How to Catalogue Zines

by anchorarchivist...
  1. Log in to the website using your own member account (you must be a Librarian) or the general Anchor Archive account. Go to Log In in the side menu and enter your username and password. Contact Amanda if you need a username and password.
  2. First, double check that the zine has not already been catalogued. Even though it may not have a sticker on it, it may be a second copy of a zine that has already been catalogued or the sticker may have fallen off. Search for the zine by entering the title or part of the title in the Search box on the top right of every screen or by going to Zine Library > Zine Catalogue and entering the title or part of the title in the Title field. If you do not find the zine, go to the next step. If you find a record for the zine, you will need to create an Item record for it, which is a record for this particular copy of the zine. Go to Create Content > Item and then proceed to the section below Create Item record.
  3. In the menu on the right of the screen, find Create Content - Zine Record. Click on this. You will see a blank form for cataloguing a zine that contains the fields below.


Where do I find the Title? The Title of a zine can usually be found on the cover. If it's not on the cover, look at the back cover, first page, last page, or elsewhere in the zine for mention of the Title. Sometimes the Title may be unclear from the layout of the zine, like maybe there will be a few different possible Titles. If this happens make your best guess or look up the different Titles on the internet to try to find the right one. If a zine does not have a Title, you can make one up based on the contents of the zine or you can call it “untitled.” In either case, record the made-up Title in square brackets. [Rejection Letters]; [untitled]

How do I record the Title? Record the Title as it appears on the zine, EXCEPT capitalize the first letter of every word except for words like “a,” “the,” etc., even if the words are not capitalized on the zine's cover.

What if there's a subtitle?

  • Some zines have subtitles. For example, "Jane: Documents from Chicago's Clandestine Abortion Service 1968-1973." You can do a few different things with the subtitle.
  • If you feel that the subtitle is important for understanding what the zine is about, include the subtitle in the Title, separated by a semi-colon, as in the example above.
  • If the subtitle is not a necessary part of the title but it still offers important information about the contents of the zine, include the subtitle in the Summary field.
  • If the subtitle does not convey any important information at all or if it's really long, do not include it in the zine record. For example, “Willyboy: The Tranzine Preferred by 9 out of 10 Hollywood Stars.” This type of subtitle is not important to include in the zine record.

If a zine has a subtitle and an issue number, there are 2 different ways you can write it. If the subtitle pertains to every issue of the zine, use "title:subtitle issue number." But if the subtitle only pertains to this particular issue of the zine, write "title issue number: subtitle."

What if there's an issue number? Some zines have issue numbers. Include these right after the Title, with a number sign. Willyboy #3 (zine with no subtitle) On the Prowl #11: By Any Means Necessary (zine with subtitle)

What if there's an issue number AND a volume number? If a zine has a volume and issue number, include both in the Title and record it as follows: Ye Drunken Sailor Vol. 1, #2

What if it's a special edition? Some zines have edition statements, like "revised edition." This is important to include if the content of the zine has been modified. On the other hand, if it's simply a reprinting of the zine, you don't need to include this in the Title. If a zine has an edition statement, include it after the Title (or subtitle if there is one) in brackets and abbreviate the word "edition" and any number that's included. Stolen Sharpie Revolution (2nd ed.)


What is the Box Category? The Box Category is the broad category that the zine fits best into. These categories correspond with the names on the boxes where the zines are filed in the library and it tells patrons which box they can find the zine in. The Box Categories have been decided on by Anchor Archive volunteers after much debate and discussion. They are not perfect but most zines can be made to fit into one of them.

Where do I find the Box Category? The zine doesn't say which Box Category it belongs in so you need to figure this out for yourself based on what you think the main topic of the zine is. Sometimes it's hard to figure out which Box Category best fits the zine you are cataloguing because many zines can fit into many different categories. Remember that you can add other topics as Subject terms and patrons will still be able to find the zine in other ways besides through the Box Category. Try thinking about patrons who are browsing in the library and which box they might expect to find the zine in.

How do I record the Box Category? A list of Box Categories has been created by Anchor Archive volunteers. You just need to look at this list, select the one that best fits the zine you're cataloguing, and write it down or select it from the drop-down menu if you're cataloguing in the online catalogue.


What is a Subject? A Subject or Subject term is a topic that is covered by the zine. You can select more than 1 Subject for each zine. The number of Subjects per zine will vary. Some zines are only about 1 thing and only require 1 Subject. Most zines should have approximately 4-6 Subjects. They shouldn't have more than 10.

Where do I find the Subjects? Most zines do not contain a list of Subject terms, so instead you have to look through the zine and create your own list of words that describe some of the main topics covered in the zine. You should then compare this list to Subject terms contained in the Zine Library Subject Thesaurus. Try to choose words from the thesaurus that mean the same thing as the words you've chosen. Thinking of good Subject terms is the hardest part of cataloguing, so we've made some more detailed instructions for it, called How to Come Up with Subject Terms for Zines. It also helps to ask other people for their opinions and ideas.

It's important to differentiate between content and format in a zine. “Comics” and “interviews” are a type of format and should be entered in Physical Description, but “personal stories” and “quizzes” indicate content and should be entered as Subjects. Avoid using names of people, events, bands, movies, etc. as subject terms unless you are certain there are multiple zines about them. Instead include these names in the Summary field, so that they will still be searchable. For example, if you're cataloguing a music zine that contains interviews with members of the bands Dog Day, Windom Earle, and The Maynards, write a note in the Summary saying, "Includes interviews with Dog Day, Windom Earle, and the Maynards" and do not add the band names as Subject terms.

How do I record the Subjects? Record the subjects as a list separated by commas. User lower-case letters unless a word is a proper noun and needs to be capitalized. feminism, fat acceptance, Nomy Lamm, performance art If you are cataloguing in the online catalogue, as you begin to type in a subject the catalogue will look up other similar subjects and suggest them. Try to choose subjects that have already been used.


What are User Tags? User Tags are subject terms that are added to the zine record by users of the catalogue (or zine library members) rather than by cataloguers. This way if a cataloguer leaves out a subject term that a user thinks is important, the user can add it him/herself.

How do I record User Tags? Usually you will ignore this field since it's mainly used by other users later on. However, if there are other subject terms that you want to add to the zine record that you didn't put in the Subject field because you didn't have enough room or they were too specific, you can add them here as your own User Tags. List them one after another, separated by a commas, and in lower case letters except for proper nouns.


What is an Author? The Author is the person or organization who put together the zine and is responsible for most of the zine's content. If the zine is a compilation of a bunch of articles, the Author will be the person or organization who edited or put together the collection. You can list up to 3 Authors but usually there will only be 1 or 2. If there are more than 3, just decide which 3 seem most important and list those.

Where can I find the Author's name? Author names can usually be found on the first page of the zine, which is often an introduction to the zine and signed by the Author. Or sometimes you will find the name of the Author on the back cover or last page or wherever the contact address is listed. Sometimes the author will also be named in a copyright statement somewhere in the zine. If you don't find an Author name anywhere in the zine, leave this field blank.

How do I record the Author? Enter the name of the author(s) as it appears in the zine, unless the author is better known by a different name. Often only the author's first name or nickname will be given, and that's fine. You should capitalize the first letter in each of the author's names. If you are cataloguing in the online catalogue, as you begin to type the author's name the catalogue will look up other authors with similar names. If you see the same author you can select it.


What is a Contributor? Contributors are other important people who were involved in the production of the zine besides the author(s). This could include a publisher, an affiliated organization, or the name of someone who wrote an article in the zine, particularly if it's someone who is well known. You can enter up to 3 Contributors. If there are more than 3, choose the 3 that seem most important and leave the rest out.

Where can I find the Contributor's name? You may come across possible Contributors as you're looking for the name of the Author. You can also look at the authors of articles in the zine for possible Contributors. Often there will be no Contributors and this field will be left blank.

How do I record the Contributor? Enter the name of the Contributor(s) as it appears in the zine, unless the Contributor is better known by a different name. You should capitalize the first letter in each of the author's names.


What is the Publication Year? The Publication Year is the year that the zine was published. Sometimes you will come across a zine that has been reprinted. If this is the case, still record the original year as the publication year because that was when the content of the zine was first published. You can note in the Notes field that this is a second printing of the zine.

Where can I find the Publication Year? The year that the zine was published is usually printed on the cover, back cover, first page, or last page. Sometimes it's part of a copyright statement, sometimes it's included in the author's introduction. If there is no year given, leave this field blank.

How do I record the Publication Year? Record the Publication Year as a number, such as 2000. If both a month and a year are given, enter only the year.


What is the Geographic Location? The Geographic Location is essentially the city in which the author resided at the time of writing the zine, or the city given in the contact address for the author. Keep in mind that the zine could be about a completely different city than where the author lives, such as a travel zine about biking around Cuba written by an author who lives in Portland, Oregon. In that case, “Cuba” would be a Subject, whereas “Portland, OR” would the Geographic Location.

Where can I find the Geographic Location? The Location is usually given on the inside front cover, first page, back cover, or wherever the author's/publisher's address is listed. Sometimes no Location is given and this field is left blank, but if you know that the zine is from a particular place even though it's not on the zine, you can enter this Location.

How do I record the Geographic Location? Enter the name of the city, followed by a comma and an abbreviation for the state or province. Halifax, NS If only a state or country or region is named, record that as the Geographic Location. For zines from countries other than Canada or the United States, enter the name of the city and the name of the country. Paris, France If you are cataloguing in the online catalogue and you begin typing the location, the catalogue will look up whether that location has been entered before. If it has, you can select the same location and save time on typing.


Where can I find the Number of Pages? Sometimes zines have page numbers, which is great, because then you can just turn to the last page and enter that number in this field. But most zines don't have page numbers and then you should roughly count the number of pages, including front and back. The number doesn't have to be exact.

How do I record the Number of Pages? Note the number of pages only, without the word “pages” or an abbreviation of it. 20


What is the Physical Description? The Physical Description field tells users about the physical format of the zine. It is important for helping people find the zine in its box and for helping people figure out if it has the content they're looking for. It includes...

  • The size of the zine, such as full-page, half-page, quarter-page, half-page legal, etc. The default size assumption is letter, so you do not need to indicate the paper size unless it is legal or another size.
  • The presence of different types of pictures in the zine. These can be described as photographs, illustrations (hand-drawings), diagrams (pictures that show how to do something or how something is put together), or images (used to cover a variety of picture types or pictures cut out of a magazine or other book). Unless noted, pictures are assumed to be black and white, so you can note that they're colour if this is the case.
  • The colour of the cover.
  • Whether the content is in a special format, such as comics, journal entries, or interviews.
  • Any special features with the zine's cover or binding, such as if it's bound by ribbon or the cover is a piece of cloth or something fancy like that. If the cover is merely photocopied on yellow paper, you don't need to write that.
  • Anything else that you think is important to note about the physical format of the zine.

How do I record the Physical Description? Note all of the physical characteristics as single terms in lower-case letters separated by commas. full-page, illustrations, red cover, bound with string.


What is the Language? Language refers to the language that the zine is written in. Usually the Language is English, but sometimes it's something else or a mix of different languages.

How do I record the Language? Enter the name of the language, for example “Spanish.” If it's in more than one langauge, enter both separated by a comma, for example “English, French.”


What is the Summary? The Summary field provides a Summary of what the zine is about or what is included in it.

Where do I find the Summary? The author will sometimes provide the Summary for you in the form of the zine's subtitle or in the introduction to the zine on the first page. You can also make up a summary if one is not provided. You do not need to fill in the Summary field if you feel that the other information in the zine record does a good job of indicating what the zine is about or if you just don't have time. But sometimes the Summary field is really useful. Usually 1 or 2 sentences is sufficient, but you can make it as long or as short as you want. The Summary field is a good place to note unique content in the zine that you think someone might search for one day, such as interviews with bands.

How do I record the Summary? You can copy the text given by the author exactly, paraphrase it in your own words, or make up your own.


What are Notes? The Notes field is for any other information that you want to convey about the zine but didn't fit into any other fields. For example, you could note here if the zine was formerly published under a different title or if it has been reprinted.

How do I record the Notes? There is no standard for recording notes, so do whatever makes sense. For the above example, I would write something like, “This zine was originally published under the title ______.”


For each zine you catalogue, you need to create both a Zine record and an Item record. The Zine record is what you just created and it contains all the information about the content of the zine. The Item record is a record for an individual copy of a zine. Most zines will only have 1 Item record (1 copy) but some will have 2 or more. After you create a Zine record in the online catalogue and click Submit, you will be taken directly to a screen where you can create an Item Record. All you need to do is...

  1. Begin typing the title of the zine in the Zine Title field. The system will look up titles and suggest the to you in a drop-down menu. Select the correct zine title.
  2. The next field notes whether the zine is circulating or not. Most zines are circulating so you will not need to do anything here. If the zine is non-circulating, change this field to No. Otherwise, leave it at Yes.
  3. In the Cataloguing Status field select Fully catalogued.
  4. The Notes field is where you can note anything unusual about this particular copy of the zine you are cataloguing. For example, it could be damaged or have some special design element that is unique to each copy. Most of the time you will not enter anything here.
  5. Scroll to the bottom and click Submit.
  6. The system will bring you back to the Create Zine Record screen so you can catalogue another zine. But first, you need to make note of the Item Number or Item ID that is at the top of the screen. Write this on a sticker and stick it on the bottom right corner of the back of the zine. Reinforce the sticker with tape if it feels insecure.
  7. Stamp the inside back cover or back cover of the zine with the Anchor Archive Zine Library stamp.