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Resource Description Procedures & Guidelines: Copy Cataloging

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Copy Cataloging

1. Search for the book in Voyager by title. (Look out for duplicate records -- route titles with duplicate records to manager). From the results list, choose the item that matches the title and publication date you are looking for, and make sure the library location is AU. Open the bib record.



b. Determine whether you are working with an AACR2 or RDA record by looking at the leader byte 18 (will be coded “a” for AACR2 or “i” for RDA) and the 040 field (RDA records will include “$e rda”).






2. If the book does not have a shelf-ready label, write the call number from the 050 field in pencil on the title page. If it does have a shelf-ready label, verify that the call number on the both the label on the title page and the label on the spine matches exactly the call number in the 050 field.



Note: When saving the holdings record, confirm that the call number listed here matches the sticker and 050. In many cases, when working with shelf-ready books, it does not match and the cataloger will need to determine which call number is more appropriate and update the record accordingly. If choosing to use the call number from the holdings record, add it to the bib. record in an 090 field.


With a few exceptions (ex. conferences, reprints), the date in the call number should match the date in the 008/260/264.


3. Review the descriptive data in the record. If it seems incomplete or inaccurate, you may want to search OCLC to see if the record has been updated, or if there is a better record that could be used (see Appendix 1 for more detail).


Note: Be aware of the following general differences between AACR2 and RDA. In AACR2, information is more likely to be altered/abbreviated/omitted in order to create consistency between records and limit the amount of information presented in the record. In RDA, the general rule is to “transcribe what you see” and abbreviations are rarely used.


a. Date—Look for a publication and/or copyright date on the title page or title page verso of the book. Check to see that the date on the piece matches what appears in the 008 and 260/264.


In AACR2,  only the 260 is used. If a publication date is not specified, the cataloger will often list the copyright date instead. In RDA, the original cataloger will either supply a publication date (inferred from the copyright date) OR record “[date of publication not identified]” and add a second 264 field with the copyright date.


The following are four examples of how the same date information (title page verso states “c2013,” no publication date listed) may be expressed. Note that there is a single convention for AACR2 and several options in RDA.









This is the preferred method:



This is not preferred:






Please note: the coding in the 008 varies based on the type of date information presented in the record, not necessarily whether the book is cataloged using AACR2 or RDA. See OCLC Bibformats ( for more information on what these codes mean and how they are used.


RDA records will typically have publishing information in one or more 264 fields, rather than the 260 field used in AACR2 records. (See OCLC Bibformats for information on the 264 field: However, if the RDA (or hybrid) record has a 260 field, it is not necessary to change it to 264. In RDA, if a publication date is identified on the resource or supplied by the cataloger in square brackets,  that is the only date required in the record. Sometimes a cataloger will choose to include other dates, such as a copyright date or date of manufacture. Do not delete if they are correct, but do not supply them if they are missing.

b. LC Control Number (010 field)


Match the LC control number printed in the book against the 010 field. Add it if it is missing. Note: if the item is a reprint, the LCCN printed in the book may differ from the record, but does not need to be changed.



c. ISBN (020 field)


Match the ISBN on the back cover of the book and/or title page verso against the 020 field. If an ISBN listed with cataloging-in-publication (CIP) data does not match the other ISBN listed on the piece, prefer the other ISBN.



d. Title (245 subfields a and b)


Make sure the information presented in the 245 field matches exactly what is written on the title page of the book. If it does not match, edit it. RDA records may transcribe capitalization as it appears on the title page (unless the title is in all capital letters), while AACR2 records capitalize only the first word of the title, proper nouns and the first word of any titles within the title.

Local practice: capitalize only the first word of the title, proper nouns and the first word of any titles within the title.


AACR2 example (this continues to be our local practice):



RDA example:



Make sure the second indicator correctly represents any non-filing characters in the title (the number of characters the computer must ignore in order to search for the title). In order to skip initial articles (the, a, an) in titles, we instruct the computer to ignore the characters in the article, plus one space.  So, as in the two examples above, the second indicator is “4.”  Pay special attention when cataloging foreign language titles (beginning with die, der, das, la, le, il etc.), as the original cataloger may have neglected to add the coding.


e. Statement of responsibility (245 subfield c)


Make sure the statement of responsibility matches what appears on the title page. Be aware of the different conventions in AACR2 and RDA.


In AACR2, the “rule of three” dictates that if more than three individuals are listed who share the same type of responsibility for the item (for example, 4 authors, 10 editors), only the first person with that type of responsibility is listed. “[…et al.]” will be used to indicate that other contributors are listed on the resource, but not named in the record.



In RDA, the cataloger may choose to list only one, or all named contributors.





Also, by convention, AACR2 has never included titles such as Dr., Rev., His Royal Majesty, etc. RDA not only includes titles or honorifics but also includes the academic institution of the contributor if it is on the title page. There is no need to add this information if it is missing in an RDA record – only take action if there is an error.


f. Varying form of title (246 field)


Sometimes the book’s subtitle is more suggestive of the book’s subject matter than the main title. E.g. Hidden Hands: Working-Class Women and Victorian Social Problem Fiction. In such a case, add the subtitle in a 246 3 0 field so that if a patron can only remember the subtitle, a search on it will bring up the book.



If the title on the spine or cover differs, ensure that there is a 246 1 8 (for spine) or a 246 1 4 (for cover) showing the differing title.


If the title contains numbers, symbols or nonstandard spellings of words, create a 246 3_. So that ‘5’ becomes ‘five;’ ‘&’ becomes ‘and;’ ‘labour’ becomes ‘labor.’


g. Edition statement (250)


If an edition statement appears on the book, make sure it is recorded in the 250 Field.


AACR2: Use Arabic numerals and abbreviate words like rev. (revised) and ed. (edition).


RDA: Transcribe the edition statement as it appears. Do not transform spelled-out numbers to numerals or use abbreviations.


h. Publication statement (260/264 field, subfields a and b)


Check that publisher and publisher location match what is listed on the title page and/or title page verso.


Typically, this information will appear in the 260 field in AACR2 records and a 264 (or multiple 264s) for RDA records. (See “Date” above for examples). Hybrid records may contain a 260 and 264. See OCLC Bibformats for information on the 264 field:


In AACR2, records typically include only the first-named publisher and place of publication. If the first-named place of publication is not located in the U.S., there will often be an additional listing for a U.S. place of publication (if found on the piece).  It is not necessary to add U.S. publisher information if it is missing.



h. Physical description (300 field; 336/337/338 fields)


Comprehensive AACR2 example: ‡a vi, 875 p., [8] p. of plates : ‡b ill., facsims., forms, maps ; ‡c 25 cm. + ‡e CD-ROM (4 ¾ in.)


Comprehensive RDA example: ‡a vi, 875 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : ‡b illustrations, facsimiles, forms, maps ; ‡c 25 cm + ‡e CD-ROM (4 ¾ inches)


Pagination – Check for the number of preliminary pages, regular pages ; check for the presence of plates (RDA: 8 unnumbered pages of plates)


Illustrations – Note if there are illustrations. Particular types of illustrations that we usually make note of are facsimiles, forms, and maps.


Length of book – round to the next highest centimeter.


AACR2 uses the abbreviations “p.” for pages, “ill.” for illustrations (and others, including “geneal. tables,” “facsims.,” etc.). In AACR2 records, always use a period after the abbreviation “cm.”





RDA does not use abbreviations in this field, EXCEPT for “cm” for centimeters (which is actually a symbol and not an abbreviation). Do not place a period after cm, unless the record has a 490 field. Local practice is not to correct if RDA/hybrid record uses abbreviations in this field.




Additionally, RDA (and hybrid) records will include three fields to indicate the content, media and carrier types of the resource.





i. Series statement (490/830)


If a series statement appears on the item, it should be transcribed in the 490 field. If there is an authority record for the series, 490 1_ should be used, and the authorized series title should be recorded in 830 _0. If there is no authority record for the series title, it will be recorded as 490 0_ and there will be no 830 field.




j. Bibliography note (504 field)

Note presence of bibliographical references by the statement, “Includes bibliographical references.” This field is also used for Discographies, Filmographies and Webliographies.


AACR2 ex.



RDA ex.



k. General note (500 field)


This is the all-purpose field. The following are examples. Note the location where the quotation is from unless the statement is taken from the title page, then quotation marks alone suffice.

§   “This edition applies to Domino Server R5.04a running on Microsoft Windows 2000”—T.p. verso.

§  “First published in Italy 1983 by Societa editrice il Mulino, Bologna”—T.p. verso.

§  Alternate version that by convention doesn’t require quotation marks (note punctuation and spacing): Originally published: Bologna : Societa editrice il Mulino, 1983.

§  “This book is a revised and updated version of L’Empire invisible published by Presses de l’Universite in 1993”—T.p. verso.

§  Maps on endpapers.


RDA:  Do not abbreviate source information-title page verso, preface, etc.


l. Table of contents (505 field) and Summary (520 field)


If these fields are missing, but appear in an updated version of the record, overlay the record. Otherwise, do not add these fields. Edit only if incorrect information appears in them.


n. Other fields used occasionally


Language Note or 546 Field is used when a text contains more than one language. The most common notes are: ”In English, French and German.” and “Dual (or Parallel) text in English and French.”


Local Note or 590 – used for information applicable only to copies in AU library. Examples:



4. Review controlled access points.


a. Main author (100 field)


Check to see that authors, editors and other major contributors listed in the 245 $c are traced in the appropriate fields.


In AACR2 records, the “rule of three” dictates that if a title has more than 3 authors, only the first listed will be used as an access point in the record. That author will be listed in a 700 field (or 710, if a corporate body). For titles with 3 or fewer authors, the first-named author will be listed in the 100 field (or 110 if a corporate body) and the others in 700(or 710) fields. Editors are traced in the 700 field. (See below for more information.


In RDA, there is no rule of three. The first-named author will be listed in the 100 field. Any other authors will be listed in the 700 field. Editors are traced in 700 fields. Additionally, RDA records will use a relationship designator in subfield e to specify the role of the contributor. If these are missing, do not add them.



Note: The Library of Congress Name Authority File is “a comprehensive controlled vocabulary (established list of preferred terms, with cross-references), primarily of names and jurisdictions, used by thousands of institutions to describe and index persons or corporate bodies who are the subject of, or responsible for the intellectual content of library and archival material.”


The 100/700 fields are the authority-controlled fields that we are primarily concerned with . A patron’s ability to find all works by a particular author, or about a particular subject, depends on the consistent use of these authority terms.


If the names in the 245 field do not match the 100/700, check the LC name authority file to confirm that the correct name heading is being used. (It is okay though if they don’t match exactly since the 245 should reflect what is actually on the title page while the 100/700 is the name’s authorized form.)


b. Additional authors/editors (700 fields


Check to confirm that any additional authors and/or editors are listed in the 7xx fields.


In AACR2 records, the rule of three dictates that no more than 3 authors/editors will be traced in the record. If there are more than 3, only the first named will be listed and traced.


As stated above, the rule of 3 does not apply in RDA. However, in RDA only the first listed author/editor is considered a core or required element. If other authors/editors are not traced, use cataloger’s judgment in determining whether to add them in order to enhance access to the item.


c. Library of Congress Subject Headings (6xx fields) Literary works (for example, a collection of poems) do not always have subject headings. For other works, if LC subject headings are missing, check OCLC for a better record. If none is found, route to Resource Description Manager or Original Cataloging Coordinator.


d. Download authority records for any name or series entries that are not already in the system.


5. Save the bibliographic record and open the holdings record.



6. Confirm that the call number in the holdings record 852 field exactly matches the spine label (if shelf-ready) and the call number recorded on the title page.  Pay special attention to the date. If there is a mis-match and the call number in the bib record is accurate, update the call number in the holdings record by hitting CTRL+N, which will pull the call number in the 852 from the 090/050 in the bib. record. Also, verify that the location code in 852 $b is correct. For approval books, edit the au apv to read auc.








7. Save the holdings record and click on “new items” to create a new item record.



8. Scan the barcode in the back of the book into the “barcode” field. Make sure the perm. Location is set to “auc” and the item type is set to “Regular loan.” (This should be the default setting) Save the record.


It is good practice to compare the bib. record in Voyager with the corresponding record in OCLC, in case the OCLC record has been updated or enhanced since it was added to our system.  This is especially important if the encoding level of the record is anything other than the following:


_: Full level


_: Full level record, material not examined


I: Full level input by OCLC participants


4: Core level


To check the encoding level, click on the “Leader “ in the Voyager bib. record.




Check for updates by comparing the “date replaced” in OCLC, with the record history in Voyager.




If the OCLC record has been updated recently, check to see if there are significant differences and, if so, overlay the record. See “Overlaying a record in Connexion” for instructions on overlaying an updated record:


You may also want to overlay the record if there is a better record for the item in OCLC. As an example, for the title High-expectation curricula: helping all students engage in powerful learning/ edited by Curt Dudley Marling, Sarah Michaels, our holdings were initially attached to OCLC#849487487, which incorrectly lists the pagination as 288 pages  and only has 3 other holdings attached.



Searching by ISBN in OCLC, you would find another record with the DLC symbol , 179 holdings, and the correct pagination.



After confirming that this is the best record for the item by looking at the other record fields, you can choose to overlay it.


1. In OCLC, remove AU’s holdings symbol from the record being overlaid (Shift + F8)

2. Select the record you would like to replace it with and update holdings (F8)


3. See  “Overlaying a record in Connexion” for instructions on overlaying a record with a different OCLC number: