StaffGuide: Receiving & Processing

Change in Enumeration


Occasionally a publication will have the volume or issue number misprinted on the piece. Let's say, for example, that our check-in card indicates we are to receive v.130 no.5 (Feb 10, 2015), with the previous issue being v.130 no.4, but the piece we receive reads v.130 no.6 (Feb 10, 2015).

When this occurs, you should make every effort to ensure that the enumeration is a misprint and not a skipped issue or a frequency change.

  • Begin by reviewing the most recently checked-in issue to verify that the numbering for that issue is correct. You can simply look at the check-in box if you feel that is sufficient, or you can examine the physical piece on the shelves.

  • While reviewing the numbering also check the publication schedule of the journal as listed in Sierra (which should be either in the check-in record or indicated by the frequency in the 310 field of the bib record), comparing it with the publication schedule listed in the possible misprinted issue. If they differ, this may not be an enumeration error but a frequency change.

  • Finally, if available, use any URLs located in the check-in record or 856 field of the bib record, or online database holdings (which would be in a separate online record that you would have to search for in Sierra), to examine any online archives to see if any issues we were supposed to receive before the issue in hand have been published and never received by us. If by doing this, you find that the enumeration of the issue in hand is correct, it would be a skipped issue situation and not an enumeration error.

If the numbering still appears to be in error, you can check in the issue using the following procedure: 

  • Double click the box to be checked in to open the Modify Boxes Individually (Ctrl-M) menu.
  • Indicate the correct enumeration (what it should be) by applying brackets [] to the elements believed to be in error. Brackets denote that the information is something added by serials and cannot be found printed on the issue.
  • Add a Public Note that reads: Misnumbered as [v.] [no.] on piece (date/initials) (with volume and issue corresponding to what is listed on the publication).

               Example of how to treat a typical enumeration error in the check-in box (note the brackets and public note):

Enumeration error

For errors involving alternate enumeration, the note should be placed in the staff note box since alt enumeration does not show up in the public view:

Alternate enumeration error

*****If you receive a publication that continually has enumeration errors, you may contact the publisher and try to get the issue resolved if there is solid contact info, however in most cases, it is more convenient to simply drop the enumeration and just check in by cover date, if the cover date is consistent (which in most cases, it is). Consult with the Receiving Specialist on how to proceed with titles that have continuous misnumbering, who will make the final decision on how to solve the problem and perform the necessary card maintenance.*****


Occasionally, you will encounter a change in enumeration that does not involve a misnumbering, frequency change, or skipped issue, but simply a change in how the publisher numbers issues. However, these situations will often accompany a cover date change. These situations are rare, but when they happen they require card maintenance. When this occurs (generally at the start of a new volume or year), please pass the issue along to the Receiving Specialist for processing of the enumeration change before proceeding with check-in.

Useful examples of this have occurred in the publications Bicycling and Landscape.

In Bicycling, the publisher started adding a whole issue number in addition to the volume and issue number that normally accompanies an issue:

enumeration change

After the enumeration change has been processed, look for any further instructions added by the Receiving Specialist, which may involve monitoring throughout the year and the possible need for future adjustments and maintenance checks, as stated in this note:

enumeration change instructions

enumeration change instructions

enumeration change instructions

In Landscape, the title previously didn't have enumeration, but was added with the first 2019 issue, because the season was dropped from the cover date and the enumeration was needed to distinguish the issue and ascertain chronological order within a year:

enumeration and cover date changes

enumeration and cover date changes

Change in Cover Date


This procedure is for journals that change how they format their cover date. The most common example of this is a quarterly journal switching from months to seasons or vice-versa, but also may include a bimonthly journal starting to list one month instead of two, or the result of a frequency change, i.e. a bimonthly magazine switching to quarterly, as illustrated here:

cover date and frequency change

Thus, when you see a new cover date format, it is a good idea to search the piece for evidence of there also being a frequency change. Before checking the issue in, pass it along to the Receiving Specialist when it looks like a cover date change and/or frequency change needs to be implemented. 

To see what the Receiving Specialist will carry out, see the sections below.

If you encounter an error in the COVER DATE as printed on a journal, you can use the same procedure as described above with enumeration errors, but using the term "misdated" in the box note. Note that Sierra's programming does not allow cover dates to be bracketed, so you will simply need to enter the correct cover date into the date field and explain the error via public note.

Processing--Change in Cover Date

Receiving Specialist: Working on Change in Cover Date:

NOTE: If it is a frequency change rather than a change in cover date then view our section on processing frequency changes.

The Receiving Specialist will carry out the following for change in cover date:

  • Begin by correcting the check-in box for the issue received with the correct information to match the journal’s cover date. Once corrected, you can check-in the journal normally.
  • You will need to Edit Card (shortcut keys [CTRL]-[E]) and update the Chronology Captions level(s). For example, if the journal is going from using months to seasons in the cover date then you would change the Chronology caption for level 2 from month to season by typing the correct word (season) into the level 2 field. This will help when you need to update the cover dates in the expected boxes with seasons rather than months.
    • Also, is the journal going to use "Fall" or "Autumn" as a cover date? If it's going to use "Autumn" then you must check mark "Use Autumn instead of Fall" option located in the Frequency section. It it is going to use "Fall" as the cover date then you do not need to check mark the "Autumn" option.


  • Go back to the check-in card and update the cover dates for all the Expected boxes. To do this, highlight from the most recently arrived journal (likely the one you just checked-in which has the correct cover date) to the end of the card. Right click, select Box Menu, then Update Boxes as a Group, from here check off the Cover date box, and hit OK. The cover dates should be updated and correct. Do a quick check to make sure.

  • Cover Date Change Updating Boxes as a Group

  • Create a blank suppressed box before the issue with the cover date change. In the public note write, “COVER DATE CHG.” And in the staff note, detailing the change: “Switched from months to seasons," etc (date and initials).​

           ​Image of a Cover Date Change Box in the check in card in Sierra.

           Image of modifying the cover date change box individually in Sierra.

  • Finally, in the check-in record notes, add a 5 dash note that will be placed under the parameters note: "-----COVER DATE CHG: detail the change and which issue the change occurred (date and initials)". This 5 dash note will be kept for historical reference purposes.