General Introduction

These guidelines, which apply to books and scores, deal with the following related issues:

  1. Whether a bibliographic record in OCLC or TULANET can be considered a match to the piece in hand for the purposes of downloading a record from OCLC into TULANET or of cataloguing or adding an item. (Covered in Part I.) In particular, it focusses on the more problematic areas, namely:

    The decision made may affect whether an item is handled with copy cataloguing or original cataloguing, as well as whether an item is added to an existing record or treated as a new title in the collection. A general principle that applies currently is that, in cases of doubt, an existing record in OCLC should be used rather than inputting a new record into OCLC. When working on adds, in cases of doubt prefer adding to an existing catalogued TULANET record rather than cataloging the item as a new title.

  2. If multiple bib records are available for a given title, which record to prefer.  (See Part I)

  3. Once an appropriate bib record has been selected (if one is available), how the 250, 260, 300, and 4xx/8xx fields of the record should be edited.  (See Part II)

Please note that, as this area involves perhaps some of the most vexed problems in cataloguing, the points made here cover general guidelines only and do not attempt to list every situation in detail -- particularly not when combinations of problems are involved, which is often the case. For further guidelines, you may consult the chapter in OCLC's Bibliographic Formats and Standards entitled "When to Input a New Record."  If you have any questions, it is safest to check with your trainer or with the principal cataloguer.

Since the national and local rules for matching editions have changed considerably over the years (as have the rules for the inclusion and presentation of information that would help you to decide whether or not a record is a match), these guidelines have not been consistently applied in the past, so the TULANET database is full of holdings that contradict them. It is not generally necessary to apply these guidelines retrospectively by making certain items adds that were previously catalogued as separate editions -- unless doing so helps to clear up a problem.

Part I.

Matching editions:  Selecting the best matching record


Please note:  Sections I.A through I.F apply to single-volume titles.  For multivolume titles, see section I.G.  References are also provided to related sections on editing in Part II.

This part of the document (sections I.A-F) is broken down by element of a bib record or piece. While the discussion and examples focus on individual elements separately, in practise a given problem may involve more than one problematic aspect, so you may find yourself trying to balance the guidelines for the different elements. In some cases, it may be clear that one element involves clear-cut criteria and therefore "outweighs" another more ambiguous one. For example, a difference in publisher or numbered English edition statement represents a clear-cut difference in edition; pagination and series are somewhat more flexible; and dates and foreign edition statements are frequently ambiguous. Thus, as an example, a record with the same publisher but slightly different pagination would be preferred over one with identical pagination but a different publisher. There is a limit, however, to how much one can generalise in such situations. Whenever you are in doubt as to how to apply or balance these guidelines, be sure to ask.

When working with CIP records (DLC/CIP or NLC/CIP), previous CIP records, or UKM records, you may use some extra leeway in applying the criteria for matching listed below, since some information in the records may be erroneous.

You should also be aware that some records may have been merged or modified in ways that alter critical matching information. If you have evidence that this has taken place, check with your trainer before using the record.

Go to Document sections

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

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WORKING DOCUMENT 29 April 1994; rev. 24 January 1995

HTML document last reviewed:  15 November 1999