I have a question about a journal, specifically the Mathematical Intelligencer. On Springer's Mathematical Intelligencer web page (https://link.springer.com/journal/283/volumes-and-issues), issues in Volumes before Volume 30 are numbered strangely. Higher issue numbers are consistently listed as having been published earlier than lower issue numbers from the same volume, e.g. Vol. 27 Issue 1 = December 2005, Vol. 27 Issue 2 = March 2005, Vol. 27 Issue 3 = November 2005, Vol. 27 Issue 4 = September 2005. Issues of most volumes prior to Volume 30 are numbered strangely. I asked Springer about this but they don't know the answer. I'd like to find out the correct issue number vs. month correspondence for Volumes of this journal prior to Volume 30, e.g. perhaps someone has access to a library containing printed copies. Is this an appropriate question to ask on Math Stackexchange?

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    $\begingroup$ If Springer (publisher) itself doesn't have an answer for you, I'm surprised and wonder why you'd think math.SE. would have an answer for you. $\endgroup$
    – amWhy
    Apr 9 '21 at 16:20
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    $\begingroup$ I think MathOverflow might be a better place to ask, or possibly Academia.SE. Also, I wonder if the journal editors would be more likely to know the answer than the publishers, or at least know who might know. I had a similar question about a journal, and asking someone who was around at the time got me the answer. Other entities which might know/know how to find out are university libraries, and the AMS and EMS (as both keep extensive records of mathematical publications). $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Apr 9 '21 at 17:22
  • $\begingroup$ In fact, having reread your question I'm not entirely sure what you're asking, but you might find an answer by searching zbMATH or MathSciNet (of you have a subscription), which are the records+reviews of mathematical publications kept by the EMS/AMS respectively. $\endgroup$
    – user1729
    Apr 9 '21 at 17:35
  • $\begingroup$ zakuski.utsa.edu/~jagy/papers/Intelligencer_1995.pdf $\endgroup$
    – Will Jagy
    Apr 9 '21 at 20:53

I've found that for issues published before roughly the late 1990s, online journal web pages by major publishers are sometimes unreliable regarding issue numbers (and before 1960 or so, almost always incorrect, since they usually default to the entire volume being issue #1), and before roughly the late 1990s, online journal web pages by major publishers are often unreliable regarding issue dates (by which I mean the date that actually appears on the cover and/or in publishing info. paragraph that's on the inside of the front cover, bottom of the table of contents page, somewhere on the back cover, etc.). I say "major publishers" because, for instance, AMS journals (example -- issue date can be found by selecting "View front and back matter from the print issue") and other such organizations (example -- note the issue date can be found by looking at the issue's cover image provided) tend to put a bit more effort into being complete and correct.

I've also found that publishers are almost entirely unconcerned with these details about their older issues.

Incidentally, one online database that seems to be virtually complete and error-free with regard to issue numbers and dates is JSTOR. Although JSTOR's digitized papers are behind a paywall (and thus not available to me), a subscription or institution-access is not required to look up titles and author-title-journal-issue information (example). However, the Springer journal Mathematical Intelligencer (MI) is not at JSTOR.

Specifically in regards to MI, in searching through my personal bibliographies for MI entries (papers, book reviews, etc.), it appears that the dates for issues in Volumes 1-9 are year-only (1 #1 is 1978, 2 #1 is 1979, 3 #3 is 1981, 3 #4 is 1981 [not sure whether 1980 is skipped, or whether one of the other issues in Volume 2 and/or Volume 3 is 1980], and I believe issue #3+n is 1981+n for each n = 1, 2, ..., 6); and the dates for issue #1, #2, #3, #4 of Volumes 10-29 [not sure about the upper limit '29'] are Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall for the appropriate year (e.g. 10 #2 is Spring 1988, 14 #1 is Winter 1992, 17 #4 is Fall 1995, Volume 19 #3 is Summer 1997, etc.).

The way I (originally) found these MI issue dates is simply by looking at library copies of the journal volumes. In fact, since most of the MI papers and book reviews I have copies of are actual paper photocopies, for most of my MI bibliographic entries I didn't have to make a special trip to the library (because I hand-write the complete journal name, volume #, issue #, issue date on the first photocopied page of the item as I'm making the photocopy), but there are some entries I've learned about from other sources and never bothered to make a photocopy (and I don't have digital access to MI), and for those other entries, I visited a nearby university library in order to double-check (or complete) the information I have (usually this is done when I also have to, for various reasons, look up other things at the library, or when I'm meeting someone at the library for tutoring).


I am afraid that that's off-topic here. You will find here the list of questions which are on-topic and, as you can see, this forum is about Mathematics and software that mathematicians use.

  • $\begingroup$ I think this is at least as appropriate as "software that mathematicians use" (I'm not questioning whether or not this question belongs to the list of questions which are on-topic) because mathematicians cite papers (and did so even before "software", when a handwritten manuscript was submitted to a department's typist) and some prefer to give a bit more bibliographic information than volume-year. In fact, I would argue that the online discrepancy pointed out by the OP almost falls under the purview of "software that mathematicians use". (I note there are 2 downvotes. FYI, I didn't downvote.) $\endgroup$ Apr 12 '21 at 13:52
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't realize (or I had forgotten while I was writing my answer) that the OP's subject title can be understood as asking about a specific journal (and of course, the OP's question is about a specific journal). I suppose a case can be made that this specificity is more off-topic than a more general question about issue numbers and issue dates obtainable from online journal web pages, but the question could easily have been of this more general nature, and in fact it is this more general question that my answer mostly addresses. $\endgroup$ Apr 12 '21 at 14:03

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