Editions and Printings:  Matching Editions

Part I. D.


(See also Part II.B.2, on editing dates)

Document sections

General notes
Part I. D. 1.Significant dates
Part I. D. 2.Possibly significant dates
Part I. D. 3.Dates that do not matter
Part I. D. 4.Nature vs appearance of date

General notes

Dates are perhaps the most complex area to analyse when considering whether a record matches the piece.  Differences in the actual date of publication are significant.  The problem is that dates may appear as publication dates, copyright dates, or printing dates, and that, depending on the situation, any of these types of dates may or may not represent the actual publication date.  Therefore, it may be a challenge to determine whether a given date is significant.  Complications result from ambiguous presentation in the piece, the fact that these types of dates often occur in combination, and changes in cataloguing rules over the years.

If there is a question about matching dates:  For new titles, OCLC and TULANET should be searched (or re-searched), while for adds, at least TULANET should be searched.  All records that are possible candidates for a match should be carefully reviewed.  Other factors being equal, the record with the earliest acceptable date(s) is preferred.  Please note that quality of cataloguing copy is not a factor.

An important caveat is that the significant date(s) in the 260 $c subfield cannot be later than the date(s) in the piece; in other words, you can move backward in time from a date in the piece that is not considered significant, but you cannot move forward.  For example, if your piece has a U.S. copyright date of 1935 and a later printing date of 1942, you may use a record with a copyright date of 1935.  On the other hand, you could not use a record with a copyright date of 1946.

One exception involving copyright dates:  If you have only a copyright date in your piece, but you have reason to believe that the actual date of publication was later than that copyright date, you may move forward in time to use a record with a later bracketed publication date.  (See "Copyright dates:  Exceptions" for examples.)

Since simple printing dates are not considered significant, a 260 $g printing date does not affect matching even if it is later than any date in your piece.

Cataloguers (including adds cataloguers) who are trained to detect printing dates:  If you can determine that a date in the 260 $c subfield of a record is simply a printing date, you may disregard that date for matching purposes and instead match based on any significant date (such as a copyright date).  (Cf. Part II.B.2, section on editing printing dates.)

E.g.      T.p.:  1903

            T.p. verso:  c1898

            260 $c 1905, c1898

            We already have copy 1 on this "1905" record.  Comparing the pieces, you can tell that they are simply
            different printings of the same edition.

            The ideal matching record for both copies would be an 1898 record.  If there is no 1898 record, you
            may use this "1905" record, deleting the 1905 date.

However, when in doubt, it is safer to consider dates significant and not disregard them.

In the examples below, the "ideal" record in terms of matching dates is indicated together with acceptable alternatives, provided that everything else matches.  Again, if you have any questions, it is safest to check with your trainer or with the principal cataloguer.

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  1. Significant dates

    Dates associated with genuine edition statements
    Copyright dates, unaccompanied or with printing date only

    The following types of dates are significant and must match for the record to be a match (unless you suspect an error):

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  2. Possibly significant dates

    Title-page dates
    Printing dates as only dates
    Dépôt légal/depósito legal dates
    Corrected dates

    The following types of dates may or may not be significant, depending on the context:

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  3. Dates that do not matter

    Printing dates accompanying publication or copyright dates Copyright dates for parts
    Copyright dates accompanying publication dates CIP dates
    Copyright renewal dates Missing dates

    The following categories generally do not matter for matching purposes:

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  4. Nature vs appearance of date

    The nature of the date -- not its appearance -- is a factor in matching.  Wherever and however it appears, if the piece has an actual publication date, it should match the date in the record.  The way in which the date is presented in the record does not matter; it may be represented with or without brackets, as an explicit publication date, a copyright date, or a bracketed inferred publication date based on a printing date.  (Cf. Part II.B.2, on editing dates.)

    E.g.      A piece that states "First Canadian edition 1992" can be matched with a record with 260 $c c1992.

    E.g.      A piece with "New and expanded edition 1954" can be matched with a record with 260 $c [1954]

    E.g.      A piece with "c1983 ... Primera edición 1983; 2a edición 1983 ... depósito legal 1983" can be
                matched with a record with 260 $c 1983, 260 $c c1983, or 260 $c [1983].

    E.g.      A piece with "Zweite, vermehrte und verbesserte Auflage 1977" can be matched with a record
                with 260 $c 1977 or 260 $c [1977].

    E.g.      A piece with no publication-related date, no preface date, and no other visible date can be matched
                with a record with 260 $c [1873], 260 $c 1874, or 260 $c [1878].  You would probably need
                to weigh other factors to decide which of these records to prefer.

Go to Document sections

Part I. Introduction
Part I. A.Edition statements Part I. E.Physical description
Part I. B. Places of publication Part I. F. Series statements
Part I. C. Publishers Part I. G.Multivolume titles
Part I. D.Dates Part I. H.Photocopies and microforms of books

HTML document last reviewed:  24 January 2000