Cat. & Reference: Serials vs. Monographs: real-world application
Last July, Esquire magazine published an issue which included a short story by Stephen King. (It's the issue that had Angelina Jolie on the cover, fyi.) Since our special collections department has a vested interest in collecting materials related to Stephen King (Kingiana?), they acquired an extra copy of that issue. And now they want me to catalog it. The catch? They want me to catalog just the short story, not the issue as a whole.
It's perfectly possible to catalog a item which isn't a separate physical unit; it's called "analytic" cataloging. It just isn't very common because librarians have barely enough time to catalog all of the books and magazines that come in without cataloging each article or chapter individually. Plus, databases like LexisNexis contain the full text of the articles in many of the magazines we acquire, even if they don't use the same system of subject headings, etc. However, the special circumstances in this case warrant creating an individual library catalog record, just for this article.
So, is it a monograph or a serial? The "parent unit," Esquire, is definitely a serial, but what about one article in one issue? Is it a serial because it's part of a larger unit that's a serial? Or is it a monograph because it stands alone?
(If there are any librarians or library science students among my readers, please wait a couple of days to answer so that the civillians can take a crack at the question.)