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CUNY OLS Resource Description and Metadata Services: OLS RDMS Copy Cataloging Guidelines

OLS RDMS documentation



This document was written before migration to Alma. Please use judgment, as some terminology or workflows may have changed.

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OLS RDMS Copy Cataloging Guidelines

Basic Copy Cataloging Guidelines – CUNY Central Office

The following documentation is intended to provide baseline guidelines for promoting consistent, efficient copy cataloging practice at the CUNY central office. The fundamental purpose of copy cataloging, at its heart, is to assure copy record quality and add value for end-user access by ensuring that description accurately represents the item and controlled access is provided through name and series access points, subject terms, and classification. The guidelines below are not meant to be all-inclusive and cover only the most critical MARC fields that need to be checked closely and modified when applicable. As such, this documentation should be used in conjunction with other local/national documentation (e.g., LC/PCC Policy Statements) and standard cataloging tools such as RDA Toolkit, Classification Web, and Cataloger's Desktop.

When to Search OCLC (and Merge an Alma Record)

The basic copy cataloging workflow at the CUNY central office is to:

  • examine an existing cataloging record in Alma and check if it is an exact and acceptable match,
  • make modifications and additions as needed to fit the attributes of the item in hand,
  • resolve obvious errors, and reflect locally accepted cataloging practice.

For workflow purposes, catalogers should not routinely search OCLC to find an updated, more complete record that may be available in WorldCat at the time of copy cataloging. If the Alma record is an LC/PCC (reflected in the 040 and/or 042 fields) record that matches the item in hand, catalogers will work with the record and complete all cataloging tasks. Do not search OCLC only for purposes of bringing in contents (505) or summary (520) notes. Use judgment.

When a matching record cannot be found in Alma, always search OCLC for the exact match record.

Exact Match

When the title statement (245 $a, $b, $c), edition statement ($250), publisher (260 or 264 $b) and publication date (260 or 264 $c) match the item in hand, it is considered an exact match. Only a record that is an exact match will be used for cataloging. Watch for the date of publication for exact match purposes. Printing date(s) is not considered the publication date.

In general, searching for an OCLC record for an Alma record merge should be only applicable to two scenarios below:

  1. An incorrect record that does not match the item in hand (e.g., a different manifestation record, or non-English code present in 040 $b) has been batch loaded to Alma at the time of ordering.
  2. A brief record (e.g., Encoding Level 3 or M [Abbreviated], vendor-created pre-publication record for the same manifestation) has been imported or created in Alma.

Delete/Attach Holdings in OCLC

When a record in Alma is not an exact match, a matching OCLC record needs to be imported to merge with the Alma non-match record using the proper CUNY library profile login. Before merging the existing non-match Alma record, be sure to check if CUNY holdings has been attached to the corresponding OCLC record. If yes, cancel the holdings from the non-match OCLC record by clicking the “DeleteHoldings” icon on the OCLC tool bar. CUNY’s library’s holdings then needs to be attached to the new OCLC record that matches the item being cataloged. Do this by clicking the “ActionHoldingsUpdateHoldings” icon. Once the action is taken (i.e. delete or update holdings), the holdings display will reflect the action taken: Held by XXX or No holdings in XXX.

Cataloging Revision (Copy Editing of Bibliographic Records)

CUNY will accept only English records. That is we will not bring in or catalog foreign language records (i.e., 040 $b containing code other than “eng”). All LC/PCC records (040 contains “DLC” in $a or $c including “lccopycat” record) as well as Library and Archives Canada records (040 $b contains "eng' and NLC present in 040 $a and/or the presence of “nlc” in 042 field) are processed without librarians’ review.

042 __ $a pcc

042 __ $a lccopycat

042 __ $a nlmcopycat

042 __ $a nlc

042 __ $a nsdp $a lc

Copy catalogers will insert a color slip in the LC/PCC book so it will not be reviewed. [see exceptions below]

Non-LC/PCC records, as well as ALL comic book/graphic novel records and ALL records with 880 fields (non-Latin script data), will be reviewed by librarians. The same treatment should be applicable to LC/PCC records with additional personal or corporate name (i.e. 100, 700 or 710 fields) and series access points (490/830 fields) added during copy cataloging. All CIP records (encoding level 8) with edits other than 300, 504 fields will need to be reviewed by librarians.

In general, titles processed as added copy (e.g. 2nd, or 3rd copy of an existing copy, etc.) do not need copy edits in the bibliographic record unless obvious mistakes are found in the record, nor need they be reviewed by librarians. When processing books as added volumes (e.g., a new volume in an existing multi-volume set record or a serial record), catalogers need to examine the bib record to see if any volume specific information should be added to the record (e.g., 505 contents field), 300 field, etc.) For serials added volume, ensure to update the summary holdings in the holdings record as needed.

Fixed Fields (Leader, 00X fields)

Examine carefully the fixed fields (Leader and 006/007/008 fields) to ensure that all applicable elements are coded appropriately, e.g., encoding level (LDR), place of publication, publication date(s), fiction code, presence of index, etc.

Encoding Level

The CUNY central office will only accept full level records. Records that are less than full (e.g. levels 3, M, K, 8, etc.) should be upgraded to full level records (i.e. level “I” (nlc records) or blank (LC/PCC records) – upgraded from CIP record).

020 Field

ISBN in 020 $a must be verified and match. In general, qualifying information (e.g., $q (paperback) does not need to be added if not present on copy record. Likewise, additional ISBNs for other editions do not need to be added even if found on the item in hand. It is not necessary to add subfield $q to code qualifying information according to the current MARC standards. Be careful with ISBNs representing different manifestations (e.g. ebook) which should always be coded $z.

035 Field (System Control Number–Mainly OCLC Control Number)

When there are two 035 fields with the same OCLC number (with and without an "ocm," "ocn," "oc" prefix), it is not necessary to delete the one lacking the prefix.

Other 01X-09X Fields (Except 050–See Call Number Section Below)

In general, these fields containing standard numbers and codes do not need to be verified or deleted if present on copy record. (The 029 field can be stripped out when importing from OCLC; set this via OCLC options. Go to Tools > Options > Export > Field Export Options.)

245 Field

Title proper in 245 $a must match. Other title information in 245 $b must match and should be transcribed from the item in hand if missing on copy record. Check typos on copy record and correct as needed.

Ensure that all statements of responsibility found on the item are transcribed in 245 $c and add names, etc. if missing on copy record. Give authorized access points to those names added (see 700 field). Remember that non-essential information can be omitted under RDA when transcribing a statement of responsibility (e.g., job title, affiliation). Lack of such data elements does not constitute a non-match; nor it is necessary to add them if missing on copy record.

246 Field

Give varying forms of title (including numbers, abbreviations, or ampersands spelled out), a portion of title information and parallel title (title in different language) as appropriate for end-user identification and access. Pay attention to indicators.

250 Field

Edition field is a transcription field and used for identification purpose. Ensure the edition statement in record matches the item in hand. If it is not an exact match, use judgment to either enter or correct/update the field or to locate another bibliographic record in Alma or in OCLC for an exact match record.

260 Field

260 fields on older copy records (e.g., items published before 2014) do not need to be changed to 264 fields. Only verify that publication statements match information on the item in hand.

263 Field

The projected date of publication used in a pre-publication record should be deleted if found on copy record.

264 Field

Verify the place of publication, publisher and date of publication from the item in hand to ensure accurate elements are present or transcribed in the record. A copy record is considered a match and does not need to be changed even if the name of the larger jurisdiction is present on item but missing in record or a different abbreviation is used in 264 $a; or if the publisher's name is recorded in a different form in 264 $b (e.g., Da Capo vs. Da Capo Press, Inc., a subsidiary of Plenum Publishing Corporation).

Publication date needs to match. Pay attention to publication date and copyright date. If only the copyright date is present, the publication date in the 264 field (2nd indicator “1”) subfield $c needs to be bracketed. If the record in Alma is for the hardback edition and the item in hand is a paperback with a different publication date, it is considered a non-match. The appropriate record for the paperback edition from OCLC needs to be used. We will import the correct OCLC record and merge it with the Alma record. The Alma record for the hardback edition can be used for the paperback edition ONLY when the publication date for the paperback edition is same as the hardback. In this case, the ISBNs for both hardback and paperback will need to be entered in the 020 fields.

300 Field

Verify pagination of the item. Illustrated matters are optional under RDA. Keep it if present in records. Add 300 $b if missing on copy record for juvenile materials. Add it for non-juvenile materials only when considered important for identification or selection (e.g., exhibit catalogs, etc.)

336/337/338 Fields

Verify these three fields for print monographs when they are present in the record. For RDA records, the 336/337/338 fields are mandatory.

336 __ $a text $b txt $2 rdacontent

337 __ $a unmediated $b n $2 rdamedia

338 __ $a volume $b nc $2 rdacarrier

336 Field

Add "still image" only if illustrative content is substantial and considered important for identification or selection (e.g., art exhibit catalogs, etc.)

336 __ $a still image $b sti $2 rdacontent

490 Field

Always check the item for series information. Verity the series statement from the item if 490 field is present. Add 490 as needed if the field is absent. The series statement (490) should match the series title on the item.

Librarians reviewing the item should consult Series Authority File for untraced series statements (490 0_) to check series tracing practice. If the series is indicated as a traced series, the first indicator should be changed from "0" to "1" and an authorized access point should be given in 8XX field as defined in the NACO record. When series authority records cannot be found for untraced series statements on LC/PCC records, a series authority record should be created by the librarian as needed. In case of doubt, consult librarians.

504 Field

Verify the presence of bibliographic references and indexes on item. Give pagination if considered important. (RDA 7.16) Do not add pagination if missing.

505 Field

Scan content notes and correct obvious typos and errors, but do not match against the item in hand. If multiple 505 fields are present due to lengthy contents, except the first 505 field, the first indicator of the subsequent 505 fields should be “8” which controls the public display constant. Pay attention to the two indicators, which specify the completeness of the contents or whether the format of the contents is enhanced.

520 Field

Scan summary notes and correct obvious typos and errors. Add summary notes if missing for juvenile materials.

6XX Fields (Subject Headings)

CUNY will accept the following:

  • FAST (6XX _7 $2 fast) headings (2nd indicator “7” with $2 fast)
  • LCSH (6XX _0), (2nd indicator “0”) (LC subject headings)
  • MeSH (6XX _2), (2nd indicator “2”) (medical subject headings)

For juvenile titles, convert LC Children's Subject Headings (6XX _1) to LCSH as appropriate if LCSH headings are not present in the record; ensure that converted headings match those in the LCSH authority file.

Delete the following:

  • 653 fields (uncontrolled index terms)
  • All headings in foreign languages (6XX _6)
  • LC Children’s Subject Headings (6XX _1) (for non-juvenile titles)
  • Local subject headings (6XX _4)

655 Field (Genre/Form Headings)

Accept LCGFT, GSAFD, FAST (655 _7 $2 lcgft, or $2 gsafd or $2 fast), and LCSH-based genre headings (655 _0) only. Retain LCGFT terms only if duplicate or similar GSAFD or LCSH-based genre/form terms are present on copy record. That is to remove GSAFD terms if there are duplicate or similar LCSH-based genre/form terms on copy record.

Do not add genre/form terms on copy record if missing for the time being. We will follow LC/PCC practice when genre/form headings is implemented in LC.

856 Field (URL Links to Online Resources)

The field is used for a resource when the resource or a subset of the resource is available electronically. In addition, it may be used to locate and access an electronic version of a non-electronic resource described in either the bibliographic record, a portion of the resource described, or a related electronic resource. Catalogers will always check the validity of the link(s). Delete the field(s) if the link is broken, invalid (i.e., CUNY does not subscribe to the resource), or non-essential (e.g., an advertisement site, etc.) We will keep relevant links such as table of contents, cover image, publisher description or author’s biographical information if those links are present and valid.

1XX/7XX Fields (Access Points)

In general, all names (5 or less) given in the statement of responsibility (245 $c) should have corresponding access points (1xx and 7xx) on record. For names with supporting roles (e.g., person who wrote introduction, foreword, etc.), we will accept existing access points (i.e., 7xx fields) on record. CUNY will not actively add access points for people with supporting roles only. If there are more than 5 names (6 or more) in the 245 $c, we will at least provide the access point for the first name listed in the $c.

Add appropriate relationship designators in subfield $e (or $j for 111/711 fields) for name access points if missing on copy record for RDA records. Check RDA Toolkit Appendix I or J for the accuracy and appropriateness of the relationship designators given on copy record. Follow appropriate punctuation rules specified in the PCC guidelines for Relationship Designators.

Authority work is not needed for existing name access points on copy record. Librarians will handle all authority work during cataloging or reviewing books. When additional name access points are entered on copy record, please place a post-it note indicating additional names were added, whether the record is an LC/PCC or non-LC/PCC record.

Call Numbers (050 Field)

FOR IZ call numbers, parts of this section have been superseded. See separate document Adding/Editing Call Numbers on the use of the 090 field.

In general, we accept LC call number assigned by LC (2nd indicator “0”) or PCC institutions (2nd indicator “4”) in the record. For non-LC/PCC records, the reviewer (i.e. librarian) need to perform a quick check on Classification Web to ensure the class number (050 $a) matches the subject headings (6xx fields). If multiple 050 fields are present, consult librarians for the appropriate call number to use. [We’ll keep all call numbers present in the 050 fields. The call number used by CUNY central office should always be moved to the first 050 field which will then be entered in the call number field (852 $h, $i) in the holdings record in Alma When entering a call number field not assigned by LC, enter the call number in 050 _4.]


050 _4 $a PN4129.15 $b .A53 2017

Call numbers do not need to be shelf-listed (i.e. maintaining alphabetical order in stacks by the primary access point). (see exceptions below).

Some items can have duplicate call numbers in Alma:

  • If the Cutter numbers begin with “A” or “Z”: Leave duplicate call numbers as is and flag and place items on the cataloging revision truck after completing the rest of copy cataloging tasks.

Examples for cutter numbers that should not be adjusted:

A3 Autobiography [Biography table]

A4 Exhibition catalogs [Table N6—painting]

A75 Congresses. Symposia. Collected papers and essays [Table KF6—law]

Z46 Autobiography [Table PZ40—literature]

  • Different editions of the same work should have a same call number, with different dates added to make a distinction between editions. Check call numbers of earlier edition(s) as needed to ensure a same call number is given.

12/2018 CW (adapted from TCNJ)