Minimal Level Records: Serial Analytics, Pamphlets, & Projects

Minimal Level Cataloging

Minimal level cataloging is not yet clearly defined in RDA practice. For YUL processing, minimal level cataloging has been or can be applied to serial analytics as well as catalog management and other hidden collection projects, e.g.. where lack of language expertise or trained staff precludes full cataloging.

Minimal level cataloging is characterized by most, if not all, of the following:

  • Use of local classification or accession numbers
  • Lack of subject analysis
  • Limited assignment of access points
  • Limited use of authorized access points
  • Generally no creation of NACO authority records
  • Limited use of RDA relationship designators
  • Lack of detailed physical description
  • Lack of or limited use of preferred (uniform) titles
  • Limited use of cataloger notes and linking fields to fill gaps in core descriptive elements

At present, these guidelines are also limited to monographic print media; care should be taken to avoid cataloging individual serial issues as monographs or to confuse serial issues with volumes in monographic series. To the extent possible, these guidelines are consistent with RDA/PCC core cataloging.

For certain projects, designated monographs (usually but not always pamphlet-length) may be given minimal level cataloging if full cataloging copy is not available. In most cases, minimal level items are classed separately, even if they are part of a series. Otherwise, cataloging policies and procedures will be the same as those applied to serial analytics unless specifically noted in the instructions.

What are Serial Analytics?

Serial analytics are usually brief pamphlet-length "volumes" of a monographic series. Serial analytics are cataloged as monographs ("books"). All of the volumes in the series are assigned the same call number. Unlike pamphlet projects, the classed-together number is generally LC classification. The volume number below the call number is used to differentiate the volumes on the shelf.

At YUL, serial analytics are by definition given minimal level cataloging unless fuller cataloging can be downloaded from OCLC. The decision to catalog the individual volumes of a monographic series at minimal level is made by the cataloger who set up the series, generally in consultation with public services. (By default, volumes of a monographic series normally receive full cataloging).

Serial analytics can be cataloged as monographs even if they are issues of a serial (i.e., they are issued on a regular basis with numeric and/or chronological designation), but there must be a decision recorded in Orbis (either in the authority record or the payment record) that the issues will be cataloged individually.

Is it a Serial?

For minimal level project items not in the serial analytic workflow, it is first necessary to determine whether the resource to be cataloged is a monograph or a serial issue.  If the item is a serial issue, it is out of scope. Serials are intended to be issued on a regular basis and usually combine a numeric and chronological designation, e.g. volume 1, no. 1, Jan. 2013, or sometimes only a chronological designation (spring 2014). Volumes issued annually (with only the year as the chronological designation) are also cataloged as serials. Do not confuse "theme issues" with monographs. As indicated by the name, these are issues of a serial on a particular topic, often with a particular title. In most cases, the issue will be a compilation of articles by different authors, but some theme issues may be, effectively, a single monograph either by a single author or by a group of collaborating authors. Note that serial analytics are generally of the latter type; if they are serial issues, each issue in the series is normally a monograph, not a "theme issue" compilation.

Related Documentation

For decision and creation of series authority records for serial analytics, refer to Bibliographic Records for Monographic Series & Multipart Monographs on Standing Order: Cataloging Policies and Procedures. Part 3. Classed Together Analyzed (EL 7 Serial Analytics) and the Examples subsection.