StaffGuide: Serials Receiving & Processing

Serials Receiving & Processing StaffGuide Home Page

Publication Schedules



For many journals, we keep up-to-date publication schedule information within check-in records. Some publication schedules are complex and change often, so we keep notes in the check-in record of the current schedule, past changes, and possible future changes, which help us know which issue(s) to expect, how to create a new check-in card for the journal, and how to add boxes for the following year(s).

Publication schedules are usually found in fine print near the front or back of an issue, but might occasionally be mentioned in an editor's note or on the publisher's website, or arrive via a separate pub letter or vendor notification.

Please pay close attention to pub schedules at the beginning of the year or volume to look for any changes from the previous year/volume. This is usually when you will be editing the notes by recording the new schedule in the check-in record and/or deleting old schedules. Also, check the pub schedule if you notice anything that deviates from the current schedule in the middle of the year; for example, if you receive a double issue that wasn't mentioned in the pub schedule at the beginning of the year or volume.

NOTE: If the change results in a different number of issues per year or volume, this may also constitute a frequency change and must be given to the Serials Processing Specialist for review. 

Publication schedule notes are placed in high priority, usually in the 1 or 2 position of the check-in record notes. When adding a publication schedule note, follow the format: PUB SCH (year): [the schedule] per [volume:issue (cover date)] (date/initials). 

Pub schedule notes

If a publication schedule in the check-in record is a year old, in most cases, you can delete it. However, in some cases it may be good to keep a 2- or 3-year history of older pub schedules if they contain information that might alert you of what to expect in the future.

Example: Interior Design has a complex pub schedule that varies from year to year and contains special issues that need to be watched for, with specific instructions on how to treat them, when to expect them, etc.:

Complex pub schedule in check-in record notes

If the journal tends to follow a very basic and predictable publication schedule every year (i.e. quarterly starting in the Spring or monthly starting in January), it is not necessary to list the schedule each year in the check-in record. The 310 MARC field in the bibliographic record is sufficient clarification for these. With any schedule slightly more complex (for instance, mostly monthly with one or more combined months) or subject to change from year to year, it is good to record at least the current pub schedule as indicated above.

What if the bibliographic record doesn’t have a 310 MARC field, or the 310 is incorrect?

When checking/verifying the pub schedule for the upcoming year/volume, make sure it is reflected accurately in the 310 MARC field of the bibliographic record. If this needs updating or if there is no 310, pass the issue to the Serials Processing Specialist for review and possible retro clean up. For more information on how to process retro clean up of 310 and/or 321(s), check out the processing frequency changes guide


If the pub schedule is likely to stay the same or mostly the same, the turn of the year/volume is also a good time to add boxes for the entire following year (for example, at the beginning of 2019 you would make sure the boxes for 2019 are setup properly and then proceed to add boxes for 2020), to ensure that any issues that need claiming around that time come up for claims and to save time later. For detailed instructions on adding boxes to check-in cards, see the section on creating and editing a check-in card.

With some journals, it is more convenient to wait until looking in the first issue and verifying that year’s pub schedule before adding the full year due to the unpredictability and complexity of the pub schedule. With these journals, make sure you have a suppressed box reminding you to verify the pub schedule and at least one issue box with an expected date to cover your bases for claiming:

More complex pub schedule boxes

Does the journal have a Winter issue, and if so, does it go with the end or beginning of the year?

Winter goes with new year boxes

Watch for quarterly journals that publish their Winter issue as the first issue of the year rather than the last. Sometimes, they will switch from publishing the Winter issue at the end of the year/volume to publishing it at the beginning of a year/volume. All journals that put Winter with the new year should have this clarified in the check-in record as an extrapolation note (more on extrapolation here), formatted thusly:

Extrapolation note for winter goes with new year