Library catalogs contain information about all materials owned by the library. The information that describes each item is referred to as a bibliographic record or catalog record. Cataloging is the process followed by librarians to create the bibliographic record. To perform catalog work means to systematically record details about a published item, such as, title, author, publisher, date, physical description, subject headings, edition, and call number. A set of standardized rules for cataloging and transcribing information about library materials governs the cataloging process. These rules are published as RDA (Resource Description and Access) which replaces AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Revised)
RDA (replaces AACR2)
RDA toolkit - Online access to RDA rules, tools, and resources.
RDA terminology Quiz from Library of Congress (opens in PowerPoint)
ALCTS RDA Webinars on YouTube - ALA Association for Library Collections & Technical Services webinar series on RDA topics.
Library of Congress RDA Training Materials - Online Courses which include slides, quizes, exercises and useful documents.
GMD replacement examples - Library of Congress document on the replacement of GMD with new Content type, Media and Carrier fields (PDF)
Return to Top
To assist library customers in locating materials within the library, catalogers assign call numbers which are printed on labels that are attached to individual materials. The two most commonly used classification systems are: the Dewey Decimal Classification system (DDC) and the Library of Congress Classification system (LCC). Most public libraries use the Dewey schedules. DDC is a numerical scheme which divides all knowledge into ten general categories and further subdivides the major headings according to subject specificity. Most university and research libraries use the Library of Congress Classification System. LCC uses an alphabetical code in combination with a numbering scheme to define subject content.
Dewey Classification (DDC)- Forest Press site that explains number building, history, and structure of Dewey numbers, and provides summary information for the Dewey tables.
Dewey Classification Summaries - A list of the 10 main classes and the first level divisions.
Library of Congress Classification (LC) - Contains on-line version, explanations of cuttering and call number construction from the Geography site of The Mining Company.
Return to Top
MARC - Cataloging for the Computer
A variety of computer software packages are available to produce catalog records. These computer programs help libraries develop online catalogs for local use, and, in addition to make their catalogs available to remote users via the World Wide Web. In order for the computer to interpret the information found in a cataloging record, libraries follow a standard professional practice called MARC record cataloging. MARC is an acronym for Machine-Readable Cataloging Record. The official rules and documentation for cataloging in MARC format is compiled by the Library of Congress and published in the document: USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data.
Understanding Marc Bibliographic Machine-Readable Cataloging Written by Betty Furrie in conjunction with the Data Base Development Department of the Follett Software Company. A good site on understanding MARC, why and how it is used, as well as a resource for describing commonly used fields.
An Introduction to Marc tagging : an OCLC tutorial - Reading MARC fields and understanding how a information from an item becomes a MARC record. (Macintosh and Unix is not supported)
Listing of MARC fields - Comprehensive listing of MARC fields with examples from OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards.
Return to Top
Libraries assign subject headings to assist the public in finding materials on a particular subject when an author or title is not known. Libraries strive for consistency in subject heading use so that all items with the same subject will be listed together in the library catalog. The most authoritative list consulted by librarians to determine appropriate headings and cross-references is the Library of Congress Subject Headings(LCSH). Some small libraries use the Sears List of Subject Headings to help identify proper subject terms. There are also subject heading lists to address special topics, such as children's literature.
Library of Congress Authorities: Library of Congress valid authorities for subject, name and title. The ultimate resource for finding the right subject heading and the correct form of a name or title.
Library of Congress Subject Heading Guide by University of Mississippi Libraries
Sears List of Subject Headings - Ordering information from Ebsco Publishing
Return to Top
FRBR and Other Resources
A Glossary of Cataloging Terms - University of Oklahoma Libraries (compiled by Charlene Rezabek ; edited by Katherine Wong, Elaine Bradshaw, Nedria Santizo, Ila Grice) - A comprehensive source of definitions of words used in cataloging.
What is FRBR? A conceptual model of the bibliographic universe, by Barbara Tillett - a concise look at the concepts and vision of FRBR.
FRBR Simplified - A quick look at FRBR by alynnelorenz (opens a YouTube video)
Bram Stoker's Dracula in FRBR terms by the Library Geek (opens a YouTube video)
FRBR Quiz (opens in PowerPoint)
New audio formats - How the Library of Congress classifies MP3 files, mini discs, and more.
Return to Top
For more information or assistance contact: