Tag Archives: cataloguing rules

010 LCCN input practices

Lately I’ve noticed that a lot of libraries no longer input 2 spaces before the LCCN in the 010 tag.

It was always my understanding that the input convention was to enter two spaces before the Library of Congress Control number.  Has this rule changed?  If so please let me know…



Cataloging rule interpretations

FYI.  There is a ‘one place to call’ for cataloging rule interpretations.

AACR2rThe site attempts to bring all of the rule interpretations for AACR2 available on the web into a single place. They are designed to be used with a current copy of AACR2. It currently includes all of the latest Rule Interpretations from the Library of Congress, the basic proposals from RDA and how this would impact AACR2.


Queens of England?

Always confusing is the England vs. Great Britain issue in subject cataloguing.    When cataloguing works of history you cannot use England–History, rather the rule is to use Great Britain–History.

However… What about Queens?  Former practice was to subdivide Queens by Great Britain.  Now it would appear that the Library of Congress have changed their minds.  I searched under Queens–England–Biography in the LC catalogue and found 22 records attached all with dates 2004 onwards.

I did not catch the LCRI update that mentions this change and would appreciate it if anyone can direct me to the correct document.

My library has made a local decision to use Queens–England  for works about queens BEFORE the year 1707  (the year Scotland was united with England and Wales to form Great Britain)   For queens after the year 1707 we will use the subdivision Great Britain.

ISBD is being updated!

For the more AR cataloguer (and aren’t we all?) below is a link to the 2010 DRAFT

of the Task Force for the ISBD Consolidated Edition


The task force believes that the  International Standard for Bibliographic Description should be revisited  with RDA now a reality.

Cataloguing items that are part of a series

There seems to be much confusion about the cataloguing of series.


As of June 2006, the Library of Congress no longer authorizes series statements.

However, most cataloguing agencies  (including mine) continue to use/create them.

The 440 tag was made obsolete in December 2008.

The series statement as it appears on the item is entered in a 490 tag.

The authorized form of the series statement is entered in a 8xx tag.

Never use a 490 tag without also using a corresponding 8xx tag.

There is no provision for nonfiling characters in the 490 tag’s indicators. Therefore it is prudent to NOT ENTER initial articles in the series statements.  If initial articles are entered the series will not index correctly.

When in the past you would have entered a 440 tag, you will now use 490 and 830 tags.

The 830 tag is most often used in direct conjunction with and never without the 490 tag with a first indicator of 1.

The 830 tag will include the Library of Congress authorized title of the series and may also include the number assigned to the particular item.

830 tags must always be justified by a 490 tag.

830 tags are used for series that are produced by more than one author or a corporate body.

800 series tags are used in direct conjunction with and never without the 490 tag with a first indicator of 1.

The 800 tag is used when a series statement is entered under the author’s name. (one author is responsibe for the entire series)

The 800 tag will also include the Library of Congress authorized title of the series and may include the number assigned to the particular item.

I hope this post clarifies the subject.  The changes in series cataloguing that have come about in recent years have made many of us confused.  Our databases reflect both the old and the new input practices.  I guess we all have a lot of recon ahead of us.


505 Formatted contents notes

marc21logoAs a full-time cataloguer I see a lot of copy.  Lately I’ve noticed that many libraries are beginning to use the formatted contents note.  However, I have noticed some inconsistencies and you can imagine how much that bugs me…

Some put initial articles in a subfield g and some do not.

Examples: tThe maiden’s promise      vs.    gThetmaiden’s promise.

I have searched high and low for a definitive answer and came up with the following from OCLC.

Do not use subfield ‡g to separate initial articles from titles in field 505. Initial articles in titles should be included in subfield t when inputting an enhanced contents note. The correct transcription of formal contents notes is governed by:

  • AACR2 rule 2.7B18 and its Library of Congress Rule Interpretation
  • The corresponding contents note rules (and Library of Congress Rule Interpretations) in subsequent AACR2 chapters

If anyone can come up with a good argument (with documentation) to refute OCLC’s statements, then I would be very interested in hearing them.   I wonder if the rules are influenced by different software programs.  Perhaps the index needs the initial articles outside of the subfield t ?

ACCESS… an acronym


With all the talk lately about RDA and social catalogues, many think that the role of the cataloguer will change.  Of course, many small parts of the method of cataloguing WILL change.  Change is ongoing. Whether it be a few new MARC tags to remember, new subject headings, changed call numbers, etc.

One thing we as cataloguers must remember though is that our ROLE remains the same.  Our purpose is  to provide ACCESS to the materials in our libraries, whether they be physical objects such as books or DVDs, or whether they represent remote materials such as downloadable audio and video, computer files, e-books, etc.

ACCESS means not only following the rules, but sometimes enlarging on them.  Sometimes we have to make up for the idiosyncracies of our software by adding an alternate title with a different spelling.  Or, perhaps you will have to make up for software deficiencies.  When cataloguing a title with an ampersand, I have to offer a variant title with the word ‘and’ in place of the ampersand because patrons might search using the word ‘and’ instead and our software does not compensate for this.  Then there is the difference between Canadian and American spelling…

ACCESS means using subject headings to fully describe our material.  Sometimes that means going beyond the authorized subject heading and adding a locally created heading if it will provide easier access to the item.

Although rules are what we live by, we must know the rules inside out in order to break them to our patron’s advantage.

Remember the cataloguing mantra though!  I WILL BE CONSISTENT!  I WILL BE CONSISTENT! I WILL BE CONSISTENT! I WILL BE CONSISTENT!    This is even more important when creating local headings — or in fact any time you stray from established rules.  Consistency when cataloguing allows all of the catalogue users dependable sources of information.  If you enter a subject genre heading under Romantic suspense novels for one bib record, and for another enter the genre as Romantic suspense fiction, you are making your catalogue murky.  Now there are two places for the patron to search for one topic!  A patron using the first variation will not get a complete reflection of the library’s Romantic suspense with their search.  They may then miss out on the novel they are searching for!  Spelling errors and typos are culprits as well.  Whenever there is more than one heading for any given topic, the efficiency of your catalogue decreases and the patron’s ACCESS is diminished.