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Udated 08/07Updated 11/22

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Cataloging policy (books and other print materials



Background: When SCRC cataloguers catalogers were brought under the umbrella of the Catalogue Acquisitions and Cataloging Department (2005), stated goals were both to bring the underlying framework into line with general cataloguing cataloging conventions, and, more importantly, to document the details of SCRC practice (prior . Prior to that it was purely oral tradition). The “Checklist for SCRC Cataloging” was developed to guide the cataloguers’ catalogers’ work and to remove some decision-making from the provide a reference for Library technician cataloguerscatalogers.

1. SCRC cataloguing cataloging policies and procedures rest on a range of national standards (RDA, AACR-2, CONSER, DCRM, etc.) and are developed in the context of SUL’s overall cataloguing cataloging policy as set by the Acquisitions and Cataloguing Department. Within this framework, procedures are created to meet SCRC needs for detailed description and enhanced access to support service needs of the collections. In addition, items are generally identified at the printing level rather than the edition level; however, these . Printing-specific records are not added to OCLC (except for very specific circumstances).

2. Cataloguing Cataloging priorities are set by the Managers’ Group SCRC staff at the start of a calendar year. Curators, cataloguerscatalogers, the head of public services, and the lead archivist meet to discuss, review and evaluate collections as to the range of materials included to aid in creating the cataloguing cataloging framework which identifies access and levels of description. The framework is documented in documented in the online procedures and may be revised once the project in underway. This framework identifies gift and provenance notes, linking notes to manuscript and other collections, item needs in terms physical description (binding, state, imperfections).

3. New donations and materials flagged for cataloging identified during the processing of manuscript collections are not to be necessarily sent directly to cataloguingcataloging. These items should be are regularly added to the SCRC cataloguing cataloging backlog with a “Checklist for SCRC Cataloging” form completed and inserted into each piece. Only new purchases and agreed upon cataloguing cataloging priorities should be routed to cataloguingcataloging. Occasional rush and priority items may be inserted into the queue when necessary as well as “small” one-time gifts (usually 10 or fewer items).

4. Gifts and restricted fund purchases: Donor and fund names are transcribed in 590 (local notes).    Research gift copies are also identified through a 590-note: Includes research material from the ... Papers at the Special Collections Research Center at Syracuse University Libraries.  No other gift note is needed.  Details and forms of notes may be found in procedures below.

5. Full-level cataloguing cataloging standards are used, unless curators request that Descriptive Cataloguing of Rare Materials (DCRM) standards be used, or, materials demand those standards in the judgment of cataloguing staff. Early upstate New York print materials and items published before 1700 generally receive DCRM treatment, with signature statements mandatory for items printed before 1600.


7. Unique item identifiers such as ownership and other inscriptions, stamps, bookplates, binding and bookseller tags, etc. ) are generally noted.

8. OCLC records are used, when possible, with minimal changes. The range of pre-AACR2 records, as well as AACR2, RDA, RDA hybrid, DCRB (Descriptive Cataloguing of Rare Books), and DCRM records may be used with as is, with one exception. The physical description (MARC field 300) should be evaluated for clarity and completeness to insure that pagination and illustrative matter is adequately shown. Unless incorrect, information is not removed from records.

9. SCRC classifies all print materials using Library of Congress (LC) call numbers. Classification follows current standard call number practices to the extent possible; split collections will occur when call numbers change for subjects or literary authors. In 2014, SCRC managers and cataloguers catalogers agreed to abandon a number of locally-developed LC schemes used in the past to group items together and to rely on catalogue catalog searches to collocate materials rather than physical location. Exception: exact copies will be added to the existing local call numbers. Local schemes such as that used for Browder, or, for the New York printing collection, will not be created in the future.

10. New titles are added to the general LC collection, unless donor or other considerations merit a separate, named collection.  The collection is divided among octavo (up to 28 cm), folio (29-49 cm), and flat folio (50 cm and up).  Maps, broadsides, posters, and other single-sheet items are house housed in the map cases; in addition, items consisting of only a few leaves, or especially fragile, may be housed in the cases for better protection.

11. New materials are not added to the Dewey collection; related or duplicate items currently in Dewey are reclassified to LC at the time the new item is catalogued.  The New York State collection is also frozen, except for adding exact duplicates. However, both collections will remain separate for the foreseeable future.

12. Exact duplicates will DO NOT share a single bibliographic record, with local notes tied to the specific copies, and separate holdings records for each copy; previously, all copies had their own bibliographic record.  Any differences (printing, paperbound/hard bound, presence/absence of publishers' advertisements or illustrations) require 2 bibliographic records in order to fully describe each copy.

13. Serials will be catalogued cataloged as such and enhanced as necessary to meet access needs. Additional access points and enhancements may be made when new issues are added. Cataloguers Catalogers will create, or enhance records to full CONSER level on OCLC. EXCEPTIONS: serial issues acquired because of a single article will follow standards for component parts for article(s) of interest. Component parts must comprise at least a page, preferably more; smaller articles, notices, and other references of interest will be highlighted in the serial record, and if appropriate, access points provided. Theme issues will generally be catalogued as monographs to provide access to issue content.

14. Access to names will be enhanced by creating access points for contributors to and editors of serials and other materials when appropriate. Publisher, printer, and illustrator entries are added when merited, especially for older items. Generally all names in the statement of responsibility will receive access points: authors of introductions and afterwards, illustrators, translators, etc.

15. Contents of serials, anthologies, and multi-volume sets will be highlighted when necessary in a 505 field to bring out and provide access to content of local interest and appropriate access points added.


  • Details concerning SCRC materials used (provided by the curator) and generally indicating pages with images and nature of materials used.
    • Eg., Images on pages 20-22, 53, 102; quotations


New receipts:


Cataloging and processing

New receipts include purchased titles, gift titles (including those given that cited or used SCRC collections), print items removed from manuscript collections, and current periodicals and serials received and sent to SCRC by Acquisitions and Cataloguing Cataloging serials staff.

  • All new receipts (except those from serials) must be accompanied by a completed Curator curator slip which indicates:
    • Fund used for new purchases
    • Donor and/or collection for gifts and items from Manuscriptsmanuscripts; these items are sent for curatorial review prior to coming to the cataloguerscatalogers.
    • Collections cited or used in research for publication.
    • Level of cataloguing cataloging desired (DCRM or not)
    • Additional name, subject, or genre access points
    • Special features to be noted
    • Relationships to SCRC collections
  • CataloguersCatalogers
    • Determine if item might be a candidate for manuscripts: is it primarily handwritten, a clipping or other ephemeral material?
    • Verify correct form of fund and donor notes (see below under local notes for this)
    • Examine item for additional provenance and physical characteristics, such as damage, binding, presence of dust jacket, or other details
    • Insure that finished record reflects everything from Curator curator slip.
    • Insure that correct author number is used for works of literature.
    • Inform conservation of special needs.
  • Current periodicals
    • Search title (as journal title search) and retrieve SP SCRC record.
    • Count as 1 paid piece added
    • Processing instructions are on the holdings record
      • Most titles are temporarily housed in Princeton files, or other containers and gathered at regular intervals by cataloguers catalogers and sent to Conservation conservation for boxing, along with book flag and barcode.
      • Item records generally not assigned to individual issues.
      • Add issue to holdings, write call number on cover (or on page following), insert a slip with instructions for Conservationconservation, generally along the lines of "plate only, no item record, do not place in envelope"
      • Place issue on truck with other items for Conservationconservation.
      • When adding the last issue of a volume, collapse the issues into a volume statement.
      • If it is time to have issues boxed, pull the issues, and prepare them for Conservationconservation; create item record for volumes contained in the box.
  • Book serials
    • Volumes are either adds to the holdings record, or, catalogued cataloged as monographs with a series statement. Instructions may be found on transmittal slip from serials receiving.
      • Added volumes:
        • Count as added paid piece.
        • Add volume to holdings.
        • Create item record.
        • Prepare a flag
        • Place books on truck for Conservationconservation.
      • Volumes catalogued cataloged as monographs
        • Search OCLC for usable record.
        • Insure series statement is correct, using control headings to verify.
        • Create item record, flag, and place on truck for Conservationconservation.
        • Count as new paid title catalogued.




General collections policies apply unless otherwise stated in this document.


  • Provenance: [name] (name in ms. on t.p.)
  • Signed by Authur Miller on title page. (Used for copies signed by author)
  • Signed: Joyce Carol Oates, author’s copy
  • Provenance: [name] (autograph)
  • Presence and extent of annotations.
    • Autograph:
    • Inscriptions:
      • Authors' presentation inscription: [followed by transcription of inscription; use elipses for overly long ones, or use pattern: Author's presentation inscription from Joyce Carol Oates to Syracuse University Library]
      • Presentation inscription: (for presentations of an item by individuals other than authors) [followed by transcription of inscription; use elipses for overly long ones, or use pattern: Presentation inscription from Mom to Mary Elizabeth Alden]
      • Inscription: [for all other types of inscriptions]


When item is one of a numbered edition, create two notes:


  • When pages are uncut (meaning some pages are not viewable because they are within a fold), use 590 note:
    • Library's copy uncut.
  • When pages vary in size and book lacks a smooth edge, the copy is untrimmed; use 590 note:
    • Library's copy untrimmed.
  • When both situations are present, use one 590 note:
    • Library's copy uncut and untrimmed.



Note such other copy-specific features in 590-notes (include copy numbers when needed):


While the prescribed sources of information remain the same, in the first three areas, if information comes from somewhere other than the title page (even if it is prescribed), make a note. Any information from a non-prescribed source must be bracketed. There is little or no transposition, abridgement or modernization for transcription. If there is an occasion to use transposition (i.e., a author's name is printed before a title, rather than as part of a title), a note is required to explain the transposition. Information for different areas of description can be considered "inseparable". In those cases, provide them in the area that they are connected to (i.e., a statement of responsibility is inseparable from a title), and do not repeat the information in the area to which it would naturally belong. Resources may be used to provide information or direct descriptive elements such as: Descriptive bibliographies can be cited for references. If a descriptive bibliography is being cited, use Standard Citation Forms for Rare Book Cataloging. This is available in Cataloger's Desktop. Dealer's descriptions may be included with new books purchased. These descriptions can include detail on bindings, printings and other descriptive elements. 

When should DCRM be used?


  • Do I need to convert case according to AACR2 Appendix A? No? Transcribe letter and case as it appears (keeping in mind the tricky circumstances of upper-case gothic)
  • If I do need to convert the case of an I, V, i, j, u, or v: determine the typeface, function, and position of letter to be transcribed
    • is the letter in roman, italic, or gothic?
    • does the letter function as a consonant or a vowel?
    • is it positioned in the initial, medial, or final position of the word?
  • Then I find usage in the text usage of that letter in the same typeface, function, and position in the case in which I must render it.
    • Most conversion involves transcribing ‘V’ to either ‘u’ or ‘v’
    • Most of the time, "v" is used in the initial position, while ‘u’ is used elsewhere, regardless of whether the V v u is functioning as a consonant or vowell. English examples: vsury, nauigation
    • A good deal of the time, the usage of the letter in the text in the same typeface, function, and position can be found on the title page itself, or within the preliminaries. If found, run with it: don’t go looking for confirmation elsewhere in the text.
    • ‘ii’ or ‘ij’—frequently needed to transcribe place names in Latin--can be challenging to find in the text. **Now, I have a rule of thumb for myself and the catalogers’ I supervise: **If after 5 minutes, I haven’t found the corresponding usage, I go to the table.
    • This happens in even less than 5 minutes when cataloging something common in Italian imprints: the title page is in roman, but the text is entirely in italic. If the printer’s roman usage cannot be found on the title page, then you can’t use the italic text to verify it—you must go directly to the table.



The basic principle behind DCRB requires complete and accurate transcription of information. This is especially important for the title and statement of responsibility.


The statement of responsibility should be transcribed as it appears on the page. This includes information such as titles of nobility, address, honor and distinction that may appear with the names in the statement of responsibility. Omit such things as initials indicating membership to societies or academic degrees if it is possible to do so grammatically, unless they are used for identification or the author is represented only a pseudonym, descriptive phrase or non alphabetic symbols. Use the mark of omission for anything that has been omitted. Noun phrases indicating the role of the person or body named in the statement of responsibility should be transcribed as part of the statement of responsibility. A short phrase may be used in brackets to indicate function. Expansions, explanations or corrections to the statement of responsibility should be made in a note. When more than one author is listed, list all names in the order they appear. If more than three authors are listed, list the first three names, and include [et al.]. Phrases that do not name an individual or corporate body can still be considered a statement of responsibility. 


The edition statement is a critical area of distinction between different copies of the same work. Edition statements should be included whenever they appear in a work, and if known to be erroneous, it should be noted. In addition, if a bookdealer indicates that something is a particular edition, include that information in a note, not in the Edition Area. 


The area of publication is another critical area for identification of an item. Transcribe in full the publication statement as it appears on the work, including all places and publishers. In many cases explanatory information can be provided in brackets (i.e., modern place names). Corrections can also be provided in brackets, with the addition of an explanatory note.


Use both |e Relator term (spelled out, not abbreviated) and |4 Relator code in our 7XX fields. The relator term will describe the relationship between the personal or corporate name and the item (for example, illustrator, engraver, lithographer). The relator code is a three-character code that indicates the relationship of the entry to the item. We will always use ill in the $4 field. See USMARC Code List-Relator Codes-Term Sequence for more information. 

Printers Added entries for printers will be created on a case-by-case basis. Use appropriate relator terms and codes. (see Illustrator sample above) This decision is made by the curator pre-cataloging.


NOTE: Use 655 7 Fantasy fiction. ǂ2 gsafd (or another heading if more appropriate).

    • Also, if appropriate [a few titles seem not to be science fiction], use LCSH: Science fiction, American [English, etc.]
  • Anthologies:
    • Always create enhanced contents note (505 00); see OCLC MARC field help for how to format this note.
    • Analyze contents (700 author/title entries) for authors whose collections are in SCRC. See attached list. Do not add local note referencing the manuscript collection for these.
  • OCLC has a constant data record to cover the main fields, subjects, notes, etc; use this a a starting point to enhance the record.
  • Preservation
    • Items that are in good shape:
      • Write call number at bottom of the bookplate.
      • Place in the new materials to be shelved range
      • Remove the In process item status.
    • Place on conservation truck:
      • Items with loose pages or bindings.
      • Item lackings a bookplate.
  • Statistics : use 2 948 fields (no piece count needed):
    • Count as items with existing SUMMIT records as Titles recatalogued.
    • Count items lacking SUMMIT records as Titles retrospectively converted.
    • Count all items as Titles reclassified (more accurately classified)


  Vol. 1: xx, 202 p.; v. 2: xiv, 154 p.
    • Record the number of leaves of pages of plates at the end of the sequences of pagination:
      • 246 p., [24] leaves of plates
      • x, 250 p., 12 pages of plates
  • Indicate the presence of publisher’s advertisements if they are integral to the publication:
    • 124 p. / 500 note: Publisher’s advertisements on p. 119-124.
    • 121, [3] / 500 note: Publisher’s advertisements on [3] p. at end.
    • 124, 8 p. / 500 note: Publisher’s advertisements on p. 1-4, 2nd sequence.
  • Make a local note for publisher's advertisements not integral to the publication:
    • Library copy has publisher's catalog on an additional 8 p. at end.
  • Simple binding descriptions in 590 notes:
    • Bound in half leather and marbled paper over boards.
    • Bound in embossed brown cloth, stamped in gold on spine.
    • Bound in leather.
    • Rebound in buckram (use as appropriate for obviously rebound items)
    • Library's copy as issued in buff paper wrappers.
    • Library's copy formerly bound (for items clearly disbound, with traces of glue and other binding remnants on spine)
  • Include local notes about imperfections:
    • Library's copy lacks wrappers.
    • Library's copy imperfect: all pages after 153 are missing.
  • Provenance notes (590)
    • Include all legible names found in item and indicate if these are from bookplates, inscriptions, ink stamps, pasted on labels, etc.
      • Mrs. Robert Hughes, Cazeonvia (autograph); J. W. Jones Esq. (bookplate); Marcellus Public Library (ink stamp) etc and etc. Generally use a single note unless there is something lengthy.
      • Practice has varied about whether to indicate where this data appears. Reording names is more important than where the stamp or writing is located.
  • Subject analysis.
    • Topical, geographical, or name subject headings are needed if appropriate.
    • Always add:


Serials in SCRC: enhancements to records. 


The basic guideline is to catalogue serials as serials, even if we own only a single issue, or, only 1 issue was ever published. Annual publications--proceedings, directories, reports--are catalogued as serials (there are many DCRB, or, DCRM-B records for annual issues treated as monographs on OCLC). Do not use these records; if we have monographic records for other issues, retrieve them from the stacks and catalogue the run as a serial.


  • For serials, see:
  • For multi-part monographs, see:



Currently there are macros to aid in the production of shelflist cards and book flags.Shelf lists are created locally at time of cataloging. Shelf list cards will contain: Call number, Author, Title, Publisher name, date, and Catalog ID number. Specific 590 fields may be added to provide information about a specific copy. Flags are created locally at time of cataloging. 

Fund Codes to be included in a 590 note


Add other funds as necessary to complete the list.


==SCRC call numbers== Draft, rev. 24o05


  • Do not use PZ classification.
  • Use literary author numbers when these have been established for an author (see 053 in name authority records).
  • Use literary author numbers for authors with established author numbers in SCRC collections.
  • Create local literary author number for works of fiction by authors lacking them; add number to name authority record.
  • If the illustrator has an established illustrator number (NC975) and is deemed the primary contributor, base call number on the illustrator.
  • Use subject-based call numbers for non-fiction works by authors not falling into categories above.


Other situations:

US cartoonists: NC1429


Peace (pamphlets, sermons, lectures, moral and ethical aspects): use JX1963

    • LC has discontinued this call numbers; items in SCRC clustered here.

Call numbers for copies

Call number are used to differentiate between copies. The local practice is to add information after the year to explain the difference. Examples: