Multiple records vs. single records for series and sets

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Generally, if a set/series/multivolume monograph can be described sufficiently by a single bibliographic record, use that record. Otherwise, use multiple bibliographic records. When using multiple records, ensure that access points that cover all parts are consistent across each record.

Single Record Preferred

If the work is published as a set (e.g. kits, multivolume encyclopedias), prefer cataloging on a single record, with call number analytics to identify the parts, unless a condition requiring multiple records applies.

Specific conditions that require single-record treatment:

  1. Each part is numbered but does not have its own volume title.
  2. The content of each part is sequential and cannot easily be understood on its own.
  3. Each part is numbered and all of the parts taken together form a single unit when complete. (e.g. The Yu-Gi-Oh! series of graphic novels each has a prominent volume number, and a volume name that only appears on the title page and back cover. All volumes are by the same author/illustrator. Each volume starts with "previously in…" and ends with "to be continued.")
    • Exception: Fiction series (especially trilogies) do not count as "a single unit" if each volume does not end in a "to be continued" cliffhanger or does not begin in media res.

Note: The presence of an index volume or a disc of "bonus features" or the like is a good indication that a set should be cataloged on a single set record regardless of any other conditions, but does not require it, as the "extra" volume could often also be cataloged separately if desired (e.g. a 4-disc set of Indiana Jones movies, the fourth being bonus features for the set).

Multiple Records Preferred

If the work is published in discrete parts that can be purchased separately, prefer cataloging on multiple records unless a condition requiring a single record applies.

Specific conditions that require multiple-records treatment:

  1. There is a significant difference in the responsible persons or organizations between parts, requiring different authorized access points. (e.g. The Sandman series of graphic novels are all numbered and all have individual titles, but each volume has different artists.)
  2. There is a significant difference in scope between parts, requiring different subject access points, and each part can stand alone. (e.g. a science set with vol. 1 "Volcanoes", vol. 2 "Tsunamis", vol. 3 "Earthquakes")
  3. There is any other significant difference between parts that would require a different access point or edition statement. (e.g. The original version of the Sin City series of graphic novels are not numbered, and each may have different edition statements.)

Single or Multiple Records, But Not Both

In the CCS database, there must be only one treatment for identical material—either all libraries' holdings on a single multivolume record or all libraries' holdings split up across multiple records, but never both at once. If such "duplicate" records have been created, choose the appropriate treatment (single record or multiple records) and merge or split the records accordingly.

Serial vs. Monograph

For travel guides, test preparation books, tax preparation books & law guides, use monograph records for newly added volumes.[1] For other types of materials that may be cataloged either as serials or monographs, use your best judgment to determine which is appropriate.

If your library acquires a volume that another library has already added on a serial record, do one of these two things:

  • Add your library's item for that same volume to the serial record. (Include a designation in the call number volume field, following the pattern established in the other item records.)


  • Move all libraries' items for that same volume to a separate monograph record for the volume. (Make sure the resulting item records do not have years in call number volume fields, either yourself or by contacting the affected libraries.)


  1. CAMM, November 14, 2018