Copy cataloging

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Copy cataloging is the process of editing a pre-existing bibliographic record instead of creating a completely new record from scratch. The primary source of cataloging copy in the U.S., and increasingly around the world, is OCLC.

Many of the Folger's modern books come from YBP (formerly Yankee Book Peddler), and arrive shelf-ready with catalog records. These are checked in by the Acquisitions Assistant, and usually bypass the Cataloging Department entirely unless there is a problem with the record. However, books from other vendors and books in series bought on standing order, as well as books received as gifts, are handled by the modern material catalogers.

The copy cataloging procedure below will most often be used for books, but should be followed for all modern materials, including audiovisual and Vault modern items.

Pre-cataloging examination

  • Is the item within Folger collecting scope? We collect materials on early modern European civilization, the time period broadly defined as the late 15th through the early 18th centuries (up to about 1714). We also collect materials on Shakespeare performance up through the present day. Sometimes books slip through that are out-of-scope, usually because they come as part of a series to which we subscribe. Consult supervisor about suspected out-of-scope items.
  • Is there any evidence that the item is imperfect? If so, consult supervisor.
  • Is it an edition of Shakespeare? We give Shakespeare editions enhanced cataloging; see below. Many editions of Shakespeare are issued as part of a set, which we treat differently than do most libraries. In addition to the usual verification, follow the instructions for Shakespeare sets. Editions, translations, and adaptations of Shakespeare, including school editions, get Sh.Col. call numbers; consult supervisor if uncertain.

Search Voyager

This is always the first step of the cataloging process. Consult supervisor if the Folger already has a cataloged copy of the title.

Standard copy criteria

  • Search OCLC to see if there are matching records to copy or upgrade. Records must meet these basic criteria before being imported to Voyager.
    • Desc: a (AACR2 cataloging) or Desc: i (accompanied by 040 ‡e RDA). The Folger accepts both AACR2 and RDA records when copy cataloging, as well as hybrid records.
    • ELvl level: blank, 1, 4, I, or L
    • At least one LC subject heading, unless the item is literature

Descriptive verification

Verify the following to ensure that cataloging copy matches the item in hand.

  • Title and statement of responsibility (245 field)
    • The 245 is a transcribed field in both AACR2 and RDA; the entire title proper (245 ‡a) must be transcribed exactly from the title page in terms of word order and spelling, although not necessarily in terms of capitalization and punctuation. If other title information (245 ‡b) is transcribed, it too should match exactly what is on the title page. (Records created following RDA guidelines have the option of using found capitalization; however, prefer sentence case whenever possible.) The statement of responsibility (245 ‡c) may have certain non-essential information left off, such as a person's titles or degrees. (However, if the record is designated as RDA, any non-essential information in the statement of responsibility should be included, as it is also a transcribed field.) Full names should be transcribed as they appear, along with any words appearing with the name, such as "by" or "and."
    • Verify that the second indicator of the 245 field accurately counts any non-filing characters.
  • Note that the 240 field [uniform title] is not part of the verification procedure.
  • Check for an edition statement or other edition information in the book even if there is no 250 field on the record. If the edition information on the book differs from the edition information on the record, the bibliographic record is not for the same edition. If the record is designated as RDA, the edition statement in the 250 field should be fully transcribed, and not abbreviated.
  • Publication data must match. This may be contained in either a 260 field or a 264 field. (If the record is designated as RDA, it must be in a 264 field.)
    • The date of publication or copyright must match the item. A later printing date is fine provided that the publication/copyright date matches, and there is no evidence of revision.
  • Check pagination, illustrations, and size (the 300 field).
    • The last page of each discrete paging sequence should be recorded in ‡a. Leaves or pages of plates are recorded in ‡a after the leaves or pages of text.
    • Illustratative content is recorded in ‡b. Verify that there are illustrations (or facsimiles, portraits, etc.) in the item if there is a subfield ‡b present.
    • Dimensions are recorded in centimeters in subfield ‡c. Round up to the next centimeter if the measurement is even slightly over (e.g., 22.1 cm. is recorded as 23 cm). Only re-measure the item if you suspect the recorded size is incorrect. Accept variations of about a centimeter either way. If a book is oversize (folio) or flat, follow instructions in MARC 852 Location.
    • Make sure any accompanying material recorded in subfield ‡e is present with the item. Accompanying material may also be recorded in a second 300 field (especially in RDA records). If the item is lacking significant accompanying material, consult a supervisor; otherwise, record the absence in an 852 ‡z note.
  • Verify that series statements in the record's 490 field appear somewhere in or on the item, and that series statements on the item appear in the record. Series statements are transcribed from the publication; all words in the series statement in the record, including initial articles, should be as they appear in the item. Series subtitles and statements of authority for the series may or may not be transcribed in the record. The ISSN (International Standard Series Number) may be interposed in a subfield ‡x between the series title and the volume number. Abbreviations are allowed for volume captions and numbering; however, the presence or absence of a caption constitutes a significant difference
    • If the series is traced, the 490 field should have the first indicator 1 and a corresponding 8xx field.(Most series are traced. The form of the 8xx itself is not part of the descriptive verification).
  • Verify that any subject and/or genre headings seem to match the contents of the item, and that any call number provided seems appropriate.

Edits on copy selected for cataloging

If you are certain that the cataloging copy is for the same edition of the item you have in hand but is nevertheless inaccurate in one or more of the descriptive fields, cautious changes may be made. Since most books receive preliminary cataloging before they are published, most of the mistakes in bibliographic records derive from inattentive editing of the record once the book is in hand. Be especially vigilant about noticing:

  • Changes in minor words or spelling of the title; once in a while, the title completely changes from the CIP record.
  • The addition or subtraction of a "by" or a middle initial in the author's name
  • Changes of the date of publication or copyright; a change in the 260 or 264 must also be changed in the call number (fields 050 or 090, and locally in the 852), and the 008 date fields
  • Absence or miscounting of preliminary Roman pagination sequences
  • Changes in individual volume titles for multi-part monographs (505)

When making changes

  • Be cautious about changing transcribed or recorded data (i.e., fields 2xx-4xx). The rules for these areas are quite specific and not necessarily intuitive; refer to AACR2 and/or RDA guidelines, and consult supervisor in case of doubt.
  • Any change in the bibliographic record (except for local fields such as 590, 852, 876) is tagged by the addition of ‡d DFo to the end of field 040. This is automatically added by OCLC when you update a record after making changes.

Local changes

The following changes should be carried out after the record is updated, as you are preparing to import the record into Voyager.

  • Delete all 035 fields except for our own record number
  • Delete all non-LCSH subject headings (fields 600, 610, 611, 650, and 651 containing a second indicator other than 0). Delete all 653 fields. Consult supervisor in case of doubt.
  • Delete any copy-specific information that does not apply to the Folger's copy. Fields with copy-specific information should have a subfield ‡5 and the marker for the appropriate institution, but some libraries occasionally neglect to specify this.
    • If there is an author's or editor's inscription to the Folger, record that information in a copy-specific note (852 ‡z).
852 ... ‡z Author's presentation inscription to the Folger, dated April 19, 2011.
  • For AACR2 records, expand the following relator terms (‡e) after names in the 7xx fields:
    • compiler
    • editor
    • translator
  • For RDA records, all relator terms present should be expanded.
  • Cast your eye quickly over the rest of the record for any obvious errors. Consult supervisor before changing any typographical errors. (Not all apparent typographical errors should be corrected.)