USM Libraries Rare Book Cataloging Procedures



Rare books are those items published before 1825, published under a Confederate imprint (1861-1865) or identified by the de Grummond curator as a "rare book" based on the item's value as an artifact and unique qualities. Rare books are cataloged according to AACR2r and full DCRB, deferring to DCRB when rules differ.


General Punctuation

Use ISBD punctuation, making no attempt to retain original title page punctuation. If copy cataloging from a record with double punctuation, retain but verify. (0E, DCRB)



I/J and U/V- Seek internal verification of use of i/j and u/v if words appear in all capitals on the title page. For example, do not transcribe a "u" as a "v" in the 245 if the printer uses u's on the text pages. Retain the "v" in a 246 (other title).

Ligatures- Never transcribe ligatures ( ) unless the document is in Anglo-Saxon. Use their modern counterparts, ae, oe, etc. (0H, DCRB)

Accent marks- Do not add accents that do not appear on the title page. This rule is valid even if the words are printed in all capitals (which generally do not have accent marks).

Transcribe small e's over letters as umlauts and small circles over letters as small circles. (App. B, AACR2)



|e dcrb


130 Uniform title entries (130/240)

Make a uniform title when the title proper begins with non-title information (25.2A, AACR2).

    240 0 Paradise lost.
    245 10 John Milton's Paradise lost / |c by John Milton.


245 Title/Statement of responsibility

Main entry spelling transcribed exactly from the title page. Verify the lowercase usage of I/J, U/V from the main text of the item. Create an added title for modernized spellings. (0H, 0G, DCRB)

    245 00 Herein the faythfulle & accrate tayle
    246 3 Herein the faithful & accurate tale
    246 3 Herein the faithful and accurate tale


250 Edition statements

Do not abbreviate or convert to Arabic numbers any edition statement that appears on the title page (transcribe exactly). Abbreviate only if statement comes from another source within the text or from references.


260 Publication Information

|a Transcribe place of publication exactly as it appears on title page
|b List all publishers and printers. Address information is optional, but use mark of omission if not included.
|c Transcribe dates in roman numerals, following with Arabic date in square brackets. (4D2, DCRB)

    London : |b Swans Books … , |c MDCCLX. [1760]
    (Note: omitted "at the two swans.")


300 Physical description

|a Record total number of pages whether numbered or not. Identify the existence of blank pages in 300 unless they occur internally in the text, then identify in signatures. (5B1, DCRB)
|b Specify number of illustrations if feasible. Illustration methods will only be identified if obvious or identified clearly in Bamber Gascoigne's How to Identify Prints (1986).
|c Measure to the nearest millimeter for books less than 10 cm tall.

    300 v, 229 p., 12 leaves of plates : |b ill. (woodcuts) ; |c 80 mm. (4to)
    300 2 v. in 1 ; |c 13 cm. (12mo)

    300 2 v. : |b ill. (copper plate engravings) ; |c 23 cm. (8vo)
    500 Vol. 1: [4], 235 p., [5] folded leaves of plates ; v. 2: 345, 12 p.


500 General notes

Include signatures for all incunabula. (7C9, DCRB)
Note any omissions or transpositions from t.p. (except quotations, poems). (1B1, DCRB)
Provide pagination specifics
Signature notes (if creating original, Unicorn cannot handle all superscripts, so do use locally)


510 Bibliographic citations

Refer to national bibliographies and cite according to Standard Citation Forms for Rare Book Cataloging. For Confederate imprints, use Marjorie Crandall and Richard B. Harwell's Confederate Imprints, 1861-1865. Refer to A.S.W. Rosenbach's Early American Children's Books for children's literature.


590 Copy specific details

  • Transcribe autographs or inscriptions.
  • Note any unusual characteristics of the item in hand (binding, damage, etc.).
  • Use 590 to record provenance. List only what is known from the item or available and confirmed in donor file.

      590 McCain Library & Archives copy imperfect: wanting all but v. 2.
      590 McCain Library & Archives copy: Bound in calf leather with gold-tooled spine and decorative endpapers.
      590 McCain Library & Archives copy: author presentation copy with extensive
      marginalia by Cleanth Brooks.

650 Subject Access

  • One or two subject terms may be applied to works of non-fiction with the form sub-field "Early works to 1800."
  • Subject terms will be added for fiction works only for broad terms that reflect overall themes that can be determined through examination of work for other areas of description.
  • Use genre headings to describe format/type of item.

      650 0 Science |v Early works to 1800.
      650 0 Science |v Juvenile literature.

655 Genre/Form Access

  • Specifies kind of material. When adding |y and |z, prefer the date/location of the actual event rather than the date/location of the printing/publication.
  • Generally, only subdivide terms from the genre thesaurus.
  • Always include |5 MUS at the end of term strings in 655 to express copy specific information except when using the genre thesaurus.

      655 7 Juvenile literature |z Germany |y 18th century. |2 rbgenr
      655 7 Leather bindings (Binding) |2 rbbin |5 MUS

700 Personal name added entries

  • Make tracings for all printers, publishers, and booksellers indicated on the item with appropriate relator terms. All illustrators will be traced if named in the work.
  • If a person performs more than one responsibility, repeat the entry with different relator terms.

      700 1 Smith, Jacob P., |e ill.
      700 1 Smith, Jacob P., |e printer.


740 Added title entries

Make analytical entries for other titles in the work if authors are different and section is listed on the title page or evidence available that works were published separately or if there is no collective title. (1E1, 1E2, DCRB)


752 Place of Publication Access

Include 752 for hierarchical representation of place of publication to assist with searches by place. (see p. 23 for common translations from Latin or


    260 A Londini : |b Swans Books, |c MDCCXCI. [1791]
    752 England |d London.

    260 A la Haye
    752 Netherlands |d Hague. (note: not The Hague)


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