Most Evergreen catalogers know that fiction series information is important to our patrons, so we check for this information in the bibliographic record. We make sure that the series name is in a 490 field (1st indicator 1) exactly as it appears on the item we are cataloging. But what goes in the 8xx field?
The 8xx field contains the established name for the series. Sometimes the name of a series appears with slight variations on each book (Suzie Q mystery, Suzie Q novel, Tales of Q), or changes dramatically as the series progresses. This can be confusing to a patron or staff member, so catalogers tie all the variations together by using an established series name in the 8xx field. Often the series name in the book is exactly the same as the established series name, but sometimes it’s not.
IMPORTANT: Never assume that the series name as it appears in the book (or the container if an audiobook or DVD) is also the established series name that belongs in the 8xx field. Always look it up.
So where do we look it up? The first place to look for the established or authorized series title is the Library of Congress Authorities website. Unfortunately, this website is not always easy to navigate, so here’s step by step instructions:
- Go to the Authorities website.
- Click “Search Authorities”.
- Type in the series name as it appears on the resource, omitting any leading articles (A, An, The).
- Select “Title Authority Headings” from the search type pull-down menu.
- Click “Begin Search”.
On the results screen, there are series and non-series titles, identified in the right hand “Type of Heading” column. Find the series title that matches your item.
- If the red button next to the title says “Authorized Heading”:
- Click the red button.
- Click on the series name to bring up the authority file.
- You’ll see that the name of the series is in the 130 field. This means that this authorized series title should be added to your record in an 830 field. The indicators in the 130 authority record field are the same as what you’ll use in the 830. There is never a first indicator and the second one is almost always a zero.
- If the red button next to the title says “References”:
- Click the red button.
- Click on the words “Authority Record” (NOT the series name).
- Click on the name of the series to bring up the authority file.
- You’ll see the series name in a 100 field, which means your series information belongs in an 800 field.
What goes in the 800 field is exactly what is in the authority file in the 100 field – author name as well as title. Copy the indicators and subfields exactly. If there’s a subfield d for the author’s date of birth, that goes in the 800 too. This is a GREAT use for the flat text editor.
In the first example above, the series being checked is written by multiple authors, so the authorized series title goes in a 830 field. In the second, the series is by a single author, so the authorized series name goes in a 800 field together with the author information.
You wouldn’t have to click all the way through to the authority record except that sometimes there are notes in the file about when to use the series information in a record and when not to. Also, by viewing the authority file, you can see the correct indicators and subfields that should be used.
So what if the series you’re looking for isn’t listed on the LC Authorities website?
Some series titles established in Evergreen are not LC authorized series titles. That’s because as a consortium we decided that tracing series is very important to our customers and we need to establish our own series titles even if there isn’t an authority file.
So if you cannot locate the series name using the LC Authorities website, first search Evergreen for the series name (do a series search) to see what other libraries have used in the 8xx field. If there seems to be a lot of variation, pick the name most frequently or recently used. Libraries with a NoveList subscription will establish series titles with the name that database uses if there is no LC authority file.
If you establish a new series title in Evergreen, remember that a series name appearing in the 800 field NEVER has leading articles, so omit the A, An or The from the series name.
A final note: Series statements never belong in the 245 field, even if that information appears on the title page. Our series statements (490/8xx fields) are now part of the Record Summary in the OPAC and can be easily viewed by staff and patrons.
For more information about how to add series information to a record, see Tip of the Week #55 (October 2010) and the EI Cataloging Procedures Guide.
Originally published on March 2, 2012.