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RDS@UF: Do I need a new serial record? Major changes - title changes

Resource Description Services department procedures and policies

Last reviewed June 2022 by Hank Young

Do I need a new serial record? Major changes - title changes

Major and Minor Changes

Since the 2002 AACR2 Rule revisions, libraries have used different criteria to determine whether a change in a serial's title requires a new catalog record. These procedures are substantially unchanged in RDA The full guidelines are in the CONSER Cataloging Manual, Module 16. This is a summary of that information. See this link for the complete cataloging procedure for title changes.

Major changes: RDA

  • The addition, deletion, change, or reordering of any of the first five words (six words, if the title begins with an article) unless the change is one of the situations in the list below
  • A change, addition, or deletion after the first five or six words if this changes the meaning or the subject
  • A change in a corporate body name anywhere in the title if the corporate body is a different body

Minor changes: RDA

  • Differences in representation of a word or words, for example:
    • Spelled out vs. acronyms
    • Singular vs. plural
    • One spelling vs. another (Journal of cooking flavors v. Journal of cooking flavours)
    • Arabic numerals vs. Roman numerals
    • Hyphenated vs. un-hyphenated word(s)
    • Numbers or dates spelled out vs. numeric form
    • One-word compound vs. two-word compound (whether hyphenated or not)
  • Addition, deletion, or change of articles, prepositions, or conjunctions in the title
    • Bulletin of the Psychotic Librarian Society vs. Bulletin, Psychotic Librarian Society
  • Rearrangements of the same corporate body and elements of its hierarchy
  • Addition, deletion, or change of punctuation
  • Different order of parallel titles, as long as the original title proper is still present
  • Addition, deletion, or change of words anywhere in the title that link the title to the numbering
    • Annual report for the year …  vs. Annual report for…
  • Two or more titles proper used on different issues of the same serial according to a regular pattern
  • Addition, deletion, or change in the order of words in a list provided that there is no significant change in the subject matter
  • Addition, deletion, or change of words anywhere that describe the resource, such as “magazine,” “journal,” or “newsletter”
    • But changes in frequency (Atlantic monthly vs. Atlantic) are still major changes


Receiving units should send these materials to The Cataloging and Discovery Services Department if they suspect a major change:  

Send us the first issue of the new title and the last issue of the old title.


Send us “surrogates” (i.e. scans or photocopies of the issues).

What do the catalogers need to see?

  • The title (both versions)
    • May be from the cover, or a title page (not a table of contents page, unless that's the only place the title appears)

What we would like to see if available:

  • Support for, or more information about, any title change(s)An editorial at the front of the magazine
  • Masthead data (“Journal of the Indecisive Scholar is published on occasion by Laser Printer Press …”)
  • A letter from the publisher describing the changes, if one was received

The cataloger will notify the receiving unit and the binding unit by email when the work is completed, and send back any issues provided.


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