant form ICCP is used, a Title search will not retrieve a reference to
the established form; the searcher would have to use Series/Uniform Title
Browse to take advantage of the SAR reference from ICCP to Information,
computer, communication policy. On our OPAC, also Voyager based, the
equivalent index is called "Uniform Title as Main Entry (e.g. Bible,
Arabian Nights)" and is 9 index options below the Title search. (You have
to scroll down to actually see it). I note without comment that this is the
last option provided in our OPAC & the 2nd to the last option on the LC
page. On the other hand, if ICCP was in the 246 field of a bibliographic
record, a simple title search would retrieve the record. (I also note that
the lack of reference availability in the Title search is not clear from
the help screens for Title.)
Some disadvantages that I see with SARS:
1. the common lack of keyword indexing noted above; the not uncommon split
indexing problem noted above
2. many staff find authority record coding incomprehensible (in contrast,
one can write staff notes in plain English or the equivalent in a
bibliographic record holdings field). In general I think information you
can enter in bibliographic records is not as limited by the abbreviated
nature of information in the SAR. The whole culture of authority work seems
to privilege extreme brevity; consider the recent thread on (title not given).
3. Because of acquisitions workflow, a bibliographic record for the series
is often needed for receipt. For staff who need to find the bibliographic
record, creating a SAR seems redundant (variant forms entered in both bib &
SAR). Why not just display the bibliographic record?
4. SARs require references from issuing bodies which have to be
established. Much expensive effort to create these; how much benefit as
One advantage of SARs vs. bibliographic records
Variant titles in SARs can be qualified; this doesn't happen with 246. But
in order for the reference to be useful, it needs to be in an index that is
From a cooperative viewpoint, it's easier to get minimal level series
bibliographic records into a utility database than it is to get national
level series authority records into the national file.
For automated processing, would it necessarily be harder for a vendor to
harvest and match on a bibliographic record as opposed to an authority
record? The bibliographic 008 Type of record m would identify the
bibliographic record and the pcc codes would identify the preferred standard.
Margaret Rohdy speculated that classing together might become obsolete. I
think working papers would be a good example of a type of series that would
be worth classing together. Do we really have the time to assign a separate
call number to hundreds of 25 page pamphlets? I could see our library
deciding to class together and do minimal level analytic cataloging to
provide title access for a new working papers series. Of course, if you
class together, an OPAC call number search might replace the need for
collocation by series added entry ...
--Steven Arakawa (my opinions only; not those of my institution!)
At 01:46 PM 4/28/2006, you wrote:
>Here's an interesting real example of how relying on just keywords for
>series without a series authority record loaded into a catalog is not
>going to work well.
>The Wildlife Conservation Society publishes a monographic series that has
>been established as WCS Working Paper. On the analytical title page of
>the individual monographs, the series title appears variously as WCS
>Working Paper or Working Paper. Some issues have a series title page that
>says WCS Working Paper Series. And many issues have the title WCS Working
>Papers on a publisher's listing of all the issues or on the analytical
>In our OPAC, a keyword search of a string of words first searches for that
>string together. If nothing is found, the system will execute a boolean
>"and" search of each word.
>A user doing a keyword search on the title WCS Working Papers retrieves
>absolutely nothing, because that variant is never found on a source used
>for transcription of the series statement. On the other hand, if the user
>did a title browse search of that variant, they would get a referral to
>the controlled form of the title used as the series added entry, WCS
>Working Paper (the only difference is the singular/plural form of
>Paper(s)) because a series authority was created documenting all the
>variants and was loaded into our OPAC.
>For monographic series that are cataloged as separates (i.e. classed
>separately), our current policy is that we do not create a public
>series/serial record in our OPAC. We rely on the series added entries to
>collocate the series. If we stopped tracing controlled series access
>points and producing series authority records, I wonder if we might need
>to start creating serial records for these resources, since only there
>would one find all the variant titles for the series traced in that
>bibliographic record, which would provide the keyword and variant title
>access that could get people to some resources.
>My main point is that keyword access in our (and other) OPACs will only
>work when the user searches on keywords present in a bibliographic record.
>We need both keyword and controlled access through the presence of series
>authorities to get users to some resources.
>Adam L. Schiff
>University of Washington Libraries
>Seattle, WA 98195-2900
>(206) 685-8782 fax
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