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RDS@UF: Local Practice for the Cataloging of Print Material with OCLC Copy

Resource Description Services department procedures and policies

Last updated in October 2022 by Sam Fraleigh

Local Practice for the Cataloging of Print Material with OCLC Copy

This document pertains only to the copy cataloging of print books, excluding scores. Part 1 provides some general information, mostly local practice, on copy cataloging in the department. Part 2 describes the various types of situations a copy cataloger is likely to encounter in Alma. Part 3 describes the best practice for cataloging specific fields and, when relevant, some of the trickier aspects of certain metadata fields. For a more in-depth guide to searching for bibliographic records in Connexion, see

Throughout this document “$” should be read as subfield. The dollar sign is a standard way of indicating subfield.

Part 1 – General Info and Local Practices

This document does not cover the cataloging of certain types of material as listed below:

  1. Cartographic materials
  2. Material for: Rare Books Collection, Baldwin Library, Florida History
  3. E-resources:
    1. Digitized material (UFDC)
    2. UF electronic theses and dissertations (handled by Acquisitions)
    3. E-books (except under unusual circumstances) and streaming video
    4. Federal documents (these go to Documents at ALF)
    5. Serials (send to the Serials Unit at ILF)
  4. Material in vernacular that has insufficient information in English to permit a search or to verify the accuracy of any OCLC records found. (Check with supervisor or in case of CJK material give to Sato Someya)

Some of the books cataloged by copy catalogers will have been searched by student assistants who search for matching copy in both Alma and OCLC using Connexion. Staff will also encounter material that they need to search. Students and staff typically work with three types of material:

  • Items purchased by the Libraries through the Acquisitions Department which typically have provisionals with an item record and an order record linked to the provisional bib.
  • Items donated as gifts to the Libraries which may or may not have a record in Alma when they come to us. Provisionals are not created for gifts.
  • Items received directly from an owning location (especially AFA and Science) or from the administration offices. These have the same characteristics as the two previous but are much less abundant.

Searching Alma and Connexion

Student assistants search:

  • Items the department receives as gifts.
  • Individually ordered items which always have a provisional record and are placed on the searching shelves by the Collections Support Unit in the Acquisitions and Collections Services Department.

Both types of the above material are kept on separate shelving to avoid mix-ups.

Books searched by student assistants will have a green slip with the OCLC system number that matches the item in hand, the date searched and the initials of the searcher.

Catalogers search:

  • RUSH items.
  • Material received via standing orders, the exchange program or sent directly to the department by branch libraries (also placed on separate shelving). Students occasionally also search this material.
  • Scores (Music cataloger)
  • Cartographic material (Certain members of the Contributed Cataloging Unit)
  • All other types of material when student assistants are not working.

Before searching in OCLC, catalogers should still search in Alma by title or use title/author in a "keywords" search. This preliminary search is a way of verifying that there are no other records that match what you have in hand.

In all of the scenarios below, the first step is verification. You need to carefully compare the information on the item in hand to the information in the bib record. When searching for records matching your item, you will primarily verify that the record found in Alma and/or OCLC is for the item in hand by comparing the 1XX, 245, 250, 264, 300, 33X, 490/8XX and 7XX fields to the item you have. Not all fields will necessarily be found in every record. In particular the 250, 490/8XX and 7XX fields may not be present.

Note: Some of the above fields may also be absent from many provisional records in Alma. It sometimes happens that the publisher/date of publication is incorrect in a provisional record. As long as the title, author and edition statement (if relevant) match, it is likely safe to assume you have a match.

If there are significant differences between a provisional record and the item in hand, check with staff in the Collections Support Unit of Acquisitions, or your supervisor.

Types of Records

Copy catalogers will see various types of bibliographic records in OCLC:

  1. Records cataloged according to RDA rules (implemented in spring 2013, records have Desc i and 040 ## …$e rda)
  2. Records cataloged according to AACR2 rules (implemented in 1981, records have Desc a and no $e in the 040).
  3. Records cataloged according to pre-AACR2/non-ISBD rules (Desc blank or c)
  4. Vendor records of highly variable quality with often inconsistent coding in the Desc and ELvl fixed fields, but most frequently have an ELvl level of 3 or M.

The most important task of the cataloger is to ensure that titles can be found and accessed by patrons as easily as possible.

Part 2 – Cataloging Situations to Know

There are six scenarios you may encounter when searching Alma. Be sure that you know the difference between the Network Zone (NZ) and Institution Zone (IZ) in Alma before proceeding:

Scenario 1

You find a match with all of the following:

  • A full bib record in the Alma Network Zone (not provisional)
  • At least 1 active UF holding record (not suppressed)
  • A corresponding item record with a “dummy” barcode (e.g. “ufl123456”)
  • No other active UF item record(s) with a full barcode (others with “dummy” are OK)

This is one of the scenarios that a cataloger should expect to encounter for new titles not currently owned by UF when pulling items from the to-be-cataloged shelves. This material may have already been searched by student assistants and should have an item record with a “dummy” barcode and, in most cases, a holding record. This record likely was already in the Alma NZ when it was searched because it was owned by other Florida schools. In this case, you will see holdings for the other Florida schools, but not their item records.

  1. Be sure to verify that OCLC holdings for UF have been set (i.e. updated) in Connexion.
  2. The bib record may reflect obsolete MARC fields and cataloging rules or have many instances of identical 500 and 856 fields. If this is the case, refresh the bib record in Alma by exporting the current version of the record in OCLC to the Alma NZ and replacing the old record. Always check the OCLC number in the 035 of the Alma record to ensure that you are accessing the same record in OCLC. This is especially important when other libraries have holding records associated with the bib. When searching for a record by OCLC number, be sure to verify that the number you entered is the same as the current OCLC number. The reason for this is that OCLC regularly merges records judged to be identical. One OCLC number is retained for the merged record and the others are placed in a 019 field in the newly merged record.
  3. After exporting the OCLC record to Alma, open the record in the Metadata Editor in order to see the changes to the bib record.
  4. If several volumes or multiple copies were purchased, there will usually be an equal number of item records.
    1. Item records for volumes that are part of a set should all be attached to only one holding record. The same typically applies for multiple item records representing duplicate copies of the same title or volume. The only time there should be more than one holding record is when multiple copies of a title are held at different owning locations/branches. When working with item records for volumes attached to a volume set holding record, other steps, not covered here, will need to be taken both in the item record and the holding record in Alma.

Scenario 2

You find a match with all of the following:

  • A full bib record in the Alma Network Zone ( (not provisional)
  • No UF holding or item records
  • At least 1 holding for a Florida institution other than UF

This scenario indicates that the item will need to be searched in OCLC via Connexion for the first time by the cataloger and will most likely arise when handling gift items.

  1. In Connexion you will need to update UF’s OCLC holdings so that other institutions are aware UF owns the title.
  2. The bib record may reflect obsolete MARC fields and cataloging rules. If this is the case, refer to Scenario 1, b on exporting records from OCLC.
  3. When your work is finished in Connexion, return to the Alma bib record in the Metadata Editor. Create a holding record by selecting a template under the “+Add Inventory” dropdown tab and filling in the essential 852 field information and anything else that’s warranted. You will then need to create an item record by maneuvering to the “List of Items” page and selecting “+ Add Item”. Supply the “Material type” and “Item policy”, place a barcode on the item and scan it into the item record.

Scenario 3

  • You find a match with all of the following:
  • A full bib record in the Alma Network Zone (not provisional)
  • At least 1 active UF holding record (not suppressed)
  • A corresponding item record with a “full” barcode (no hyphens)
    • Other item records with dummy barcodes may be present

This scenario usually indicates that UF already owns at least one copy or other volumes of a set of the title in hand, thus, making the item in hand a copy or volume add. This is the scenario one expects when pulling from the “mono adds” shelves.

  1. Verification is especially important in this situation because searches often believe a given item is an add when in fact it is not. Never assume that what you have is an add, always check carefully.
  2. In many cases, the bib record has been in the catalog for some time. If so, refer to Scenario 1, b

If processed by the Collections Support Unit in Acquisitions, there should already be an item(s) with a dummy barcode and a holding record. See Scenario 1, e for an explanation of volume adds and copy adds.

  1. If the item in hand is a volume or copy add, the OCLC holdings should already indicate we own the title, but it is good practice to double check.

Scenario 4

You find a provisional bib record in the Alma Institution Zone

This will predominantly be encountered with cataloging material purchased by Acquisitions. It is regularly seen during Rush cataloging. Student assistants and staff should overlay any provisional record whose title they search in OCLC unless, of course, the item in hand must be done as an original.

To overlay an existing record in Alma, copy the OCLC number of the chosen record in Connexion that can be found at the top left of the record, above the fixed fields. Go to the Alma record. Place your cursor anywhere that does not have text in blue font. Hit F8 to create a blank line. Type “035” as the field tag, leave the two indicator boxes blank, type “(OCoLC)” and paste the OCLC number immediately after the closed parentheses, with no space in between. Save and Release the Alma record. Then, after being sure you will be exporting to the proper destination (IZ, when dealing with a provisional) click the EXPORT button in Connexion. A message box will appear and tell you the status of your export action.

Verification of provisional records is less strict because at the time the information was entered, the Collections Support Unit may not have known precisely what a vendor would send them. In particular the publisher and date of publication may differ from the item in hand. If the edition differs, check with your supervisor or Collections Support Unit staff to be sure we received the correct item. Generally, if the title and author in a provisional match what you have in hand, you probably have a match, but always ask if the edition differs.

Provisional records created by the Collections Support Unit should always already have both an item record and a holding record (and at least one order record) when reaching us for cataloging. The holding and item records will provide you with the correct owning location.

Scenario 5

You find more than one record in Alma that matches the item in hand.

This scenario is relatively uncommon but important to be aware of. There are two versions of this that you may notice.

  1. Two or more different records exist in Alma with the same information in all of the key fields, but with different system numbers
    1. In this situation, separate institutions have exported different records from OCLC to represent the item in hand, which is descriptively matched by each record. You will notice that each record likely has different holdings from other Florida institutions. Check the important fields in each record and, if they both match the item in hand, catalog the item on the record that has the greater number of holdings from other institutions. Make sure that the record you choose has been updated to include any recent changes in OCLC.
    2. Exception: if you notice that one of the records has a 019 field containing a number that matches the OCLC system number of another record, this means that the other record has been merged with it in OCLC since last being updated in Alma. In this case, be sure to catalog your item on the record containing the 019 field. Then, report the record without the 019 to FALSC by emailing Be sure to include both bib system numbers. Ask your supervisor if in need of assistance with deciding or emailing FLVC.
  2. More than one record exists in Alma with the same exact OCLC system number
    1. This scenario may be due to a previous cataloger’s error, but in most cases the duplication occurred when all the state universities merged their online catalogs. Alma should never contain more than one bibliographic record of each OCLC number. If you see this, catalog your item in hand on the record with the greater number of holdings of other institutions. Then, report the erroneous duplicate record to FALSC by emailing

Scenario 6

You find no bib record in Alma matching your item.

This scenario should not occur if the material is coming from the Collections Support Unit, because all their material should at least have a provisional record. If it seems to occur, double check spelling and try searching again. If you have tried a few different searches and you still get no hits, try searching the dummy barcode supplied on the inserted slip

  1. If the item in hand comes from a source that would not have had a provisional record created for it by Acquisitions (such as a gift or standing order) this scenario is perfectly acceptable. In this case, search OCLC for a record matching the item in hand.
  2. Verify that the best record found in OCLC matches the item in hand by comparing the 1XX, 245, 250, 264, 300, 33X, 490/8XX and 7XX fields to the item you have in hand. Again, some of these fields may not be present in all records.
  3. Because there is no record in Alma, you don’t need to pursue steps to perform a record overlay through adding an 035 field, etc. before exporting. You simply update UF holdings and hit the export button.
  4. Open the new record in Alma by searching for the OCLC number or new MMS ID. You will need to create the item and holding records record and include any necessary fields, subfields or additional information. Check with your supervisor if you have any questions when creating these from scratch.

Part 3 – Cataloging Best Practices Field-by-Field

Key Fields to Check

When cataloging an item, whether working with a record in Alma or in OCLC, six fields are especially important:

  • The 050/090 for the Library of Congress call number
  • The 100 field and/or the 7XX field for the “primary” and “other” author(s)
  • The 245 field for the title
  • The 250 field for the edition
  • The 264(RDA) or 260(AACR2) field for the place of publication, publisher, year of publication
  • The 300 field for the number of pages, dimensions and other physical details

What to check for in each of these fields is discussed below. If any information you are instructed to verify is missing, make the changes in the record in Connexion, replace the record and export the updated record to Alma.

  1. The 050/090 field – LC call number

These two fields hold call numbers that are specific to each item and are constructed according to Library of Congress Classification standards. They are important for the organization and discovery of items on shelves. While 050 is the standard field for call number entry, 090 will occasionally be seen, especially in addition to a 050 in Alma. The 090 is for call numbers that have been assigned locally, and enables different institutions to use unique call numbers for an item, based on their local practices.


An LC call number is typically seen structured with a “class number”, followed by one or two “cutter numbers” and often ending with the item’s publication date.

Examples: F1435.3.W75 $b L68 1994 (with two cutter numbers) and JC423 $b .I951 1978 (with one cutter number).


  1. Check the OCLC record you intend to catalog to make sure it has an LC call number field.
  2. If the record is missing a call number, it is usually good practice to contribute one for it. Place your cursor in any field in the OCLC record and hit Enter to create a new 050 field. Make the 1st indicator blank and 2nd indicator “4”.
  3. Know your options for contributing a call number to a record. First check to see if there is a similar record, such as one for a different edition or publication of the title in hand, with a call number that can be used or adapted for a 050 in the record you are working in. If not, you can create a new one from scratch. Use Classification Web (, where you can identify a suitable class number based on a title’s subject headings, and The Cataloging Calculator (, which can produce cutter numbers based on author names and titles, in addition to other useful codes.
  4. Enter your call number in the 050 field following the correct format (see formatting examples above). Go to Action -> Replace Record to save your additions before exporting the record to Alma.

  1. The 100 and 700 fields – personal name

The 100 field indicates an individual who has either exclusive responsibility for the content of a resource or is the first name listed of two or more authors having shared responsibility. The 700 field is used for additional authors, editors, illustrators, translators, etc. They are both constructed following the same pattern and rules. The 100 and 700 fields are not transcribed fields, so the names sometimes are not quite the same as they appear on the piece in hand.


  1. Check the spelling of the name. If there are any spelling errors, correct them in the OCLC record.
  2. In Connexion, check the authority record for the correct form of the name. There are two ways to verify if an authority record exists for a personal name.
    1. Copy the name as it appears in Connexion, with the name in inverted order (last name first). Go to the Authorities drop down menu. You can use either Search or Browse, making sure “personal name” is selected as the index to be searched. Paste the name into the text box. This method works well for any personal name.
    2. You can also use F11 to check a single personal name. Just place the cursor on the line you wish to control. Additionally, Shift + F11 controls all controllable headings and is a quick way to check multiple names at once (as well as other types of headings). If there is an authority record and the name in the 100 or 700 field of the authority differs from the one in the OCLC record, correct the 100 or 700 field in the OCLC record to match the form of the name in the authority record.

  3. If not present, enter names in 700 fields for additional authors of the work or for individuals who made a significant contribution to the work, such as editors, illustrators, translators, etc. Always add relator terms. . A good list can be found here:  
    1. There are two issues it is important to be aware of:
      1. If a name does not have a date associated with it or some other qualifying information like an occupation, it will often not control using F11. In this case you should use the method outlined in 2.b.i above to check if there is an authority record.
      2. When controlling a personal name, always exercise caution. Be certain that the name authority record has sufficient information for you to safely consider the names a match. Sometimes there is very limited information in authority records. It is always possible to that two people happen to have the same name. If you can’t be reasonably sure, it is better not to control the name.
  4. The 245 field (including $b and $c) – title
    1. Verify that the title in the bib matches the item in hand. Usually the title is taken from the title page, or lacking a title page, it may have been taken from another part of the book such as the cover. Note if there is a subtitle present on the item – if so, it is entered in $b.
    2. Verify that the 1st and 2nd indicators have the correct values
      1. The 1st indicator is “1” when a 1XX field is present and “0” when it is not present.
      2. The 2nd indicator should reflect the number of nonfiling characters at the beginning of the title. Non-filing means the number of characters that the computer ignores at the beginning of a line. Articles in any language such as The, Une, Die and any other non-alphabetical characters like “ (quotation) , … (ellipsis) and – (dash), are non-filing. Example: the 245 field for title The Phantom Tollbooth would have a 2nd indicator of 4 for four nonfiling characters – the three letters in “The” and the space following the article.
    3. Check the spelling of the title, including the subtitle if present, making any necessary corrections. Important: According to RDA rules, if there are errors in the title as it appears on the item, the title should be transcribed as is, not corrected. A 246 should be added with the corrected title. For an explanation of the 246 field see the Other Fields section below.
    4. Because under RDA rules the title is considered a transcribed field, the instructions state that if a title is in all upper case, it should be recorded in the same way. The Library of Congress, however, decided not to follow this rule and retained the traditional title entry with only the first word and proper nouns capitalized. You may find records whose titles are all in upper case or that contain odd characters. While UF chose to follow the LC rule interpretation, do not change these entries in Connexion if they reflect what is present on the piece. It is not incorrect under RDA. You may, however, change the appearance of the title locally in Alma if you deem it important for readability.
    5. Verify the information in the statement of responsibility ($c)
      1. The statement of responsibility typically is taken from the same source as the title; however, under RDA cataloging rules this information can be taken from anywhere on the item in hand. When this is done the information normally will be enclosed in square brackets. Under AACR2 rules the information for the statement of responsibility is taken only from the same source as the title in the 245 $a, so there is no obligation to add to that information unless you think it important.
    6. $n and $p. Volume sets (two or more volumes published under a common title) can be cataloged in different ways depending on the preferences of the institution cataloging the set. Some libraries may choose to catalog a large ongoing set as a serial. Other libraries may prefer a single monographic record for the set, using the common title as the only title in the 245 field. Lastly some libraries may choose to catalog each volume separately, particularly if each volume has its own distinctive title in addition to the common title shared by all the volumes. It is this last situation where a cataloger would add the $n and $p. The $n is used for the numbering of a given volume and the $p is used for the distinctive title of the individual volume. While there is nothing wrong with this choice, the department's policy is to always use a volume set record that uses only the title common to the set in the 245 field. However, if there are no records for the set and good records exist for the individual volumes and those volumes have distinctive titles, then we would use a separate record for each volume. When cataloging a single volume of a set on its own bib record there are a couple of different ways it could be cataloged. The most common is to use the title of the individual volume in the 245 $a as the preferred access point and add the common title of the set in a 490/830. This is an acceptable method. The other approach some cataloger’s use is to put the common title in the 245 $a and add the $n and $p to distinguish the bib record from other records of individual volumes. If no, the other two alternatives are not available then this approach is also acceptable.

The use of the $n and $p is also generally correct for the following: books of the bible, classical authors of antiquity such as Plato, Tacitus or Ovid, and other similar situations. If it seems like the presence of one of these subfields is out of place on your preferred record, double-check with your supervisor whether you should be cataloging your item on a volume set record instead.

  1. The 250 field – edition statement
    1. Definition: an edition statement is a word or phrase appearing in the resource that normally indicates a difference in either content or form between the resource and a related resource, such as a previous edition.

Presence of any new content including an epilogue, foreword, introduction, etc. would usually be considered a new edition, even if this isn’t made explicit in the piece. This is important in determining whether you have the correct record. Variation in pages may be an indicator as well, especially if bibliographic references are shifted several pages. The take away: a new edition of a work may not always explicitly indicate it is a new edition. When this is the case, enclose the edition information in square brackets in the 250 field.

  1. The 250 is a transcribed field, so the edition statement under RDA rules should reflect exactly how it appears in the item. Under AACR2, this was not the case and the edition statement in the 250 can look quite different. Aside from changing abbreviations to full words, there is no need to redo the 250 in AACR2 records.
  2. Never remove a 250 field without consulting with a supervisor.
  3. The word “edition”, “edición” or “edição” is often used to mean printing in Latin America and parts of Europe. Look for words like rev. (revisado) or aum. or aumentado (enlarged/added to) as an indication that you are indeed looking at a different edition. If you see the month and year followed by edition or auflage (German), consider it a printing date, not a true edition statement. Another possible sign of new printings, rather than true editions, is when you see several dates listed in quick succession over a short period of time. In practice, many catalogers at other institutions record all statements like those above as edition statements. If you have a record that records a probable printing as an edition, do not change the record in OCLC.
  1. The 264 field – publication information: place, publisher (or distributor or manufacturer), year
    1. The 264 is coded using both indicators:
      1. The 1st indicator is rarely seen in records but is used when there is a change of publisher, usually with a monographic volume set in which volumes have been published by different companies over time. See the OCLC bib formats entry for the 264 for the meaning of the coding in the 1st indicator.
      2. The 2nd indicator is required. The indicator codes are 0, 1, 2, 3, 4 their meaning is: 0 = production (used mostly for manuscripts and other unpublished resources created by the author – do not use), 1 = publication (by far the most widely used code), 2 = distribution (not required if there is another 264 with publisher information, but seen sometimes), 3 = manufacture (rarely used, especially for print resources), 4 = copyright date: used commonly, but exclusively when recording a copyright date in a separate 264 field in addition to the date given in the primary 264 field.
    2. Multiple 264 fields are allowed and required when recording publication and copyright dates, for example.
    3. The 264 field consists of three parts. The $a contains the place of publication, distribution or manufacture; the $b contains the name of the publisher, distributor, etc. and $c contains the date of publication.
      1. The $a: The place of publication, etc. should ideally be taken from somewhere on the resource itself but other sources can be used. When a source other than the resource itself is used, the name should be enclosed in brackets. If it is not possible to determine a place of publication, use: [Place of publication not identified]. Catalogers should avoid this whenever possible by inferring a place of publication and putting the location in square brackets. Besides the square brackets it is also acceptable to place a question mark after the location when there are serious doubts about the place of publication.
      2. The $b: the name of the publisher, etc. should be taken from the resource if possible. However, catalogers can use another outside source for the publisher name. In this case, square brackets should be used. When the publisher simply cannot be identified, the phrase [publisher not identified] is used.
      3. The $c: the date of publication. RDA rules dictate that this date should be presented within square brackets unless the publication date is explicitly presented on the item. When the publication date is inferred from a copyright date, it should both be listed within square brackets in the first 264 field and accompanied by a second 264 field with 2nd indicator 4 and just the copyright date listed in a $c. Example: 264 _ 4 $c ©2002
  1. The 300 field – physical description

The physical description of the item including the extent of the item (pagination in most cases) and its dimensions. Use field 300 also for other physical details of the item (e.g., to indicate presence of illustrations, maps, etc.) and information concerning accompanying material.

  1. $a Extent (pagination)
    1. The $a is used for recording extent of an item. For copy catalogers this means pagination when cataloging standalone print monographs. If you encounter the abbreviation “p.” in the 300 field, change it to “pages”.
    2. For volume sets the $a indicates either:
      1. The number of volumes + the word “volumes” in completed sets (no more books being published under the set tile), for example: 3 volumes.
      2. If the set is known, or reasonably inferred, to be ongoing, the word “volumes” is the only content needed in the $a. If you are unsure whether there will be more volumes in the future, the word “volumes” should be used.
  2. $b (Other descriptive aspects of item)
    1. For print, the $b contains information about illustrative matter, such as illustrations or maps (the most commonly used). Note that what is entered in the $b must also be reflected in the coding of the fixed field Ills.
  3. $c (Physical dimensions)
    1. The $c is used for recording the height of the item. The measurement is recorded in centimeters with the abbreviation “cm” without a period, unless the bib record contains a 490 field. In this case a period is used.
    2. If the width of an item is close to that of the height, then both dimensions are given, such as 22 x 20 cm
  4. $e (Supplemental material)
    1. The $e is used for supplemental material such as accompanying CD-ROMs, sound discs, DVDs, etc. The $e is proceeded by a “+” and should follow the $c. While sufficient to simply add + $e 1 guide book, the preferred way is + $e 1 guide book (100 pages: illustrations ; 10 x 10 cm)

Other Fields

These fields are also important, but less essential when identifying a record to match your item in hand. This can be for a few different reasons including that they are more likely to be excluded from lower-level records, are sometimes more common in non-print resource records and that they can sometimes be misleading to the untrained eye for records representative of different editions, printings or translations of a work. For more in-depth information about these fields, you may check with your supervisor.

020 – ISBN

Although they should not be relied on primarily to match a record to an item in hand, ISBNs can be important representative fields. Occasionally, a record that originally may seem like a match to an item in hand can most easily be identified as a different edition by a difference of the ISBN. At the same time, a different or missing ISBN should not be automatically interpreted as the sign of an incorrect match.

For example, if cataloging a more recent printing of a title on an earlier printing’s record, the more recent ISBN may be missing from that earlier record. In these cases, catalogers are actually encouraged to add the new ISBN to the older printing’s record, per local practice. Doing this can be useful for Acquisition’s efforts to replace missing copies, for example, as it helps to note that the same information is shared by different printings of the same title or to avoid other types of duplication.

240/1XX – uniform titles

These uniform titles are seen irregularly, and are most often seen in records for holy texts, musical works and motion pictures. The 240 is regularly paired with a personal, corporate or meeting name, respectively in a 100, 110 or 111 field, to form an authorized access point to distinguish an item that has appeared under multiple different titles or translations. The 130 is used, by itself, when there is no name to pair with the appropriate uniform title. An example of this scenario would be the Qur’an.

One use of the 240 that is more commonly seen is for translations. The 240 contains the title in the original language and a $l for the language into which it has been translated. For example:

041 1_ $a eng $h ger

100 10 $a Grass, Gunter.

240 10 $a Die Blechtrommel. $l English

245 14 $a The tin drum…

Technically, the rules of cataloging call for this usage of the 240 when cataloging translations. In practice, however, this rule is not consistently applied. If you see this usage of the 240, do not remove from the record.

If a cataloger has the experience and knowledge to add a missing 240 to a record, they may do so. Before adding a 130 field to a bib record locally or in Connexion, check with a supervisor.

246 – variant title

Titles of books can be searched in many ways by users. They may mistake a distinctive subtitle for the main title or type a number as a word when the actual title uses a numeral. In both of these cases the user may not find the book they are searching for even though the library owns a copy. The most common way that catalogers deal with this potential problem is through the use of the 246 field. Catalogers can add almost any title by which they think users are likely to search.

The 246 has two indicators. The default for the first indicator is usually “3”, but others can be used if needed. The second indicator generates text in the online catalog providing a description of the type of title recorded in the 246, for example: Cover title or Portion of title. See the OCLC bib formats page on the 246 ( for an in-depth break-down of which indicators to use for different types of variant titles.

Catalogers can add one or more 246 fields either locally or to the OCLC record (preferred) at their discretion. The only criterion that needs to be considered before adding a 246 is whether the title being added is distinctive enough to aid users in finding the item they want when searching the online catalog.

There are a number of situations when it is recommended that a cataloger add a 246 field. Below are some examples of when one might want to enter a variant tile:

  • The title used as the primary access point differs from other parts of the item such as the cover, spine or half title page.
  • There are numbers present in the title either as numerals or words.
  • The conjunction “and” is present as a word or the symbol “&”.
  • There is a caption title that differs from the title used as the primary access point.
  • There are parallel titles present on the item.

When adding a 246 field do not include any articles at the beginning of the title. There is no way to code the field so that the computer ignores the articles.

490/8XX – series statement/added entry

The 490/8XX series title

The 490 is used to record the series title as it appears on the item in hand. If there is a 490 present on a record, you must verify that the series title appears on your item. If it does not, then the record is probably not a match.

The 8XX (usually an 830) is the form of the series title as it appears on a series authority record. The 830 and the 490 sometimes will not match exactly.

Monographic series can be numbered or unnumbered and are occasionally difficult to identify, depending on the placement or presentation of the series title on a physical item.

While an item with a series title should always have a 490, the 8XX field is dependent on whether the series is traced (searchable in a browse or headings search). In OCLC, if the series title is traced, the 1st indicator should have a 1, and include an 8XX field (most often an 830 for a uniform titled series). If the series is not traced, there is a 0 in the 490 1st indicator and no 8XX field present.

Note: Locally, regardless of what is in OCLC, every series title should be traced in Alma even if the 8XX field is not controlled. In addition to this, it is generally encouraged to create a Series Authority Record for a series title in OCLC if a cataloger has the knowledge and experience to do so.  If a series is numbered, the department’s policy is to always create a series authority record if one does not exist. If you do not have the training to create the authority record yourself, consult a supervisor.

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