Collection-Level Records

Collection-level records can be created for groups of material instead of, or in addition to, separate records for individual items. There are 3 approaches to collection-level cataloging:

  • Collection-level record (not analyzed): One or more collection-level record(s)
  • Partially analyzed collection: One (or more) collection-level record(s) and separate records for some items
  • Fully analyzed collection: One (or more) collection-level record(s) and separate records for every item

Assessment and Arrangement

Ideally, collection-level records will have title access to all items within the collection. For some collections, however, this will not be feasible. In order keep collection-level records from becoming too large, consider creating sub-collections when working with collections that contain a large number of items. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways, whether through thematic, alphabetical or chronological arrangement.


Generally, follow RDA when creating collection-level records. Alternatively, use DACS or one of the DCRM manuals.



Determine the predominant format for the collection and use that as the ‘Type of Record’. If no format predominates, use ‘p: Mixed material’. Use ‘c: Collection’ for the ‘Bibliographic Level’.

Fixed fields (007/008)

Use value ‘i: Inclusive dates of collection’ for ‘Publication Status’ in the 008 field. Record the dates in the ‘Date 1’ and ‘Date 2’ fields. If the inclusive dates are represented by a single year, use that date in both fields. Alternatively, use value ‘k: Range of years of bulk of collection’ if using inclusive dates would be misleading.

If the items were all published produced in the same state or country, use that MARC geographic code for ‘Place of publication’, otherwise use either ‘vp : Various places’ or ‘xx : No place, unknown or undetermined’.

If all items are in one language, use that MARC language code in ‘Language’, otherwise use ‘mul: Multiple languages’ or ‘zxx: No linguistic content’.

Create as many 007 fields as necessary to cover the different formats within the collection.

Collection title (245)

If a formal title appears prominently within the materials of the collection, use that as the collection title.

In the absence of a formal title, devise a title for the collection. A devised title should contain name of the creators and/or collectors (if applicable) and should explain the nature the materials being described. Consult RDA and DACS for additional information.

If following RDA, do not place collection titles within square brackets.

More than one collection-level record:

If there is a formal title for the collection, and formal part titles, use those for each sub-collection.

Create a single devised title for the collection as a whole and create separate ‘part’ titles for each sub-collection.

Dates of publication/production (264 ‡c)

Provide a span of dates (inclusive) that covers the dates of publication/production of the items within the collection.

Use subfields ‡a and ‡b only if the same place and/or the same publisher apply to all items in the collection.

Physical description (300)

Give the total number of pieces in the collection and a range of dimensions if the size of the items differ. Give other characteristics in ‡b if all of the items are the same carrier type.

Optional: Create separate 300 fields for each carrier type.

Content/Media/Carrier fields (336/337/338)

Provide content media and carrier fields to describe materials within the collection.

Local notes (590)

In most cases, collection-level records describe a unique group of materials. For this reason, copy specific information can be given in the contents note. There may be cases where using a local note to describe copy specific information will be preferable.

Scope note (520)

Give a scope note that describes the collection.

General notes (500)

Create a general note giving the source of formal title or stating that the title has been devised.

500     ‡a Collection title devised by cataloger.

Provide additional general notes as needed, using cataloger’s judgement.

Contents notes (505)

Provide contents notes listing the items, or groups of items, within the collection. Transcribe titles if available, or provide brief descriptions within square brackets. Include other elements such as publication information, physical description, and local notes if considered important. Use punctuation to separate these elements. Separate items or groups of items with a double dash.

Create separate contents notes for each call number.

Use the first indicator “0” for a single contents note. If there are multiple contents notes use first indicator “0” for the first contents note and “8” for  subsequent contents notes. Leave the second indicator blank.


Provide subject headings, genre/form headings, and added entries following standard practice and curators’ requests.

Provide name/title and/or title added entries for individual publications.

Partially and Fully analyzed collections:

Give an added entry for the collection title on the analytic records

Holdings records

Collections may contain items requiring different housing and/or call numbers. Create a separate MFHD for each call number. Optional: Use a public note ‡z to specify the type of material.

Partially and Fully analyzed collections:

If analyzed items are housed as part of a collection and do not have individual call numbers, use 856 links in the MFHDs of the analytic records to point to the collection level record.


Count each collection or sub-collection record as one original title under the format that predominates. If there is no predominate format, record one original title for each collection or sub-collection record under the format “Other.” Count as “pieces” those items which would have been (or are) cataloged individually (e.g., pamphlets, issues of serials). Do not count ephemeral pieces (e.g., envelopes, advertisements) that would not have been cataloged individually. Each collection-level record should have at least 1 “piece”. For groups of ephemeral material unlikely to be cataloged at the item level, count by the container. Count a piece in statistics only once. If items within a collection-level record are cataloged individually, count the piece either for the collection-level record or the individual record but not under both.


Promotional material for film and stage productions of Philip Barry works. Philadelphia story (Film).

Dutch Counterculture Collection

San Francisco Poster Brigade posters