When looking at the Journal of the London mathematical society in Mathscinet, I notice that the system displays two different journals under this name:

  • Journal of the London Mathematical Society and

  • Journal of the London Mathematical Society. Second Series

Similarly, there are:

  • Annals of Mathematics and

  • Annals of Mathematics. Second Series.

Sometimes there are even more series. There is for example Proceedings of the London Mathematical Society. Third Series

What does this mean?

2 Answers 2


Some journals restart their volume numbering on occasion. This reset marks a start of a new "series". In order for a reference to point to a unique paper, it is then common to specify both series and volume numbers (though series can typically also be inferred from the publication year). In the case of Annals of Mathematics, a new series was started the first time the journal moved universities.

  • 4
    I always found it strange that when the Bulletin of the Amer. Math. Society restarted its volume numbering in 1979, the new volumes were not called "Second Series" but "New Series" (MathSciNet writes "Bull. Amer. Math. Soc. (N.S.)"), as if the editors didn't think about the burden this places on future editors who would ever create another series after this: Brand New Series? New New Series?
    – KCd
    Commented May 26, 2023 at 1:00
  • @KCd is that really relevant? The year disambiguates the series. If you cite a paper from 1982, it is obviously from N. S.
    – Davidmh
    Commented May 26, 2023 at 7:20
  • @Davidmh my point was that the decision to use the term "New Series" puts future BAMS editors in an awkward situation if they want to create another volume series after "New Series". Surely the folks who thought it was worth renaming the volumes as "New Series" could not have thought "We want to restart the numbering again at 1 but nobody after us will ever want to do that."
    – KCd
    Commented May 26, 2023 at 17:23

The January 1904 Proceedings was the first in the "Second Series". In it on page 1 was a

Notice Concerning the Second Series of "Proceedings."

THE following statement made by the President, Prof. H. Lamb, at the meeting of the Society, held on June 11th, 1903, is reported in Proceedings, Vol. XXXV., pp. 460, 461:—

"The first four volumes of Proceedings contain the papers of eight and a half years (January, 1865–June, 1873). Vols. V.–XXIX. correspond with the Sessions 1873–1898, one with each Session. Vols. XXX.–XXXV. are edited in accordance with the rule that the 'Volumes shall contain as nearly four hundred pages as may be found convenient, provided that each volume shall begin with the Report of Proceedings at a meeting, not necessarily an Annual General Meeting.' These volumes contain the records of proceedings at meetings, followed by the papers read at the meetings, and they also contain Appendices in which are Notes and Corrections and Obituary Notices of deceased members. The Council has decided that in future the records of proceedings at meetings and matter of the kind previously placed in Appendices shall be collected at the beginnings of volumes and shall have a different pagination from that of the papers, and that the records of proceedings at meetings shall be issued for a Session at a time in the earliest completed volume after the end of the Session. … The volumes are to contain as nearly five hundred pages as may be found convenient."

To summarize — the London Mathematical Society changed their rules governing the Proceedings, enough that they decided to clearly separate the Second Series from the original.

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