This is a complex situation, and I don't think there is a particularly simple solution. The simplest short term solution might be to create a work page for each magazine. The problem with this, that Perlnerd666 brought to light, is the potential size of each category. For example, one periodical may have published as often as one time per week. Let's look at two possible solutions to this problem:
1. A majority of periodicals were probably not published once a week - so let's wait until the second solution to analyze this scenario. Most periodicals were published once a month, which means would be dealing with organizing 12 issues per year. I would not mind having a maximum of 60 issues category page, which means at this rate we are dealing with a 5 year time span. Since we have tabs, it may be easy for each tab to contain 5 years worth of periodicals. For example, one tab would be "1865-1870". Even this, however, could potentially generate an overwhelming number of tabs.
2. For works that have 52 issues per year (once a week) we might be able to implement some sort of accordion-type collapsible table. That would serve to organize all 52 without cluttering the work page what-so-ever. I'm not sure if this is technically possible as I'm not altogether familiar with MediaWiki, but it's something to possibly consider.
Another overarching solution to the problem is to create a non-category page for each journal (.org/Wiki/Name of magazine) that would contain direct links to the PDF. All of the information about the periodical would probably be listed in a template at the top-right of the page that I would need to create (infobox). Since the publisher information should be the same, it won't be necessary to have publisher information for each periodical except for the year (level 3 heading) and month (next to the PDF link). A table of contents would be necessary as well. The obvious problem with this solution is ease of submission. It seems as though the PDF files would need to be directly uploaded using the "upload" link on the MediaWiki sidebar. In addition, this is usually a frowned upon practice and might give the wrong impression to new users; consequentially, how about we consider this to solve both problems:
*We create a composer category page called "Periodical submissions" where any regular user can submit a scan of a newspaper, magazine, article, etc. Any experienced user can then transfer the article accordingly and delete the work page used upload the file.
As I've said before, I'm far from a librarian - and perhaps for good reason! Respectfully, Emery
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