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 February 22, 2002 [posted]
 Cataloging Changes for Serials Issued Simultaneously in Print and Online

drop cap graphic of the letter I n the spring of 2001, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) adopted the single record approach in cataloging serials issued simultaneously in print and online formats. This means that NLM creates one serial bibliographic record in LocatorPlus which contains information about both the print and online formats of the serial. NLM's single record approach is in accord with current CONSER serial cataloging guidelines. For serials indexed for MEDLINE® that are issued simultaneously in print and online formats, NLM:

  1. Assigns a single Title Abbreviation for both formats.
  2. Creates one catalog record which will include both ISSNs (International Standard Serial Numbers).

The table below lists all the indexed serials for which NLM had two serial bibliographic records in LocatorPlus that are now merged into one. For non-indexed serials, multiple records for online and print formats are being merged as they are encountered. No public announcements will be made when these changes occur.

Journal Title MEDLINE Title Abbreviation NLM Unique ID
American Journal of Kidney Diseases Am J Kidney Dis 8110075
Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular biology Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 9505803
Arthroscopy : The Journal of Arthroscopic & Related Surgery Arthroscopy 8506498
Circulation Circulation 0147763
Circulation Research Circ Res 0047103
Heart : Official Journal of the British Cardiac Society Heart 9602087
Human Mutation Hum Mutat 9215429
Hypertension Hypertension 7906255
Journal / Canadian Dental Association J Can Dent Assoc 7907605
Journal of Medical Genetics J Med Genet 2985087R
Journal of Neuroscience J Neurosci 8102140
Nucleic Acids Research Nucleic Acids Res 0411011
Pediatrics Pediatrics 0376422
Pediatrics in Review Pediatr Rev 8103046
Stroke Stroke 0235266
Surgical Endoscopy Surg Endosc 8806653
Urology Urology 0366151

NLM considers the single record approach to be less confusing to users, who will encounter fewer duplicate records for serials in LocatorPlus. It also facilitates interlibrary loan services, as requests for articles can be sent to libraries that can provide copies from either the print or electronic format.

In using the single record approach, NLM is not attempting to determine whether the print and online formats are identical, since the content of these formats can be mutable. The print and online formats may start out the same and later diverge, or conversely start out with different content and eventually become the same.

Usually, NLM uses the print format for the primary description of the serial and enhances the bibliographic record with a note indicating that the serial is also available online. The Uniform Resource Locator (URL) for the online format is included in the bibliographic record. This provides NLM users with a direct link from LocatorPlus to the online format. Whether the serial is fully accessible through this link depends on NLM's licensing agreement with the publisher.

In some cases, when the online format is received first at NLM, the primary description is based on that format. In that case, a note is added to the record, indicating that the title is also available in print. No matter which format is received first, access is provided to any variant titles appearing on one format or the other.

LocatorPlus records for serials which are issued in print and online formats have not all been updated to reflect the online ISSNs and URLs. This is done on a case-by-case basis, as NLM learns of this information from publishers, users, or the journal itself.

If the print and online formats have different ISSNs, both are included in the bibliographic record. The ISSNs are qualified as either (Print) or (Online) in LocatorPlus to distinguish the formats.

See Figure 1 for an example of the single record approach in LocatorPlus. Please note that the links in this figure are not active links.

  Portion of single LocatorPlus record for Surgical Endoscopy

NLM does not use the single record approach if the print and online formats of a serial do not overlap. For example, in LocatorPlus, Early Pregnancy has two separate records because the print format has ceased and there is a new online format, which never overlapped with the print format. For indexed serials in this category, NLM assigns the same Title Abbreviation to both records.

MEDLINE citations carry only one ISSN. It is the ISSN (print or online) of the format used for indexing.

Note to PubMed® Searchers: Searching PubMed using either the print or online ISSN will retrieve all citations for both formats of the serial, as both ISSNs map to the single Title Abbreviation.

By Diane L. Boehr
Cataloging Section

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Boehr DL. Cataloging Changes for Serials Issued Simultaneously in Print and Online. NLM Tech Bull. 2002 Jan-Feb;(324):e9.


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