Cataloging Glossary


Anglo-American Cataloging Rules 2nd edition, 2002 revision plus updates.

Access point
A name, term, code, etc., under which a bibliographic record may be searched and identified.

Added entry
An alternate heading or title by which an item is represented in a catalog; a secondary heading. See also Main entry.
A type of entry (record) for a work published as part of a monographic series is a bibliographic record, which is created using the unique title on the individual piece or pieces as the title proper.


Notes, charts, tables, lists, or other detailed information that follow the main text of a book.

A major section of the bibliographic description, comprising data of a particular category or set of categories. See also Element.


An acronym for "American Standard Code for Information Interchange." A standard for defining codes for information exchange between equipment produced by different manufacturers. ASCII defines a specific set of alphanumeric characters, punctuation, and a few control characters (such as a carriage return).

Authority Control
Maintenance of established headings, both within an Authority file and within bibliographic files of library catalogs through the creation of one standard form of a name or word under which a person or concept can be indentified and searched within a catalog. Also involves the creation of cross-reference names or terms .

Authority File 
A list of records for authorized headings used as access points in bibliographic records, also includes documentation justifying the form of the headings, and cross references to link common variant forms.

Authority Record
Includes the established form of a name or word that is used as an access point in a library catalog, as well as cross-references from other names or terms and documentation justifying the form of the heading.


The monographic bibliographic record component of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging.

Bibliographic Control
The process of managing library materials by creating surrogate records of descriptive information for each item and indexing them for retrieval.

Bibliographic Utilities
Common term for OCLC, RLIN, and WLN, the three major shared cataloging databases

Bibliographic record

The description of a discrete item, such as a book, a videorecording, or a serial. Machine-readable forms of bibliographic records are stored in and retrieved from automated online catalogs, either locally or nationally via the Internet, or magnetic tape provided by a vendor.

Lists sources used by the author in creating a work such as a book. Also may list additional sources on important subjects covered in the text.


1. A database of library material contained in a collection, a library, or a group of libraries, arranged according to specific rules. Access to the database may be provided in a print book of records, a traditional card file, on microform, or electronically via an OPAC.
2. In a wider sense, a database of materials prepared for a particular purpose (e.g., an exhibition catalog, a sales catalog).

Cataloging Source 
Agency or institution responsible for the creation of the bibliographic record. Represented in USMARC record by field 008, position 39, and field 040, which gives NUC codes for the catalog agency, transcribing agency, and any agencies that modify the record.


Cataloging Micro Enhancer for Windows software. Windows-based cataloging software that allows library personnel to retrieve records, edit records, and process OCLC transactions in batch mode or interactively while logged on to the OCLC Cataloging service.

Chief source of information

The location from which bibliographic data may be taken in the construction of a bibliographic record (or portion thereof). Examples of the chief source are the title page of a book, the title screen of a video, or the title screen from a computer software product.


Cataloging in Publication- a program of the Library of Congress to make partial cataloging information available for items before they are published. This information generally appears on the t.p verses.

Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.  Stands for the brief name for the RLG project to enable cataloging of these language items.


A system of assigning letters and/or numbers to books in order to collate items covering similar subject areas. Two prominent classification systems in the United States: LC - Library of Congress classification system developed at the largest library in the country, the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and is composed of alphanumeric strings; DDC-Dewey Decimal System.

Collective title

The title proper for an item containing several individual works, such as essays or poems. “The collected works...” is a good example of a collective title.


A statement at the back or end of an item giving information about one or more of the following: the title, author(s), publisher, printer, date of publication or printing.

1.One who creates or produces a collection by selecting and putting together matter from the works of various persons or bodies.
2. One who selects and puts together in one publication matter from the works of one person or body.
Compilers are not listed as main entries.

Component Part or Accompanying material.
An item that is physically part of a larger item (called the host item), and can be described by an analytic entry.

Conversion of serials.  A nationwide cooperative retrospective and prospective conversion project, based on OCLC and managed by OCLC for most of its life, building a large database of serials records and, more recently, adding abstracting and indexing information to those records.

Content designator
A code (such as a tag, indicator, or subfield) that identifies the nature of a particular data element in a record.

Control number

A unique sequential number supplied by the system to each new bibliographic record when it is entered into the online catalog.

A cooperative framework for the sharing of metadata allowing integration of Marc and Dublin Core into a single system.

Corporate body

An organization or group of persons that is identified by a particular name and that acts, or may act, as an entity. Typical examples of corporate bodies are associations, institutions, business firms, nonprofit enterprises, governments, government agencies, religious bodies, local churches, and conferences. Corporate bodies may be main headings, added headings or subjects in a catalog record.

Copy Cataloging
Incorporating an existing bibliographic record that was created by another cataloging agency into the local catalog from a bibliographic utility's database and either accepting as is or editing the record.

Copy Holdings 
In it is listed each copy owned, in process, or on order.  Also in the copy holdings records is an item's location, call number, linkages to order and circulation records, date of cataloging, and type of cataloging.


Legal document that the item's contents are the property of the author or publisher.  Usually appears on the verso of the title page of a book

Copy-Specific Information
Details that apply only to a single copy of an item, as opposed to bibliographic data (normally applicable to all copies of an edition). This type of information should only be cited in a bibliographic record in a local field (e.g., 590).

Cover title
A title printed on the cover of an item as issued and not found on the title page of the item.


Dewey Decimal Classification- a system for using numbers to put materials on similar topics together on the shelves, dividing materials into 10 broad main "classes" (main categories), then subdividing the classes into smaller and smaller groups. The top number in the call number on the label of a book is a classification number.


A special character used in conjunction with a subfield code to introduce each subfield in a variable field. Characters may vary in design but typically are a ‡ or $.

Descriptive Analysis
The part of cataloging consisting of bibliographic description and the determination of access points.


Refers to a character or symbol, which has no standard keyboard equivalent, such as â, æ, ç, etc. Because they cannot be represented using a standard keyboard, diacritics are typically stripped from source data during the database building process. The pippin utility program is responsible for stripping/substituting city>place>diacritics.

A set of standard descriptive metadata elements used with web resources to aid in resource discovery. The elements are intended as a starting point for resource description. All elements are optional, and are intended to be extensible to richer descriptive elements when needed. The 15 elements are: title, author/creator, subject/keywords, description, publisher, other contributor, date, resource type, format, resource identifier, source, language, relation, coverage and rights management.


All copies produced from essentially the same type image (whether by direct contact or by photographic or other methods) and issued by the same entity. Intellectual content is unique to the work. Significant variation of the content requires a new edition statement.


One who prepares for publication of an item not his or her own. The editorial work may be limited to the preparation of the item for the manufacturer, or it may include supervision of the manufacturing, revision, (restitution), or elucidation of the content of the item, and the addition of introduction, notes, and other critical matter. In some cases, it may involve the technical direction of a staff or person engaged in creating or compiling the content of the item.

Electronic Resource

A bibliographic format that includes data (information representing numbers, text, graphics, images, maps, moving images, music, sound, etc.), programs (instructions, etc., that process the data for use), or combinations of data and programs.


A word, phrase, or group of characters representing a distinct unit of bibliographic information and forming part of an area of the description.


A bibliographic record of an item in a catalog. See also Heading.

Entry word
The word by which a bibliographic entry is arranged in the catalog, usually the first word (other than an article) of the main heading. See also Heading.


Numbering, as in serial volume and issue numbering.

Extent of item

Description of the number and the specific material designation of the units of the item being described and, in some cases, other indications of the extent (e.g., duration). The first element of the physical description area.

Facsimile reproduction

A reproduction simulating the physical appearance of the original in addition to reproducing its content exactly. See also Reprint.


One or more data elements that form a logical unit. In a bibliographic or metadata record, each tag corresponds to a single field.

Field number

Specification, typically 3 characters, beginning with 001 and ending 999. Synonym for tag.

Field terminator

Ending punctuation.

Fixed field

A field in a machine-readable record in which each element, or unit of data, is limited to a prescribed size, content, and position in the record.


In its widest sense, a particular physical presentation of an item, (e.g. monograph, serial, videorecording, map, computer file, etc.).

Format Integration 
A set of changes that aligns the individual bibliographic formats (such as books, serials, scores, etc.) and combines them into a single USMARC format for bibliographic data.


An illustration preceding the title page of a book and usually on the verso of the half title page.

General material designation

A term indicating the broad class of material to which an item belongs. Indicated in field 245 subfield ‡h (e.g., microfilm, sound recording, electronic resource). See AACR2 for an authorized list of terms.

Half title

A title of a publication appearing on a leaf preceding the title page.


A name, word, or phrase placed at the head of a catalog entry to provide an access point. See also Access point.


An integrated library system, such as SIRSI Unicorn, Endeavor Voyager, Library.Solution or CARL.Solution, integrate the system's modules – acquisitions, cataloging, patron access catalog, and circulation - so they interact together. Therefore, when an item is cataloged, the system, in real-time, displays that item in the library's OPAC and circulation.

The 260 field of a MARC record.  Contains information on place of publication, publisher, and date of publication.


Word-by-word or letter-by-letter lists, in alphabetical order, of important words, names, and places in the text of the book. Usually includes see and see-also references.


A one-digit code that provides information to the computer about a variable field. The presence, meaning, and use of indicators will vary from field to field. Depending on the tag number of the field, either a numeric indicator value or a blank occupies each of the two reserved indicator positions in each field.


A document or set of documents in any physical form that is published, issued, or treated as a single entity, and as such forms the basis for a single bibliographic description.


International Standard Bibliographic Description- an internationally agreed upon framework of cataloging rules for description that states what essential items of information must appear in the bib record, the order in which those items will be given, and the standard punctuation that must be used.

International Standard Book Number, carried in field 020 of the MARC record.

International Standard Serial Number, carried in field 022 of the MARC record, in subfield delimiter x of 76x-78x fields, and sometimes in field 4xx.

Joint author

A person who collaborates with one or more other persons to produce a work in relation to which the collaborators perform the same function. See also Shared responsibility.

Another name for MARC II.  All LC MARC records are USMARC, but most USMARC records are not LC MARC: that is other USMARC records outnumber MARC records generated by the Library of Congress.

Library of Congress Control Number.  Appears in field 010 of the MARC record. LCSH  Library of Congress Subject Headings.


One of the units into which the original sheet or half sheet of paper, parchment, etc. is folded to form part of a book, pamphlet, journal, etc.; each leaf consists of two pages, one on each side, either or both may be blank. The length of items consisting of pages of text on only one side is recorded in leaves.

Line number

The sequential numeric identification assigned by the system to each variable field in a record, appearing directly to the left of the field's tag. Also, the sequential numeric identification assigned to each entry in the display of a multiple record search result.

Machine-readable cataloging

MARC bibliographic information, which is arranged in a prescribed format and on a medium, such as magnetic tape, that allows that information to be read by electronic data processing equipment, such as computers.

Main entry

The primary field of access. Usually the author or in the absence of a responsible person or body, the title of the work.

Main heading
The first part of a subject string that includes one or more subheadings.


An acronym for MAchine-Readable Cataloging.

MARC format

A framework for communicating MAchine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) records, originally developed by the Library of Congress and used by many online systems, such as OCLC. The skeleton onto which the bibliographic information is built.


Description of data. Generally used to refer to a descriptive schema to add in discovery of electronic resources.

Mixed responsibility

A work in which different persons or bodies contribute to the intellectual or artistic content by performing different kinds of activities (e.g., adapting or illustrating a work written by another person). See also Joint author, Shared responsibility.


A nonserial item (i.e., an item either complete in one part or complete, or intended to be completed, in a finite number of separate parts).

Multipart item

A monograph complete, or intended to be completed, in a finite number of separate parts.


Name Authority Cooperative Project.  A cooperative cataloging project established by the Library of Congress.  Participants contribute name, series, geographic and uniform title authority records to the National Authority File.

National Authority File, a list of authoritative headings for persons and corporate bodies produced by the Library of Congress and NACO libraries.

Name-title added entry

An added entry consisting of the name of a person or corporate body and the title of an item. (Field 700 ‡ t )

National Information Standards Organization.  The organization concerned with accreditation of voluntary technical standards for librarianship, publishing, and information science.

Non-filing characters

Typically, articles at the beginning of a title, such as 'a,' 'an,' or 'the' including the space that follows, that are not considered in the alphabetical organization of an item. 'The' would count as 4 non-filing characters (i.e. 3 letters, t h e plus the space).

NUC Code
Unique code that identifies a holding or contributing library in the National Union Catalog and, later, in MARC (or filing) records.  This code appears in field 040.

OCLC Online

The largest shared cataloging service in the U.S.

OLUC Online

Union Catalog. OCLC's database of bibliographic records.


Online Public Access Catalog. A term used to describe any type of computerized library catalog. A database of the library's holdings made available via a computer for users.

Other title information

A title borne by an item that is not the title proper, a parallel title or a series title(s); also any phrase appearing in conjunction with the title proper, etc., indicative of the character, contents, etc., of the item or the motives for, or occasion of, its production or publication. The term includes subtitles, avant-titles, etc., but does not include variations on the title proper (e.g., spine titles, sleeve titles).

PAM BIND is an acid-free binder with a cloth spine reinforcement. Materials such as pamphlets, magazines, reports, manuals, scores, etc. are sewn in Title/author and call number labels are applied in-house to the pamphlet.

Parallel Title 
The title proper in another language and/or script recorded in the title and statement of responsibility area (245 field).

Part 1.
1. One of the subordinate units into which an item has been divided by the author, publisher, or manufacturer. In the case of printed monographs, generally synonymous with volume; it is distinguished from a fascicle by being a component unit rather than a temporary division of a work.
2. As used in the physical description area, "part" designates bibliographic units intended to be bound several to a volume.

PCC Partnership for Cooperative Cataloging

International cooperative effort aimed at expanding access to library collections by providing useful, timely, and cost-effective cataloging that meets mutually-accepted standards of libraries around the world.

Personal author

The person chiefly responsible for the creation of the intellectual or artistic content of a work.


A leaf containing illustrative matter, with or without explanatory text, that does not form part of either the preliminary or the main sequence of pages or leaves.

A site featuring a suite of information sharing tools, forums, chats, search engines, and news, serving as a starting point to the Web/internal service.


The author's discussion of the various aspects of the creation of the book that precedes the text of the work but follows the title page.


The title page(s) of an item, the verso of the title page(s), any pages preceding the title page(s), and the cover.


A name assumed by an author to conceal or obscure his or her identity.

The agency that issued the book and assumed financial responsibility for its manufacture.


1. The right-hand page of a book, usually bearing an odd page number.
2. The side of a printed sheet intended to be read first. Typically, the title page or leaf is a recto page or leaf.

Reference source

Any publication from which authoritative information may be obtained. Not limited to reference works.


1. A new printing of an item made from the original type image, commonly by photographic methods. The reprint may reproduce the original exactly (an impression) or it may contain minor but well-defined variations (an issue).
2. A new publication of an edition with substantially unchanged text.

Retrospective Conversion 
The process of converting bibliographic information from card or book records to computerized records for materials already held in collections before computer cataloging began.  Also known as Retrocon, Recon, Retro, etc.

The Research Libraries Information Network.  The computer support for the database of the RL Group (RLG), and a large shared cataloging service.

Running title

A title, or abbreviated title, that is repeated at the head or foot of each page or leaf.

The Subject Authority Cooperative Program (SACO) provides a means for libraries to submit subject headings and classification numbers to the Library of Congress.


A publication in any medium issued in successive parts bearing numeric or chronological designations and intended to be continued indefinitely. Serials include periodicals, newspapers; annuals (reports, yearbooks, etc.); journals, memoirs, proceedings, transactions, etc., of societies; and numbered monographic series.


1. A group of separate items related to one another by the fact that each item bears, in addition to its own title proper, a collective title applying to the group as a whole. The individual items may or may not be numbered.
2. Each of two or more volumes of essays, lectures, articles, or other writings, similar in character and issued in sequence (e.g. Lowell's Among my books, second series).
3. A separately numbered sequence of volumes within a series or serial (e.g., Notes and queries, 1st series, 2nd series, etc.).

Sine loco (s.l.)
Without place (i.e., the name of the place of publication, distribution, etc., is unknown).

Sine nomine
Without name (i.e., the name of the publisher, distributor, etc., is unknown).

Statement of responsibility

A transcribed listing from the item being described, of the persons responsible for the overall intellectual or artistic content of the item, corporate bodies from which the content emanates, or persons or corporate bodies responsible for the performance of the content of the item.


A subdivision of a variable field containing data logically identifiable as a discrete unit of that field. A typical publication field, for example, has three subfields: place, publisher, and date. Except for subfield "a" at the beginning of a field, each subfield is proceeded by a delimiter ( ‡ ) and a subfield code.

Subfield code

A character, usually lowercase alphabetic or numeric, that identifies the kind of data within a particular subfield.


Part of a corporate or subject string other than the main heading.

Subject Analysis

Determining the focus/focii of the intellectual content of a work and translating it/them into subject headings and assigning an appropriate classification number.

Supplied title

A title provided by the cataloger for an item that has no title proper on the chief source of information or its substitutes. It may be taken from elsewhere in the item itself or from a reference source, or it may be composed by the cataloger.

System Requirements

Minimum hardware/software that a program/system needs to function.

Table of contents

Usually comes at the end of the preliminary material in a book and lists in order the book's main topics or the headings of the individual units and their page numbers.


A three-digit identifier, usually numeric, of a variable field, beginning with 001 and ending with 999.

Tag group

A collection of tags, beginning with the same first digit, that store similar kinds of information and share a similar function within a record. When referring to a tag group, the second and third digits are generally replaced with XX. For example, all tags in the 6XX tag group are subjects.

Tattle Tape 
A magnetic strip placed in each item for security purposes.

Technical services

A functional unit in the library that generally includes cataloging, acquisitions, serials (processing of new materials) and preservations. (May also be called Bibliographic Services)

The main part of the book which contains the intellectual or creative content.

Guide to use of terms, showing relationships between them, for the purpose of providing standardized, controlled vocabulary for information storage and retrieval.


A separately printed page, not part of the print block, that is fixed in position by being pasted to adjacent pages.

A word, phrase, character, or group of characters normally appearing in an item that names the item or the work contained in it.

Title page

A page at the beginning of an item bearing the title proper and usually, though not necessarily, the statement of responsibility, and the data relating to publication. The leaf bearing the title page is commonly called the "title page" although properly called the "title leaf." Use t.p. to abbreviate the term.

Title Proper
The chief name of an item, including any alternative title, but excluding parallel titles and other title information.


1. A record of the headings under which an item is represented in the catalog.
2. A record of the references that have been made to a name or to the title of a item that is represented in the catalog. See also Access points.

Library computer system with access to library catalog, user services, database and archives.

Uniform Title 

A collective title used to collocate publications of the same material produced under various titles or translated into other languages.

The machine-readable cataloging format used in the country-region>place>U.S. Formerly known as LC MARC, MARC II, and MARC.

Software that provides access to NAF and authorized subject headings.

Variable field

A field in a machine-readable bibliographic record that is not limited to a prescribed size, content or position within the record.


1. The left-hand page of a book, usually bearing an even page number.
2. The side of a printed sheet intended to be read second. The verso of the title page shows the official date of publication and where the book was published.


1. In the bibliographic sense, a major division of a work, regardless of its designation by the publisher, distinguished from other major divisions of the same work by having its own inclusive title page, half title, cover title, or portfolio title, and usually independent pagination, foliation, or signatures. This major bibliographic unit may include various title pages and/or pagination.
2. In the material sense, all that is contained in one binding, portfolio, etc., whether as originally issued or as bound after issue. The volume as a material unit may not coincide with the volume as a bibliographic unit.


SIRSI library software featuring wizards that enables library staff to perform acquisitions, cataloging, and circulation tasks.

Z39.50 Protocol

Name of the national standard developed by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) that defines an applications level protocol by which one computer can query another computer and transfer result records, using a canonical format. This protocol provides the framework for OPAC users to search remote catalogs on the Internet using the commands of their own local systems. Projects are now in development to provide Z39.50 support for catalogs on the Internet. SR (Search and Retrieval), ISO Draft International Standard 10162/10163 is the international version of Z39.50.

Sources cited:

Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules. 2nd ed., 1988 rev.

Chicago: American Library Association, 1988.
Wynar, BohdanS. Introduction to Cataloging and Classification.  7th ed., by Arlene G. Taylor. 

Littleton, Colo. : Libraries Unlimited, 1985.

Northwestern University LIbrary Page. 5 May 2002 < /serials/iesca/glossary/cat%20internet.html>.

Compiled by Rezabek, Charlene; edited by Katherine Wong, Elaine Bradshaw, Nedria Santizo, Ila Grice. Page. University of placename>Oklahoma. Retrieved date year="2002" day="3" month="5">3 May 2002. <>.

Stanford University Libraries/Academic Information Resources Page. 4 May 2002 <>.

Glossary of Terms Page. OCLC Online Computer Library Center, Inc. 3 May 2002<>.

LCLS Standards for Cataloging.Lewis & Clark Library System.3 May 2002 <>

The Information Professional's Glossary. University of Arizona. 5 May 2002 <>

Branton, Ann. Home page. 4 May 2002

-- Compiled by Nashaat Sayed; Edited by Suzanne Graham


Bib Services AcquisitionsCatalogingAuthority Control Serials