Serials Cataloging

Cataloging workflows described above can be used for cataloging serials. However, because of the changing nature of serial publications and the need to accommodate complex holdings information, cataloging serials in BIBFRAME has its own unique issues. During the life time of a serial publication, the serial title, issuing body, publication information, frequency, numbering, etc., may change. As a result, it is essential that catalogers are provided a means to associate dates or date ranges with assertions (triple statements). In this report, we want to highlight the following two areas where the current data BIBFRAME model will fail to maximize the potential of Linked Data:

1. The current state of BIBFRAME does not seem to be able to address adequately the issue of change over time to serials metadata. For example, there is not a way to express a start and end date for changes to titles and publication information. It may make sense for the serials cataloging community to explore other vocabularies that are more suitable for modeling serials, such as PRESSoo, for use in conjunction with BIBFRAME.

2. Enumeration and chronology information is ubiquitous and important for describing serials. It is used with serial titles and appears in notes, item, and holdings records in the MARC environment. Figure 26 shows the mappings of enumeration and chronology data in MARC records to corresponding BIBFRAME properties.

Figure 26: Enumeration and chronology information mapping
As illustrated above, there are two problems with how Enumeration and chronology information are expressed in BIBFRAME: 1) several different properties are often used to encapsulate a single datum point, resulting in an overly complex representation; and 2) none of those data are machine-actionable because they are literals (strings of text). The serials cataloging community should consider the following questions:

a. Should enumeration/chronology data appearing at BIBFRAME Instance level be coded in a uniform way?
b. Should enumeration/chronology data appearing at both BIBFRAME Instance and Item be coded in the same way?
c. Does Linked Data offer the possibility of simplifying the ways in which we encode enumeration/chronology data while still achieving same end-user functionality for which they are intended? For example, dropping enumeration when chronology alone is sufficient.
d. Would it be more useful to parse enumeration and chronology data currently recorded in MARC 853/863 fields into similar pieces like this:

Figure 27: Possible model for holdings data
e. Should we explore other ontology/vocabularies such as ONIX for Serials Coverage Statement (Version 1.0) or Enumeration and Chronology of Periodicals Ontology?
f. Would incorporating other models or vocabularies enable the reusability of data? For example, harvesting existing enumeration and chronology data from content providers.

Several groups have been, and remain actively involved in discussions surrounding modeling serials using BIBFRAME and other vocabularies. These include groups from the LD4P, LD4L, Library of Congress BIBFRAME working group, and the PCC BIBFRAME CONSER working group. Future reports from these groups may shed more light on modeling serials. Given the efforts currently devoted to this area of Linked Data implementation, it is reasonable to expect that best practices will be achieved before libraries are situated to begin the transition. It is also worth noting that work on this front could continue with different libraries adopting different serials models. While this scenario is not preferred, a multi-model ecosystem could be made functional through reconciliation graphs that use multiple sameAs designations to linked disparate graphs. The following section provides an in depth discussion of reconciliation models.

Moving from MARC to Linked Data affords us the opportunity to take a fresh look at the way we describe serials. The answers to the challenges mentioned may be found by rethinking existing practices. Regardless of the path forward in serials cataloging, this is an area where we can expect the necessity for staff re-training.

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