The bibliographic levels were introduced to allow the identification, within a single reference, all bibliographic entries of which the reference itself is composed and which are required to make the description of a documentary unit complete.
This therefore brings about the issues of relationships between a reference and another that would make it complete for ease of management and discovery. Three levels can be distinguished namely,
Commonly referred to as A level, is used to classify documentary units that are not issued separately but as parts of a larger bibliographic entity. Analytical can therefore be part of, a monograph (AM), a series (AS) and a monographic series (AMS).
Note: The A level can never stand alone.
Commonly referred to as M level, is used to classify documentary units that are complete at the time of issue or are to be issued in a predetermined number of parts for example (Nursing in Africa. Part. 1 and Nursing in Africa Part. 2) This are complete units but are related to each other by the fact that they are on they are dealing with the same topic.
Note: Possible combinations are M, AM, AMS.
Commonly referred to as S level, is used for publications issued in successive parts, usually having numerical or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. These include Serials, Periodicals, Newspapers, Journals and Monographic Serials.
Note: The S can never stand alone. Possible combinations are AS, AMS and MS.
The previous AGRIS system is based on a flat file where by, metadata information of a resource that is part of another resource could not stand alone, and had the metadata information of the larger part included as part of the record. This was to enable a user to discover and locate the analytic resource through finding the larger whole. This therefore gave the current structure whereby a metadata record consists of information of the parent (larger whole).
With the advent of new technologies and new emerging standards, it is recommended that a metadata record consists of information of that is only pertinent to a particular resource but and any other information deemed important for discovery and access to the resource.
This therefore brings in the concept of linking of resources that are part of or have parts through a specific metadata record element, e.g. by the use of the Relation element of the DC Element Set. The DC element, Relation has been elaborated to give different forms of relationships that can possibly exist between two resources.
Examples: Is Part Of, Has Parts, Is Version Of, Has Version, Is referenced by, Reference, Is format Of, Has Formats, It Translation Of, Has Translation.
However, It is noted that the Relation element is not able to cater to the previous AGRIS system because the current proposed value for this element is limited to an Identifier, where as, there is abundant metadata information of the larger whole part (M and S) which is considered necessary and should be retained. This therefore led to the introduction of the elements Source and Citation.
The Source element will be a container element for metadata information of the “Monographic level” or the larger whole resource that is conceived necessary for discovery of an “analytic” resource (See 4.14).
The Citation element is proposed to contain the information of the Serial (See 4.15).
Diacritical marks are the use of accent marks within certain languages. The old guidelines prohibited the use of diacritical marks because the system could not handle them. The AGRIS AP allows for use of diacritical marks because it will use the Unicode Standard. The advent of Unicode provides a way for all the necessary diacritic characters to be contained in a single font.
Transliteration is the conversion to the Roman alphabet of other alphabets such as Greek, Cyrillic, Arabic, Chinese etc. The AGRIS AP allows transliterations if available.