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Conference Proceedings

The Big Ugly Question: Monograph or Serial?

Of course, you always want to check the catalog for an existing record before bringing in a new one, when cataloging in any format. However, this is especially important when working with conference proceedings because you need to make a determination about whether to catalog them as a monograph or a serial. Looking through catalog records can give you your first clues. If we've already cataloged it, stick with the existing format and just add an item record for the issue in hand.

  • Frequency / Chronology Statements:
    If there is a chronology in the title of the proceeding (e.g. 2014 Conference of the North American Packagement Society), it is not a one-off issue and you should check for the frequency.
    The title itself may contain some wording that alludes to publication frequency, (e.g., The 14th Annual Conference of the North American Packagement Society) or it may be noted elsewhere on the piece. If you determine that the proceedings are published more frequently than triennial, the title should be cataloged as a serial. Anything cataloged less frequently than triennially will most likely be cataloged as a monograph, particularly something that looks like a one-off issue. Exceptions may be made to this policy if there is some compelling reason, such as a request from a collection manager to catalog the title one way or another.
    Chronology and frequency statements will not appear in the 245 if the piece has been cataloged as a serial as opposed to a monograph. A mark of omission (ellipsis) is used to express the chronology/frequency instead (e.g., Muppet Aficionados ... Conference as opposed to Muppet Aficionados 2014 Conference)
  • Theme Issues and Special Issues:
    If the proceeding has some subject-specific theme, (e.g., The 5th Annual Conference of the North American Packagement Society : Title Transfers, Friend or Foe?) we might be more likely to catalog it as a monograph. The monograph record would allow us delve more deeply into the subject of the title using more specific subject headings and the call number.
    Sometimes a conference proceeding will be published as a special issue of an existing journal and a collection manager may want that special issue to be discoverable by title. We would treat this issue like any other of the journal, checking it in on the control and not cataloging it separately, but we would add a 740 to the journal record bring out the unique title. (We get these requests a little less often than we used to.)

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