Just as no two snowflakes and no two people (and no two people who think they are special snowflakes) are alike, so too are no two references alike. Sometimes elements of standard reference formats are missing, and both the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, sixth edition, and we here at the blog try to anticipate those situations with advice on what to do. Today’s blog post covers just such a situation: the missing volume number on a periodical.
First, double-check to make sure the volume number is actually missing. Search the front, back, and spine (if there is a spine) of the journal, magazine, or newsletter, as well as the table of contents page. Also, sometimes the volume number is buried (deep!) in the publication information. For example, I just picked up from the corner of my desk a back issue of my children’s Disney Adventures magazine. On the cover is the issue month and year (September 2006) but no volume number. On page 88, in 6-point type (OK, probably 4-point type; boy, it’s small)—along with the ISSN number, publisher contact numbers, subscription information, and copyright and trademark notices—the volume and numerical issue numbers (Vol. 18, No. 7) are included. So now I can create a reference for the Miley Cyrus and Ashley Tisdale interview that completely follows Example 7 (magazine article) on page 200 of the Publication Manual!
Barnes, D. (2006, September). Miley and Ashley BFF. Disney Adventures,
(Note to self: I need to clean off my desk more often.)
Second, double-check whether a volume number is needed at all. Note that in the case of online newsletters, the volume number is not required (see Example 9 on p. 200 of the Publication Manual).
(Online version of newsletter)
Third, consider whether the year is pulling double duty. If I have an issue number but no volume number for a publication paginated by issue and I am working from the hard copy (i.e., not the online version, or maybe no online version is available), I have a problem, because the issue number will look funny standing alone in parentheses without the volume number to anchor it. Yet, an issue number indicates that the issue is part of a larger volume. What is number of that volume? In some cases, the volume number is the year.
If you look at the first page of a Banking and Community Perspectives newsletter, for example, you can see that the year appears with the issue number, much as a traditional volume number would. Also, if you look at the archive for these newsletters, you can see that the archive is organized by year, and the issue numbers refer to the order in which the issues came out during each year, starting over at 1 every new year. Thus, if you are using a hard copy of a newsletter or magazine (and therefore need a volume number in the reference) and if a separate volume number is absent, the year may be pulling double duty, as is the case for Banking and Community Perspectives. If this is the situation with your publication, use the year in both places in the reference (i.e., the year position and the volume position).
(Hard copy of newsletter)
Blum, E. S. (2010). Building healthier communities from the ground up.
Banking and Community Perspectives, 2010(2), 3–10, 12.
Other questions about volume numbers? Let us know in the comments or at firstname.lastname@example.org! Please include examples or links to the publications or articles in question. Thank you!