Series & Serials


The term serial describes items published under the same title, generally as separate issues or annual texts. Some examples include: newspapers, yearbooks, journals, magazines, annual reports, newsletters, conference proceedings, etc.

The term series describes items published under different titles that all have the same secondary title, such as a series of individual books that form a trilogy. In archives, series may refer to a “record series” or group of items in a collection that have the same format, topical context, or other similarities.

Serials and Series in the Digital Collections

The UNT Libraries’ Digital Collections include a large number of serials and series. Although there are many variables, this page lays out specific examples about how we typically handle metadata for these items to maintain consistency.

Series Titles

“Series” in the Digital Collections are designated by Series Titles. These are often used to collocate groups of items to take advantage of the way that series and serial titles are browseable across collections and as a facet option for search results. Here are some broad categories of series used in the Digital Collections:

Series Types


Items related by chronology or created in a specific time period that may not be a calendar year.

  • Fiscal Year 1975

  • Academic Year 2013

  • 112th Congress

  • 80th Legislature of Texas

Series titles authorized by the Library of Congress (generally used for government documents)

  • AEC research and development report

  • Biological services program FWS/OBS

  • Research report (Southwest Region University Transportation Center (U.S.))

Archival collections and/or archival series

  • Schuhmann Family Photograph Collection

  • United Orthodox Synagogues records (MS 712)

  • Charles B. Moore Family papers, 1832-1917

  • Austin Papers: Series IV, 1831-1834

Published series

  • Publications of the Texas Folklore Society

  • War and the Southwest series

General categories of items within a collection that may improve browsing

  • Flood Insurance Rate Maps

  • The Ship and the Sacred Tree: Textiles from South Sumatra (exhibition title)

  • 10th Annual Texas Folklife Festival

  • [North Texas Politics & Public Officers]

For series titles to be most useful, the patterns for similar titles need to be consistent, particularly for chronological titles (e.g., Fiscal Year YYYY) where a single year generally refers to a range of time other than a calendar year. So, Fiscal Year 1970 would start summer/fall 1969 and end around summer 1970; Academic Year 1932 would start with the fall semester in 1931 and end in summer 1932.

Serial Records

As a general rule, formatting and values for serial records align with the Input Guidelines, however, some fields are more consistent across serial records than other kinds of records, or fit in common exceptions. The general characteristics of serial records in the Digital Collections include:

  • A standardized Main Title that fits a patterned template to ensure consistency, sorting, and findability for users

  • Many fields that stay essentially the same across all items in a serial with changes to numbers (e.g., volume/issue/quarter/etc.), dates, and personal names

  • Inclusion of Citation field information for publications with volume/issue numbers

This section provides an overview of general rules and common concerns specific to serial records in the Digital Collections with example values. It does not repeat in-depth formatting explanations covered by the general Input Guidelines for Descriptive Metadata.


  • All serial records have one Main Title and at least one Serial Title

  • Serial records may have additional titles, as appropriate



Main Title

  • The main title for a serial is constructed so that it stays consistent even if there are relative changes across issues (e.g., yearbook title pages tend to change every year even though the essential serial title stays the same).

  • Note that titles may still vary depending on the elements used by the item.

  • Here are some common title patterns:

  1. {title}, Volume #, Number #, {date}

  • The Battlecry, Volume 1, Number 5, October 5, 1979

  • NEW Source, September 1991

  • Scouting, Volume 67, Number 4, September 1979

  • The Pickwicker, Volume 20, 1952

  • Rawls Exchange, 2004

  • L.I.P. Bulletin, Volume 5, Spring 2011

  1. {title}, Yearbook of {school}, {year}

Prickly Pear, Yearbook of Abilene Christian College, 1963

  1. Catalog of {school}, {year}, {type}

  • Catalog of North Texas State University, 1979-1980, Undergraduate

  • Catalog of Texas Tech University, 2012-2013, Undergraduate and Graduate

  • Catalog of Abilene Christian University, 1978-1979

  1. {organization/program} Annual Report: {date}

City Water Board of San Antonio Annual Report: 1970

  1. {organization/program} Requests for Legislative Appropriations: {date}

University of North Texas Requests for Legislative Appropriations: 2010-2011

  1. {organization/program} Strategic Plan: {date}

Texas Veterans Commission Strategic Plan: Fiscal Years 2013-2017

  1. Interim Report to the # Texas Legislature: {organization/committee}

Interim Report to the 83rd Texas Legislature: House Committee on Natural Resources

  1. {organization/program} Quarterly Report: {date}

Yankee Core Evaluation Program Quarterly Progress Report: April-June 1964

  1. Report of the # {conference}, {date}

Report of the Twenty-Seventh National Conference on Weights and Measures, 1937

  1. Proceedings of the # {conference}, {date}

Proceedings of the Workshop on Techniques for Measurement of Thermodynamic Properties, Albany, Oregon, August 21-23, 1979

  1. Newspaper titles tend to follow slightly different rules, to align with other guidelines:

{title} ({city, st.}), Vol. #, No. #, Ed. #, {day, date}

  • The Wylie News (Wylie, Tex.), Vol. 48, No. 41, Ed. 1, Wednesday, March 15, 1995

  • Breckenridge American (Breckenridge, Tex.), Vol. 33, No. 26, Ed. 1 Tuesday, February 10, 1953

Serial Title

  • The serial title is the part of the main title that stays the same for every item.

  • It should be capitalized the same as the main title.

  • Applied Nuclear Physics Division Annual Progress Report

  • Texas Highways

  • Texas Public Utility Commission Agency Strategic Plan

  • The Shinnery Review

  • Quarry Accidents in the United States During the Calendar Year

Added Title

  • Version(s) of the title written on the item that differ from the constructed title

  • 135th Annual Report to the Governor & Legislature: For Fiscal Year 2010 ending August 31, 2010

  • House Committee on Business & Industry, Texas House of Representatives interim report, 2008: a report to the House of Representatives, 81st Texas Legislature

  • Fourth Quarter 1999 State Sales and Use Tax Analysis Report

  • Forty Fifth Annual Report of the Sabine River Compact Administration for the Year 1999

  • Legislative Appropriations Request for Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015, Submitted to the Governor’s Office of Budget, Planning and Policy and the Legislative Budget Board by Fourteenth District Court of Appeals

  • Yellow Jacket ‘71

  • Agency Strategic Plan: For the Fiscal Years 2011- 2015 Period

Alternate Title

  • Used if there are extensive abbreviations or written numbers that may be searched numerically:

  • Report of the 35th National Conference on Weights and Measures 1950

  • Federal Communications Commission Reports, Second Series, Volume 27, January 29, 1971 to March 26, 1971

  • League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) News, Volume 1, Issue Number 3, Wisconsin, October 1977

Parallel Title

  • Used for non-English-language items

  • For serials in multiple languages (e.g., English-language and Spanish- language versions published together in a single issue), the main title will be in English and the parallel title will be in the other language

  • Niños con Necesidades Médicas Especiales: Boletín para familias, Enero de 2013

  • Lista de Proveedores de Cuidado Primario y Hospitales, Diciembre de 2008

  • For serials in a language other than English, the parallel title is the English-language version (if known)

Children with Special Health Care Needs: Newsletter for Families, January 2013

Series Title

  • Included when a serial is also part of one or more series

  • Argonne National Laboratory Reports

  • Fiscal Year 1994

Sort Title

  • A special, non-display title that forces a numerical or chronological sort rather than an alphabetical one when “sort by title” is chosen

  • Sort titles can be useful for serials when there is no volume/issue number if you don’t want it to sort alphabetically (e.g., April, August, December; Fall, Spring, Summer; Fortieth, Seventy-Second, Thirty-Fifth; etc.)

  • It can also be used to place an index in a sequence (e.g., the index to volumes 1-40 between volumes 40 and 41)

  • Since these titles do not display, shortened or abbreviated forms may be used (but this will affect how they sort when viewed alongside other items)

  • Note that for items with specific dates (e.g., months or seasons) it may be less necessary since they will still sort chronologically “by date” vs. multiple documents with the same publication date

  • Texas Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages by Industry and County, 2009, Q1

  • Retort, 1959-10

  • Texas General and Special Laws, Legislature 57, Session 3

  • FCC Report, S2, V40x, P1

  • Texas Talking Book News, 2012-24

  • Links Western Area Conference, 25

Uniform Title

  • A standardized title, such as a consistent title pattern (generally taken from an OCLC record, when relevant)

  • Agency Strategic Plan, for the fiscal years …

  • Annual financial report for fiscal year … of the Court of Appeals–Eight District.

  • Summary of Enactments … Legislature: Regular Session … Called Session …

  • Recreational Fishing Regulations: Effective …

Common Issues:

If the volume/issue (or another) number is written in Roman numerals:

Use Arabic numbers and include a note

Main Title: The Hexagon, Volume 98, Number 2, Summer 2007
Display Note: “Vol. XCVIII, No. 2.”

If a title includes abbreviations such as “Vol.”, “No.”, etc:

Write out full words in the title and include a note

Main Title: Cheiftain, Volume 12, Number 3, March 1964
Display Note: “Vol. 12, Number 3.”

If the issue covers multiple volume/issue numbers or months/seasons:

Include both/all with a hyphen or slash – generally match item formatting, but choose the most common/logical punctuation to keep titles consistent across a particular publication

Scouting, Volume 70, Number 3, May-June 1982
Hillviews, Volume 42, Number 1, Fall/Winter 2011

If information on the item is known to be incorrect (e.g., if the Roman numerals are not changed from volume to volume, or are written incorrectly):

Put the correct information in the title using [square brackets] and include a note as needed

Main Title: The Age, Volume [10], Number 10, October 1989
Display Note: “Vol. XII, No. 10.”

Main Title: Chieftain, Volume [1], Number [2], October 1952



Name formatting and entry should align with Creator or Contributor guidelines, e.g.:

  • Names of persons should be inverted (Last, First), with a space between initials

  • Hierarchical organizations should have a period after each level of the hierarchy (and at the end)

  • Whenever possible/applicable, an authorized form of the name should be used, if available (this is particularly true for government agencies and organizations)

Every creator/contributor must include a type and role



The primary editor(s)/author(s)/compiler(s) of the issue should be listed as creator(s)

In most cases, the first creator is the organization that publishes or sponsors the serial

Name: North Texas State Teacher’s College

Type: Organization

Role: Author

Name: Perryman, H. A.

Type: Person

Role: Editor

Info: Editor-in-Chief

Name: Kraft, Michelle

Type: Person

Role: Editor

Info: Co-Editor

Secondary agents should be listed as contributors, e.g.:

  • section editors

  • funding agencies

  • photographers

  • contributing authors

For formal journals, contributing writers are generally listed as contributors (role: author) with the title(s) of their contributions in the info portion of the field

Name: United States. Department of Agriculture.

Type: Organization

Role: Originator

Name: Klocko, Barbara A.

Type: Person

Role: Author

Info: Designing Sustainable Schools: The Emergent Role of the Superintendent as Sensemaker

Name: Marshall, Steve

Type: Person

Role: Other

Info: Business Manager

Common Issues:

If a person named in the item has an ambiguous relationship to the item:

  • Do not include the person(s) if there does not seem to be an explicable connection (e.g., the executive board of an agency, with no explanation that they contributed to the item)

  • Include the person(s) if there is a reasonable connection, depending on the kind of relationship, e.g.:

    • The director of an agency who has no apparent personal contribution to an agency report: include the name in the info field for the agency

    • The director of an agency who has (at least) written an introductory remark/transmittal letter/etc.: include them as a contributor (role: author or author of introduction, etc.)

  • Name: United States. Office of Experiment Stations.

  • Type: Organization

  • Role: Author

  • Info: W.O. Atwater, Director

  • Name: Cooper, Sam B., III

  • Type: Person

  • Role: Author or introduction, etc.

  • Info: Manager, Purchased Health Services Unit

If the role of persons is vague (e.g., “Contributors”):

  • If a general sense of their contribution can be determined – e.g., in a magazine or journal, staff are most likely writers/authors – choose that role and add the statement to the info portion of the field

  • If the role is completely unclear, choose “Other” and add the statement to the info portion of the field

If issues have an extremely large number of contributors (i.e., more than 20), especially with unnamed roles:

  • If some contributors have explicit roles and others do not, only include those with named roles

  • If none of the contributors have named roles (e.g., “Journal staff”):

    [a] do not include any of the names, [b] include all of the names, or [c] include the first 15-20 contributors only.

(This may depend on the particular collection.)

  • Try to be consistent across a particular publication





  • The publisher is often the same agency listed as the primary creator (or parent agency)

  • Name formatting should align with publisher guidelines, e.g.:

    • Hierarchical organizations should have a period after each level of the hierarchy (and at the end), listed from largest to smallest

    • Whenever possible/applicable, an authorized form should be used, if available (particularly for government agencies and organizations)

  • Location names are written out (e.g., city, state ; city, country)

Name: United States. Government Printing Office.
Location: Washington D.C.
Name: Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
Location: Austin, Texas
Common Issues:

If the publisher’s location is unknown or unclear:

Leave the location portion blank or generalize (e.g., a state or country only, instead of a city)

Name: Brookhaven National Laboratory

Location: United States

If the publisher’s location is known but not printed on the item:

Include the location in [square brackets]

Name: United States. Patent Office.

Location: [Washington D.C.]





  • Include the publication date of the item using the format YYYY-MM-DD

  • Whenever possible, be specific – i.e., include the month/season – especially for items that have multiple issues per year

  • Serials published seasonally that do not list publication months may have dates using the YYYY-SS format (Spring = 21, Summer = 22, Autumn = 23, Winter = 24)

  • Prefer the most specific known date (e.g., month vs. season code, if known)





Common Issues:

If the issue is a seasonal publication:

Some publications will list a specific issue date on the cover or title page, or will have a statement about publication frequency, often where staff are listed (e.g., “Published quarterly, every February, May, August, and November…”) – in that case, use the corresponding month, otherwise use the season



If the issue covers multiple months, seasons, etc.

For regularly published journals or magazines (e.g., January/February issue), use the first month/date

(Generally a bimonthly publication is issued at the start of the listed period, with content/ announcements over that time)


For reports that describe activities, or work completed in a timeframe (e.g., “…for year ending August 31 1945”), use a reasonable date just after the report’s scope – e.g., the first month in the next fiscal year, the season after a quarterly report, or the next year for an annual calendar-year report

(Generally these reports are describing work completed so they have to be published after the year/month/etc.)







Include the language(s) of the item, chosen from the list



Common Issues:

If the item is in a non-English language not on the list:

Choose “Other” and add a Display Note

Language: Other

Display Note: Includes passages in Vietnamese.

If the item is in a non-English language and you cannot determine the language:

Language: Other

Display Note: Language of the text is unknown





Content Description

  • Generally the content description will be essentially the same across all records for the publication

  • This is a brief, 1-3 sentence description, including some combination of:

    • Kind of item/publication

    • Frequency of publication

    • Content/goals of the publication and/or agency

  • Additionally, it may be important to include details about the particular issue, e.g.:

    • Issue theme

    • Page number of an index

    • Specific topics covered

Agency strategic plan for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles describing the organization’s planned services, activities, and other goals during fiscal years 2013 through 2017.

Journal published by the Texas State Historical Association containing articles written by members of the Junior Historians about various aspects of Texas history.

Biannual publication “devoted to the rich history of Dallas and North Central Texas” as a way to “examine the many historical legacies–social, ethnic, cultural, political–which have shaped the modern city of Dallas and the region around it.” This issue focuses on “Law and Disorder.”

Yearbook for Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas including photos of and information about the university, student body, professors, and organizations. Name indexes start on page 314.

Weekly newspaper from Livingston, Texas that includes local, state, and national news along with advertising.

Monthly report outlining tax revenues and remittances for alcoholic beverages, listed by city, for January 2021. It also compares the statistics to the same period for the previous year.

Physical Description

  • Follow the guidelines for text and include any known information

  • The general format template for text items is: # p : {ill./col.ill./ports./etc.} ; h cm.

254 p. : ill., ports. ; 32 cm.

82 p. ; 23 cm.

12, HC12 p. : ill. ; 27 cm.

iv, [141] p.

[357] p. ; 28 cm.

4 p.

Common Issues:

If the frequency of the publication changes:

Change the content description to match, or remove the frequency reference, if it isn’t consistent

If the pages are not numbered or the pagination changes many times:

Include the total number of content pages in [square brackets] (i.e., pages that would have page numbers if they were printed/sequential)

[44] p. ; 25 cm.

If the pages are numbered continuously across each volume:

  • A page range may be used (e.g., 60-88 p.), but in the interest of parsing information without duplication, consider:

    1. using the total number of content pages in brackets (so that users know “how long” the issue is) and

    2. adding the page numbers to the Citation field in Page Start and Page End entries (for search engines)

  • Always add a display note

Physical Description: [28] p. : ill. ; 28 cm.

Citation Page Start: 60

Citation Page End: 88

Physical Description: vii, 180 p.

Citation Page Start: 1

Citation Page End: 180

Display Note: Pagination is continuous across volumes.


  • Add terms that would aid users in finding the items

  • Use terms that are generally applicable to the entire publication, but you may also include some terms that are specific to an issue




Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)

  • These are not required, but can be included if available (e.g., from an OCLC or catalog record)

  • Omit geographic subdivisions (these duplicate coverage) and form subdivisions (prefer LCGFT)

  • United States. Bureau of Mines

  • Texas Tech University – Curricula

  • Texas. Office of Public Insurance Counsel – Appropriations and expenditures

  • North Texas State University

Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms (LCGFT)

  • All serials should have the term “Periodicals”

  • When relevant/appropriate, use the search modal to add relevant term(s) related to the type of publication

  • Periodicals

  • Newsletters

  • Course catalogs

  • Student yearbooks

  • Statistics

  • Annual reports

  • Conference papers and proceedings

  • Law reviews

University of North Texas Libraries Browse Subjects (UNTL-BS)

  • At least one UNTL-BS term is required for Portal records

  • Choose term(s) that describe the general concept of the entire

  • Use terms appropriately, e.g., “State Agencies” would apply to annual reports or newsletters about an agency, but may not apply to publications issued by an agency on other topics; financial reports about “Finance” rather than “Money” (physical currency)

  • Government and Law - State Agencies

  • Business, Economics and Finance - Medicine - Doctors

  • Education - Colleges and Universities

  • Social Life and Customs - Clubs and Organizations


  • When relevant, add general keywords that reflect the content of the entire publication or specific topics for an individual issue

  • Keywords should be lowercase and plural, unless they are proper names

  • Do not duplicate words that are in other subject terms

  • organizational planning

  • monthly reports

  • water conservation

  • financial reports

  • budgets

Common Issues:

If you cannot find an appropriate UNTL-BS term for a Portal item:

  • Look for a general, top-level term that may be appropriate and then add more specific keywords (or other available subject headings)

  • If there is truly no relevant subject, contact metadata administrators about adding a new term

Government and Law

Social Life and Customs






Place Name

  • When appropriate, add the place(s) that are described in the content

  • This may the the same as the publication location, but may be more general (e.g., state agency reports are published in Austin but about activities in the whole state; a document about a state park may be at a county level; etc.)

  • United States

  • United States - California - Los Angeles County - Los Angeles

  • United States - Texas - Jeff Davis County


  • If the serial describes a set time, include the single coverage date, or date range

  • Date ranges reflect the time or first/last dates covered by the content (e.g., stories in a journal or magazine; events, announcements, calendars in a newsletter; etc.)

  • Common date ranges for serials:

    • Academic start/end years

    • Fiscal year start/end months or dates

    • Quarterly start/end months or dates

    • Other explicit start/end dates for work completed or data collected (e.g., grant periods)

  • 1942/1943

  • 1963-09-01/1964-08-31

  • 2020/2021-01

  • 1999-03

  • 1956-03-11/1956-06-10

  • 1980-07/1980-09

Time Period

  • For Portal records, add the relevant time period(s) that correspond to the content of the item

  • Time period(s) can be included even if specific dates are not listed/ uncertain

  • Time periods are not used in the Digital Library

mod-tim (Into Modern Times 1939-Present)

Common Issues:

If the timeframe is known but ambiguous (e.g., fiscal year 1970):

  • Briefly, look at the item for any statement (e.g., in an introduction or copyright page) to see if there is an explicit statement or a list of previous publications on a regular cycle

  • If you can reasonably determine the timeframe, add the dates as a range

  • If you cannot find clarification (or if there is reason to think it may have changed), add general dates (e.g., years rather than dates) and mark one or both of the dates as approximate as appropriate

  • Note: Remember that fiscal/academic years almost always span two calendar years and they are named or identified by when they end (e.g., Academic/FY 2017 starts in fall 2016 and ends in spring or summer 2017)

  • 1969-01-01/1970-12-13

  • 1969~/1970


  • For some types of serials (especially those that have multiple parts – e.g., volume, issue, etc.), citation segments can be parsed out

  • Each part should go in a separate entry with an appropriate label




Publication Title

This is the Serial Title for the item


Las Sabinas

Southwest Retort

Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling


Include the volume and/or issue number(s) as single Arabic numerals

Volume: 40

Issue: 2


  • These parts are generally only relevant for items that have continuous pagination (e.g., across a whole volume)

  • Include the starting and ending page numbers for the issue as single numbers in separate entries

Page Start: 211

Page End: 282

Common Issues:

If the volume/issue/other numbers are known to be incorrect:

Use the correct numbers in the Citation field and ensure that the error has been documented in a Display Note

Main Title: The Message, Volume [3], Number 24, April 8, 1949

Volume: 3

Issue: 24

Display Note: The volume number is misprinted as “Vol. II.”

If the issue has multiple issue numbers:

Add separate entries for each issue number

Main Title: The Beekeeper’s Item, Volume 5, Number 11-12, November-December 1921

Volume: 5

Issue: 11

Issue: 12

Resource Type/Format




Choose the most appropriate resource type

  • Journal/Magazine/Newsletter (text_journal)

  • Report (text_report)

  • Yearbook (text_yearbook)

  • Book (text_book)

The format should match the type


Common Issues:

If you are uncertain about the type:

Choose the type that most closely matches, based on the glossary





Include any known identifiers on the item or from an OCLC/catalog record, e.g.:

  • ISSN

  • OCLC number

  • LCCN (validated, in normalized format)

  • Call number

  • SuDOC or TxDOC number

  • Report number

OCLC: 16855105

ISSN: 0038-478X

LCCN: 12020299

TxDOC: A900.3 ST82

Common Issues:

If you do not have an OCLC record or standard identifiers:

Identifiers are not required and not all serials have externally-assigned identifiers (e.g., ISSNs or LCCNs). If there are identifiers on the title or cover page (e.g., report numbers, series numbers, etc.), include those with appropriate labels; otherwise, leave the field blank

Report Number: LF-16


Selected Web Links:

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