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Cataloging Blogs as Serials

Dec - 5 - 2007
Nicole C. Engard

Back when I started here at the Seminary I decided to catalog my blog as an exercise in cataloging a serial. “But why a serial?” you may ask. I recently got an email to this affect and sent it on to Chris Schwartz, my cataloging mentor here, and here was her answer:

Here’s how we decided at Princeton Seminary as to whether or not to catalog blogs as serials or integrating resources (of course, both come under the umbrella of “continuing resources” in AACR2).

  • Even though blogs are websites (which are usually considered integrating resources) they have a distinct structure. We felt that blogs were most like serials.
  • We decided that the most important parts of a blog are its posts.
  • The posts do remain discrete. They are not integrated into the whole. So, the blog posts act like discrete issues of a serial.
  • Each blog post has what’s called a permalink. It is a permanent link to the post.
  • Also, like serials, blog posts have chronology and some have numbering. (My blog hosting software, TypePad, does not number blog posts, but Nicole’s does.) In fact, reverse chronology is one of the distinctive characteristics of a blog.
  • If you check the CONSER Cataloging Manual, you’ll see it’s possible to have a serial with chronology, but no numbering. I’ve only seen one of these in the last five years, but I’m not cataloging serials on a daily basis.
  • Even the comments left on blog posts have permanent links, and so remain discrete.
  • I don’t think there are any good arguments for cataloging a blog as an integrating resource. It’s true that the sidebar information, for example, a blogroll, does change and those changes are integrated into the whole. But the sidebar information is really peripheral. The posts are the most important part of the blog.

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