On Tue, Jun 15, 2010 at 5:49 PM, Kyle Banerjee <baner...@uoregon.edu> wrote:
> No, but parsing holding statements for something that just gets cut off
> early or which starts late should be easy unless entry is insanely
> inconsistent.

And....there it is. :-)

We're really dealing with a few problems here:

 - Inconsistent entry by catalogers (probably the least of our worries)
 - Inconsistent publishing schedules (e.g., the Jan 1942 issue was
just plain never printed)
 - Inconsistent use of volume/number/year/month/whatever throughout a
serial's run.

So, for example, http://mirlyn.lib.umich.edu/Record/000045417/Holdings#1

There are six holdings:

1919-1920 incompl
1920 incompl.
v.4 no.49
v.6 1921 jul-dec
v.6 1921jan-jun

We have no way of knowing what year volume 4 was printed in, which
issues are incomplete in the two volumes that cover 1920, whether
volume number are associated with earlier (or later) issues, etc. We,
as humans, could try to make some guesses, but they'd just be guesses.

It's easy to find examples where month ranges overlap (or leave gaps),
where month names and issue numbers are sometimes used
interchangeably, where volume numbers suddenly change in the middle of
a run because of a merge with another serial (or where the first
volume isn't "1" because the serial broke off from a parent), etc.
etc. etc.

I don't mean to overstate the problem. For many (most?) serials whose
existence only goes back a few decades, a relatively simple approach
will likely work much of the time -- although even that relatively
simple approach will have to take into account a solid dozen or so
different ways that enumcron data may have been entered.

But to be able to say, with some confidence, that we have the full
run? Or a particular issue as labeled my a month name? Much, much
harder in the general case.


Bill Dueber
Library Systems Programmer
University of Michigan Library

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