A periodical is defined as "a publication issued in successive parts usually at regular intervals and as a rule intended to be continued indefinitely" by A.L.A. Glossary of Library Terms. On the other hand, Ranganathan defines a periodical publication as a Conventional Document of Kind 1 with the following attributes:
- A volume, or a small group of volumes of it, is intended to be published or completed normally once in a year (or at other regular intervals), though irregularity in interval is not ruled out.
- Each successive volume, or periodical group of volumes, is usually distinguished by the year of publication and/or by a number belonging to system of simple or complex ordinal number. Such a number is usually called the Volume Number.
- The intention may be to continue the publication of the volumes for ever, though not actually be carried out,
- The intention may be to continue the same title in all the volumes, though this may not actually be carried out.
On the other hand, ISO Standard 3297 defines a serial as "a publication in printed form or not issued in successive parts usually having numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely" Thus, the term serial encompasses an extremely wide range of material including journals / periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, technical and research re-ports, yearbooks and annuals, and national and international government publications.
In modem times, it is necessary for the collection manager or librarian to be prepared to deal with periodical / serial literature published in a variety' of physical formats in addition to the traditional print on paper. For example, microfilm and microfiche have, for many years, been popular serial formats. An important development in recent years is the increasing number of periodicals / serials available in electronic formats, either as full text on-line databases or on CD-ROM. CD-ROM is a particularly useful format for indexing and abstracting services, and the number of indexing and abstracting journals on CD-ROM is increasing. Core titles such as Biological abstracts, Index medics, Science Citation Index, ERIC databases are widely avail-able, sometimes from several different publishes.
Whatever may be the format, the activities of the Periodicals Department include those pertaining to selection, ordering and receipt of periodicals / serials. To be efficient and effective, the Periodicals Department has to function in close cooperation with other departments, especially the Reference and Documentation departments which are directly concerned with the