Source Page Review by Type:Periodicals


For an overview of reviewing source pages, see Source Page Review Guide. See also Source Page Review by Subject: Periodical article for additional discussion of distinguishing between the *Subject* periodical article and the Source *Type* Periodical.


Source Type: Periodicals

Level of Complexity = Medium

The Source Page Name for Periodical Sources

The first item to be addressed for most sources that are periodicals is to reformat the page name to conform to the "Title (Publisher)" format preferred for periodicals. This sometimes raises issues regarding disambiguation or duplication. For example, an extraordinary number of periodicals are called "Newsletter" - obviously adding the publishers name is crucial to disambiguation in a search for this title. In other cases, the periodical's title already contains the name of the publisher, such as "Maine Historical Society Quarterly."

Resolving the dilemmas caused by lack of creativity in the titles of periodicals hasn't been broadly discussed by the wiki, but I've used the following approaches:

  • When a title is very generic, I have sometimes included the distinguishing information (the publisher) in the Title field as well as in the Source Page Name. This has the advantage of making the title in the "drop-down" boxes for autofill purposes more obvious and distinguished from other "Newsletters," for example. It has the possible disadvantage of making the citation generated for the record by WeRelate technically incorrect or duplicative. See Source:Newsletter (Mary and John Clearing House) for an example.
  • When a periodical's title is duplicative of the publisher, a library catalog entry might use a short hand for the name of the publisher (i.e. calling the publisher of the "Maine Historical Society Quarterly", "The Society"). However, WeRelate doesn't have a protocol for this, and since leading articles are generally dropped, calling the source page "Maine Historical Society Quarterly (Society)" would look a little weird.
Generally, I have gone ahead with the duplicative title and publisher name (see Source:Maine Historical Society Quarterly (Maine Historical Society)). In some cases it is tempting (and perhaps would be acceptable) to just leave off the publisher's name from the source page name. Again, this hasn't been widely discussed by the wiki, but if you have an example where you feel this would be preferable, you may wish to discuss deviation from the guidelines for Source Page Names. Note that Source:New England Historical and Genealogical Register is an example where the page name does not conform to the current standard, but it is so widely known that I'm not sure it is necessary to add the publisher (which is lengthy and almost duplicative of the title).

See also: Source:New England Connexion (Goshen, New York), where publisher is the same as the title of the periodical.

Choosing a Subject for Periodical Sources

I find that most periodicals have the Subject "Periodical (article)" by default. However, subjects generally describe content, not the structure of a source, so this subject has become a bit of a odd duck. And, on the face of it, the subject "Periodical (article)" would seem to be reserved for items of the Type "Article," yet this is not the apparent general practice.

Since WeRelate has the Type field "Periodical" to describe the nature of the source, when possible I select a Subject that reflects the content of the periodical. Thus, Source:Newsletter (Mary and John Clearing House) has the subject "Passenger/Immigration records." However, this practice hasn't been widely discussed by the wiki, so it is possible that the consensus will be that a different approach is preferable.

There are some periodicals - particularly ones with a wide range of historical, family history, and vital records content - where it is difficult to choose a subject that is appropriate for the publication as a whole. In these case, I've sometimes chosen Subject "Periodical (article)" as a stand-in to reflect that this is a periodical with a wide subject matter. I'd note, tho, that Source:New England Historical and Genealogical Register (probably the most widely known genealogical journal with a wide range of subject matter) has a subject of "History," and there's a good case to make that "History" or "Family History" are the most all-encompassing Subjects and thus the best choice for this type of wide-ranging periodical.

Cross-referencing and merging Periodicals with title changes

Publications often change their names, their publishing schedules, and other details. However, the advent of a new title does not always mean that a new set of volume numbers will be created; instead, the publication will continue the numbering of the earlier version. A decision may need to be made on whether or not multiple titles should be combined into one WeRelate source or should be maintained as separate (and cross-referenced) periodical sources.

I've found that libraries seem to handle this dilemma in both ways. And, guidance I've gotten from the WeRelate community has also advised both approaches. My approach has been to determine the best answer on a case by case basis. These are some of the questions I ask to determine the best solution:

  • What is the publication commonly known as?
  • How many years did the publication continue under an earlier title (versus the number of years under the current title)?
  • Are there existing WeRelate sources for the multiple titles? Have these sources been used by WeRelate users in citations?
  • What seems to be the practice of other libraries (via WorldCat), Google Books or the Internet Archive?
  • How similar are the names used for the publication?
  • How many different titles has the publication had in the course of its publication history (i.e. from Vol 1 to end or current)?
  • Is the numbering continuous (from Vol 1 No. 1 to present or end) despite the use of different titles?
  • Is there more than one WeRelate source that currently exists relating to this source (i.e. are there already WeRelate sources for different titles used by the publication)

Cross-referencing Periodical Sources

I often choose to keep multiple titles and multiple source pages when:

  • There are several (more than 2, or maybe 3) different titles used by the publisher in the course of the publication's history
  • When the earlier titles are generally well-known
  • If the earlier titles have been used by WeRelate users to create citations
  • When the earlier titles are widely available in under their original name (for example, no longer in copyright protection and available at Google Books or the Internet Archive)
  • When the Vol. number has restarted with the new title
  • When there are already multiple WeRelate Sources that cover the various names, especially if the Source Page has been used in a citation on a Person or Family Page (see "What Links Here" on left navigation bar)

I create a section in the text area that lists the variations on the periodical's name with links to their individual source pages. The titles are listed in chronological order and note which title continues another title, or is continued by another title. If the names used for the publication in various years are not very different, you might also add the years published in parentheses after the Source Page name [format would become "Title (Publisher) (Yr-Yr)"], just as we do with different editions of book titles in order to disambiguate. This rarely is an issue with periodicals, however, because there don't tend to be that many alternate names.

Merging Periodical Sources

I tend to merge earlier and later versions of a periodical when:

  • There are only 2, possibly 3, different titles used by the publisher in the course of the publication's history
  • The earlier titles were not published for many years compared to the total number of volumes
  • The earlier titles haven't been used by any WeRelate users
  • When the publicly available sources - WorldCat, Google Books, the Internet Archive - use one title to refer to the whole publication series.
  • When there is only one WeRelate Source Page currently created for the periodical (other titles for the publication don't have source pages and haven't been used in any Person or Family pages).
  • When the volume numbering is continuous from beginning to end (or current) and was not restarted when the name changed.

Provide the full publication history and alternate names in the text area. I've noticed some people have added "Formerly known as XXXX" to the title field, which would help a future WeRelate user find this source if they were searching for the earlier name of the periodical. Using the "#redirect[[Source:Source Name Here]]" helps to ensure the earlier names will still lead to the correct source page.

Periodical Source Examples

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