For the Public
Chapter 1 - Introduction
Cataloging is the process of creating, arranging and maintaining the files of bibliographic data in a library catalog. The goal is to establish a unique record for each item in a library's collection by applying uniform standards that have been established by the American Library Association and the Library of Congress. The Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2 nd edition revised , known commonly as AACR2R, provides specific guidelines and principles for determining the data or elements used to describe the books, articles, non-book materials and electronic resources within a library's collection.
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A cataloger must perform a "technical read" of an item before creating its bibliographic record. Technical reading alerts the cataloger to information that should be included in the cataloging record and is very different from other types of reading; it requires the following actions:
- Review the item's "chief source of information" or major source of data to be used when preparing a bibliographic record as prescribed by AACR2R. More specific information about chief sources of information is on the following page. If there is no chief source of information an alternative source is used.
- Look at the cover, spine, containers, labels and other titles.
- Scan the preface or accompanying materials.
- Check for an index or indexes and bibliographies.
- Decide what the physical characteristics of the item are and examine its paging, parts, pieces, illustrations, etc.
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Typical chief sources of information
- Books, manuscripts, printed music and printed serials
- Chief source: title page, verso of title page and the colophon.
- Alternative source: the part that supplies the most information, e.g., a cover title, preface, etc.
- Microforms and films
- Chief source: title frame(s) and credit frame(s).
- Alternative source: rest of the item, including container and accompanying material.
- Sound recordings
- Chief source: label affixed to item and/or the container, as with a cassette or CD; accompanying textual material on a container if it supplies a collective title.
- Alternative source: accompanying material other than that already described.
- Cartographic and graphic materials, three-dimensional artifacts, realia
- Chief source: the item itself with any container or case issued by the publisher or distributor.
- Alternative source: any accompanying materials.
- Motion pictures, videorecordings and DVDs
- Chief source: the film itself, the title frames or screen, the film's container if the container is an integral part of the item.
- Alternative source: accompanying textual material such as scripts, shorts, lists or publicity items.
- Electronic resources
- Chief source: title screen or main terminal display.
- Alternative source: label on disc or information printed on the container.
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In the 1960's the Library of Congress began exploring the possibility of converting all of their bibliographic records into an online format. They developed a code known as MARC ( MA chine R eadable C ataloging) format to enable computers to interpret cataloging data and to undertake searches requested by librarians as well as library patrons.
- MARC 21 website
- The most recent edition of MARC format, MARC 21 Concise Format for Bibliographic Data, is accessible online from the Minerva Management Page or at http://www.loc.gov/marc/bibliographic/ecbdhome.html .
- Repeatable and non-repeatable fields and subfields
- Some MARC fields and subfields may be repeated. If (R) follows an entry, it is a repeatable field. (NR) indicates a field or subfield that is non-repeatable.
- Content designators
- In order for a computer to interpret a bibliographic record, a cataloger must break information into small parts called content designators; these include fields, indicators and subfields.
- Fields - Each bibliographic record is broken into parts called fields. There is one field for the main entry, another for the title and so on. Each field is identified by a three-digit number, called a tag. The tag denotes the kind of information that follows. For example, the personal name of an author is always preceded by the 100 tag. Information on standard MARC tags is defined in more detail toward the end of this chapter.
- Indicators - Following each tag are two positions known as indicators. Use of the indicator positions varies from field to field. Some tags use only one position; others use both. The 020 and 300 fields do not use either position. MARC defines each indicator position and its values. In the following example, the first three numbers (245) are the tag and the next two numbers (1 and 4) are the indicators.
- 245 1 4 The owl and the pussy cat.
- Subfields - Most fields are broken down into smaller parts called subfields. Each subfield is preceded by a subfield code, usually a letter, that identifies the type of information or data found within that particular subfield. For example, the subfield code that precedes the statement of responsibility in the 245 field is "c." A symbol, known as a delimiter, is used before each code in order to distinguish it from letters used in normal text. Delimiter symbols vary from cataloging system to cataloging system but Minerva's systems use a short vertical line: |. This symbol is created by holding down the shift key and the backward slash key, which is usually above or below the backspace key. There are no spaces on either side of the delimiter and subfield code. Note: Although each field starts with a subfield |a, this code is not displayed in Minerva records.
- In the example below, "|c" is the subfield code that indicates the statement of responsibility when following the 245 tag.
- 1 2 A midsummer's night dream /|cWilliam Shakespeare.
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Standard MARC fields
Following are brief descriptions of the most common MARC fields; they will each be discussed in more detail in subsequent chapters. MARC fields, or tags, are referred to by the designating number in the specific field, with XX used elsewhere; thus 1XX is about the information contained in the 100, 110, 111 fields and so forth.
- MARC 008 field
- This required field contains coded information about the record as a whole and about special bibliographic aspects of the item being cataloged. These coded data elements are potentially useful for retrieval and data management purposes.
- MARC 02X field
- This is the standard number and terms of availability area, used to record standard numbers such as the ISBN and ISSN as well as some manufacturers' numbers. Terms of availability, including price, may also be recorded in this area.
- MARC 1XX fields
- This if the first field in the bib record containing bibliographic information and is often referred to as the main entry. The name of the person or corporate body considered responsible for the existence of the item is entered here. If such responsibility cannot be established, the bib record begins with the title field (MARC 245 field).
- MARC 245 field
- This title and statement of responsibility area follows the main entry if one is present. This area may consist of the title proper, an alternative title, the general material designation (gmd), parallel title(s), a statement or statements of responsibility and/or other title information.
- MARC 246 field
- This field displays variations of the title as it is entered in the 245 field.
- MARC 250 field
- Information about the specific edition of an item is included in this edition area .This area may contain the name and/or number of the editions and, if present, statements of responsibility relating to the edition.
- MARC 260 field
- This important field contains publication and distribution information. It includes the place of publication, distribution, etc.; the p lace of manufacture, name of manufacturer or date of manufacture if name of publisher is unknown; names of the publishers, distributors, etc. A s tatement of function of the publisher, distributor, name of a production company when necessary for clarity and the date of publication, distribution, etc., including copyright data, are also shown here if necessary.
- MARC 300 field
- Information entered here in the physical description area includes: number of pages, volumes, discs, frames, etc.; other physical details, illustrative material, playing speed, material from which an item is made, etc.; dimensions, height, diameter, etc. and information about accompanying material (teacher's guide, separate maps, etc.).
- MARC 4XX fields
- If an item is part of a series, information about it is entered here, including the t itle proper of the series, the statement of responsibility relating to the series, the ISSN of the series, numbering within the series and information about sub-series.
- MARC 5XX fields
- This notes area is for data that the cataloger considers important to the library user and that has not been incorporated in any of the above fields.
- MARC 6XX fields
- Subject access points and classifications are included in this field. Subject information is not considered part of the bibliographic record and is added only after the descriptive cataloging process is completed.
- MARC 7XX fields
- This area is for additional entries indicating joint authors, editors, titles, etc.
- MARC 8XX fields
This area is for any series added entry or entries. This will be discussed in more detail as we study additional access points for a bibliographic record.
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