UIUC Rare Book Cataloging Policy

Workflow Procedures

Updated August 2015

Creating bibliographic records for rare books is something of an art. Like all cataloging, it requires close attention to detail and a thorough understanding of the cataloging rules we follow, as well as adherence to the basic tenet that underlies all good cataloging: its goal is to facilitate access to the physical items, the individual works, and the knowledge, information, and ideas within those works that are represented by the bibliographic records we create. In addition, rare book cataloging requires that we acquire some knowledge of the features unique to rare books, because this will affect the nature of the bibliographic records created for this type of material. Users of rare books often want to examine the book itself as an artifact which has inherent value, making it important to provide an extremely accurate bibliographic record and to record in it the unique physical characteristics of the specific item in hand.

The basic procedures to be followed when working on this project are outlined briefly below. Further information about these steps and the resources to be used in completing them will follow in more detailed form.

Essentially, you will follow these steps:

  1. Examine the book to be cataloged; watch out for those which contain two or more separate works bound together, each of which then will have to be cataloged individually.
  2. Search Voyager to see whether another copy of that work (in the exact same edition, printing, size, etc.) already exists in the collection. If so, treat the book in hand as an added copy.
  3. Search the appropriate database, such as ESTC, ISTC, EDIT 16, or a national library catalog such as SBN.
  4. Search OCLC to find an English-language catalog record that matches the item exactly. If one is found...
  5. Export that record to Voyager and save it to the database OR edit it in OCLC before exporting.
  6. Edit the record you have exported into Voyager, making all necessary corrections, additions, or deletions.
  7. If a matching record for the item was not found in OCLC, create an original bibliographic record for it in OCLC and then export that to Voyager.
  8. When the bib record in Voyager is complete, create a MFHD (Holdings Record) and save it to the database.
  9. Attach a barcode sticker to the shelf-mark flag; then create an Item Record and save it to the database.
  10. Mark the volume as instructed in the Marking Procedures document.
  11. Make an item folder if necessary.

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