I would like to know what a particular form of publication is called, when a work is a collaborative effort of many writers and possibly more than one editor, published in weekly or monthly parts and intended to be bound into volumes by the subscribers (or perhaps reprinted bound by the publisher at a later date). Does anyone know what this is called?

An example would be The Times History of the War (here).


I would call it a partwork, defined by Wikipedia as a written publication released as a series of planned magazine-like issues over a period of time.

Sometimes (but not usually, I feel) a partwork may be entirely the work of a single author. If it's important to clarify that there are multiple contributors, I'd call it a collaborative partwork

  • 1
    Thank you, FumbleFingers, that's the word I was groping for. Jul 31 '11 at 16:49

The word you're looking for is magazine (from OED):

Magazine noun 1. a paper covered, illustrated periodical containing articles or stories etc. by a number of writers.

You example fits this definition, since it has a paper cover, comes out periodically (weekly in this case), and has more than one writer.

Another possible word is anthology (from OED):

Anthology noun a collection of passages from literature, especially poems.

Although the definition restricts the pieces in the collection to literature, so is less appropriate.

If the works are later published all as one it could be called an "omnibus edition", or in fact, an anthology!

  • Thanks for your answer; there's another word that I'm sure I know but still can't think of. I'll recognise it when I see it. Jul 31 '11 at 11:10

Weekly or monthly parts: call this a serial publication. For example, Dickens novels were often first published as serials.


Several authors: anthology.

With both of these features: this is a serial anthology.

  • But Dickens novels are all written by the same author, as are most serial publications, I think. Jul 31 '11 at 14:35
  • @FumbleFingers: Many science fiction serials were written my multiple authors. What makes a serial is the continuation of the story line and characters. That is why TV episodes anthologies are called a series.
    – zenbike
    Jul 31 '11 at 15:50
  • @zenbike: But we're not talking about tv. And the fact that some sci-fi serials have multiple authors doesn't invalidate my assertion that most serials of this type have a single author. Jul 31 '11 at 16:14
  • No, bt the terminology for television was begun from magazine anthologies. It is the same terminology. And most is a very relative term. most scifi serials don't have the same author. And I would argue that the majority of current serials are in that genre.
    – zenbike
    Jul 31 '11 at 16:34

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.