Basic Copy Cataloging


Compare the record you’ve found in OCLC with the item in hand. Verify the following:

Fixed Fields

Verify that the Leader and 006-008 fields are correct. Encoding levels in the Leader should be either _, 1, I or M; If the record does have full-level cataloging but is not encoded either _ or I, evaluate descriptive elements and access points and upgrade to level _. For using copy with encoding level 8 see: CIP records.  Do not use copy with encoding levels 2, 3, 5, 7 for cataloging of non-Belles-Lettres; pass those materials on for original cataloging by a catalog librarian.  For upgrading less-than-full copy for Belles-Lettres, see the documentation for original cataloging of Belles-Lettres.

Variable Fields

  • 020 Verify that the same ISBN number on the book is recorded in the 020 field. An 020 for the paperback edition may also be on the record.
  • 240 If present, verify that the uniform title and specified language (if applicable) are correct by checking for the established form in the authority file. If the uniform title has not been established, ensure the title follows current rules for title access points or consult with a catalog librarian.
  • 245 Every word in the 245 must be on the title page unless the word is in [brackets]. The converse is not true; not every word on the title page will appear in the 245 field. Not all punctuation in the 245 field will necessarily appear on the title page.
  • 250 Check for information about the edition on the title page, the verso of the title page, and the colophon. If the edition information on the book differs from the edition information on the record, the cataloging copy is not the same edition. A different printing is generally considered the same edition, but only if there is no evidence of revision, e.g. “Second printing with corrections.”
  • 260 or 264 Make sure your record has the same place of publication, publisher, and date of publication.
  • 300 Check pagination, illustrations, and size.
    • ‡a: the last page of each pagination sequence should be recorded in subfield ‡a.
    • ‡b: illustrations will be recorded in subfield ‡b. Verify that there are illustrations if there is a ‡b subfield, but do not re-count the illustrations if numbered.
    • ‡c: Measure the book. Accept variations up to a centimeter; remember that size is always rounded up to the next centimeter.
  • 4xx Verify that the series statement in a book is transcribed in a 490 or 440 field.
  • 500 If there are notes about accompanying material (e.g. Errata slips for insertion, plates in pockets) verify to make sure the accompanying material is present.
    Transcribe any limited-edition notes, in full if feasible (even if parts of the note do not apply to the copy in hand); these are usually found either in or near the colophon or on the title page verso. Do not transcribe the number or letter of the copy in hand here; it goes in the copy-specific note (590).
  • 590 Copy Specific Notes
  • Notes not used in the cataloging record
    The following are generally not noted unless required to distinguish variants or bring out important aspects of the work or copy.
    • Unopened.(590)
    • Head and tail pieces, initials, decorative work. (500)
    • Title pages in red and black. (500)
    • Title vignette; if not a part of the illustrative matter. (500)
    • Variations in binding. (This note is usually made when an additional copy or copies are added). (590)
  • 655 Genre/Form
    Add appropriate terms for genre/form, binding, provenance evidence, and/or printing and publishing evidence. More complete information can be found at Form and Genre Terms Used by the Rare Book Team in MARC Field 655.
  • 692 Provenance
    Add name tracings for provenance information. More complete information can be found at Provenance Notes and Tracings.
    The coding for provenance tracings is 692 14 for personal names, 693 24 for corporate names, or 693 14 for corporate headings beginning with a jurisdiction, followed by a ‡x subdivision indicating the nature of the provenance evidence.
    The following subdivisions are authorized for provenance tracings:
    • ‡x Autograph.
    • ‡x Bookplate.
    • ‡x Ms. notes.
    • ‡x Ownership. [Used when no provenance evidence is in item]
    • ‡x Presentation inscription to [forename initials] [surname].
    • ‡x Presentation inscription from [forename initials] [surname].
    • ‡x Presentation inscription. [Used when source is not specified or identified]
    • ‡x Stamp.

    If the heading is already present in the record (such as the case in an author’s presentation inscription), simply copy and paste, changing the tag and indicators and adding the subdivision as appropriate. Otherwise, Search the name in Orbis to determine how it has been used on bibliographic records. Use the authorized form (i.e., the form on the authority record) of the name if there is one. If one does not exist, use the form that has been used in Orbis. If the name has not been used in Orbis, construct a simple heading using the form found in the book.

    692 1 4 ‡a Poe, Hal ‡x Autograph.

Authority Verification


Records in OCLC often do not have the authorized form of the heading. Headings must match authorized form. Common examples of ways that the headings do not match up are:

  • authorized form has a birth date and the heading in OCLC does not;
  • authorized form does not have a birth date and the heading in OCLC does have one;

Both of the above examples should be rectified by using the authorized form of the name for the record. The two examples below, however, should be flagged for a catalog librarian, as they require NACO work:

  • heading is a common one (e.g., Tate, James; Cox, Elizabeth);
  • heading does have an authority record but record needs a cross reference (e.g., pseudonyms)


Note: YUL policy is to use the 490/8XX combination for all traced series; however, the 440 field will still be seen on many records used for copy cataloging.
Validate all series (4XX, 8XX) in Voyager except those found in LC records:

  • Copy and paste the series statement from the 4xx field of the bibliographic record into the Orbis search box (omit initial articles)
  • Select the Staff Title Headings Search to retrieve any associated authority records
  • If no record is found in Orbis, search Library of Congress Authorities or in OCLC.

If an authority record is found:

  • use the form that appears in the 1XX field of the authority record
  • if the series should be traced and the form in the 440 field of the bib matches the form in the authority record, leave as is; MARS will update to a 490/8XX combination after processing
  • if the series should be traced and the form in 440 matches on a cross reference in the authority record for the series rather than the 1XX, leave as is, MARS will update to a 490/8XX combination after processing. (OR, you can optionally change the 440 field in the bibliographic record to a 490-1_ [but otherwise leave the field as is] and use the 1XX form in 8XX)
  • if the series is coded 490-0_ leave as is. MARS will process the record and make any necessary updates.

Consult a catalog librarian, or your supervisor, if:

  • there is no authority record in either Orbis, Library of Congress Authorities or in OCLC
  • the form of the series as it appears on your item (t.p., t.p. verso, cover, spine) varies from either the established form (1XX) or any of the references (4XX) in the authority record.


Statistics are recorded using the Technical Services: Cataloging Statistics form in the LibInsight program. Add statistics records on the Cataloging Statisticss form for each format according to the following definitions. More information can be found at Statistics.


  • Original Cat
    All variant edition cataloging and Belles-Lettres original or upgraded less-than-full level copy. The latter includes encoding levels 2, 3, 5, and 7, K and sometimes M (if upgrading is major).
  • Added Copies
    Count each MFHD of a title added to an exisiting bibliographic record. Also count as Recat/Reclass as appropriate. Added volumes to a previously-established MFHD are not considered or counted as added copies; they are counted as new pieces.
  • LC Copy Cat
    Any record based on an LC record at encoding level _ [blank], 4 or 8.
  • Other Copy Cat
    Any record based on a non-LC record at encoding level _ [blank], 1, 4, I, or L; and encoding level M if upgrading is minor.
  • Recat
    Any significant change to a bibliographic record affecting access or identification; any significant intellectual revision affecting the reevaluation of the entire record. Generally, this takes more than 5 minutes.
  • Reclass
    Any change in a call number.
  • Transfers
    Any title transferred from another Yale library to Beinecke or Beinecke LSF. Count also under Recat/Reclass as appropriate. Uncataloged transfers (e.g., material that comes from the SML backlog) count as new cataloging.


  • The first time a piece is cataloged (whether as part of a collection or individually) is the only time it is counted as a new piece.
  • Count each piece (volume, reel, sheet, issue, etc.) Do not count accompanying material in pockets. Do not count accompanying ephemeral material whether housed with the item or in a separate container.