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Cataloging Services: Serial Records in the Catalog

What Does the Record in the Catalog Tell Me?

When you search the catalog, each record you choose to look at is first presented to you in a very brief display. Often this is enough information. However here, you can see only that we own the journal and that its call number is L11 .J86. You cannot determine if we have the volume you need.


In order to see exactly what volumes and issues we have, click on the title. You will notice that they are always blue because they are links to the fuller record.

In the body of the description you learn that the jourmal comes out four times a year and that it started in 1966. If you look in the blue box at the bottom of the record you will see how much we own. We started getting the journal in 1969 and kept getting it until the end of 1982. Then, we resubscribed to it in 1985 and stopped getting it in 1992. But what if you want an article in an issue published in 2006? All is not lost! Do you see the green and blue Find It button? If you click on it, you will see if there are other ways we can give you what you want. For this journal you will see (this is a snippet)

Understanding the Serial Record

Let's suppose you would like to read an article in the Journal of Thought.  When you look the title up in our catalog, the first record you will see is a very brief one that tells you little more than that we have it and what its call number is:


From this brief display you learn that it is a print journal (the icon, physical books, is one clue). Because it is located on the 2nd floor in the periodicals area and has a call number, you can be sure that it is a print publication. In order to find out if we have the issue you want, you need to look at the full record. Click on the title. You will see that it is blue (although this screen shot did not capture the color) because it is a hot link to the full record:

The journal description tells you that it comes out four times a year and began publication in Jan. 1966. The box at the bottom of the record display tells you that we began subscribing to the Journal of Thought  in 1969 and stopped the subscription in 1982. For some reason we resubscribed in 1985 until we finally stopped getting it in 1992. But what if you need to read an article that is in an issue published in 2008? All is not lost. The blue and green Find It button just above the holdings box will tell you if we have electronic access to it. In fact we do. When I click on the Find It button I will see this:

This is only a partial view of the box that will come up but it shows you that we have this journal in a number of different databases. In order to find the issue and article you want, fill in as much of the information as you know and click Go. Unfortunately, if you want to read an article in an issue published in 1983, you will need to ask the Interlibrary Loan Department (ILL) to get it for you from another library, since the electronic issues don't go back further than 2005.

But there is more useful information to be gotten from this record and a potential surprise to be aware of. Let's take a closer look:

The subject headings in catalog records are also hot links that will help you find items on the same subjects. If you click on the subject, the catalog will return a list of items on that subject. But there is one little pitfall here that you should be aware of. Because the eleven state universities of Florida all share the same catalog interface (MANGO), what you are looking at is a record that reflects the subjects that appear on each of the records of the other institutions. Usually, they will all be the same. However, at at least one of the universities, the cataloger decided not to make a separate record for the electronic version of the journal and so put a subject heading Electronic journals on this record for the print title in his/her catalog to indicate that the library has it electronically.

Because this record is describing the print journal, Electronic journals is misleading. It isn't quite correct to add it to the record but it is done quite frequently because it saves catalogers a lot of time if they can use a record that already exists instead of creating a new one. Electronic journals is also not very helpful as a subject heading any longer because we all have thousands of them. However, a mere ten years ago a library might have had fewer than one hundred and adding Electronic journals  to the record in the catalog was an easy way to get a list of them very quickly any time one was needed. 

How can you tell when an electronic journal is really an electronic journal? There are two ways. Compare this record:


with this record:

The first record is available only in print. The icon indicates that, as does the word journal. On the second, not only is there a big red e (e=electronic) on the icon but we are told that this is a UWF electronic resource.