Library of Congress

Program for Cooperative Cataloging

The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > CONSER > Cataloging Issues > Recently asked questions: LC's Copy Cataloging Policy for Serials

Classification & Sujbect Headings

What changes might we see in the assignment of full LC call numbers (050 00)? Will LC be making no changes whatsoever to existing 6XXs, other than to correct typographical errors?

LC cataloging staff will verify all subject headings (These are 6XX fields with a second indicator of zero (e.g. 651 _0) against the OCLC authority for an authority record and will compare the headings against the 050 to ensure that the class number appears to synchronize with the subject headings.

LC cataloging staff will not perform further verification on copy cataloging work, such as addressing the appropriateness of pre-existing subject headings.  LC cataloging staff will only correct obvious typos and egregiously misleading errors, i.e., 1) they result in seriously misleading description (e.g., someone might regard the item to be a different one were a change not made); and/or 2) they might result in seriously misleading access (e.g., the item is classified under a number for a Austria when the item is about Australia). 

How will LC copy catalogers deal with those contributed records with no LC classification number?

If an LC classification number coded as field 050 14 is present, LC cataloging staff will verify that it matches at least one of the 6XX’s on the record.  If no 050 is present, the subject headings will be searched in Minaret (LC’s shelflist) to see if a class number has been used for at least one of the subject headings which can then be used as a call number for the title in hand.

How will LC's copy catalogers treat cutter numbers? Will cutter numbers be accepted as is? Will there be any attempt to achieve consistency in cuttering for related serial titles? Will there be any attempt to classify together, when appropriate, publications entered under the same issuing body (Cf. SCM: Classification)?

Copy cataloging does not include shelflisting. LC will and must continue to shelflist titles to fit appropriately within its own collection. As is the policy already, LC may or may not use the existing cutter assigned by another institution, depending on its correctness within LC's own shelflist.

Since subject headings found on copy will not be judged on their appropriateness, can we imply as well that subject headings on these records will not be judged as to their individual or collective thoroughness, completeness, or currency?

LC will accept classification and subject headings unless "egregiously" wrong.  The subject headings will be verified in the OCLC authority for an authority record.

What will be done if the record contains no LCSH heading?  Will LC copy catalogers ever contribute additional LC subject headings to these records?

When subject headings are not present, the encoding level will be set to "7" for minimal level material.  The title will be routed to a subject specialist for completion.

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What will LC's policy be with regard to CONSER-authenticated minimal-level records?

Records with encoding level 7 and coded msc will be referred to professional catalogers for creation of authority records. Records coded "msc" will be changed to "lcd" after authority work is complete. 

Where will "lccopycat" fit into the 042 authentication code hierarchy? Will "lccopycat" be higher or lower than "msc"?  Or will "lccopycat" be present in addition to another code such as "lcd" or "msc"?  How should the cataloger who performs subsequent maintenance on one of these records treat the "lccopycat" in the 042?

Code "lccopycat" is considered lower than "msc."  LC will not pair the code "lccopycat" with any other code. LC will not change "msc" records to "lccopycat."  Records with code "lccopycat" may be upgraded to "lcd" by CONSER catalogers when verifying description according to CONSER standards

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Will these "lccopycat" records meet the current versions of our basic cataloging standards, AACR2, the LCRIs, MARC21, the CEG, and the CCM?

In 2001, as an aid to arrearage reduction in the monograph teams and with the strong support of the Director for Cataloging, CPSO developed the Interim Options for Processing Backlog of Materials.   These guidelines are intended to save staff time by employing the stated objective of copy cataloging as "do no harm."   This approach emphasizes ensuring that the description reflects the item such that an observer of the record can determine whether it fits the item he has in hand; and, fits the access point headings within the relevant authority files.  It is the intention of the Serial Record Division to adopt as much as possible these guidelines for copy cataloging while still meeting the minimum standards applied within the CONSER Program.

LC's new copy cataloging policy centers around validity of existing data in records, especially in unauthenticated records, which cannot be verified by the piece(s) in hand.  LC catalogers will assume that information which cannot be factually substantiated is correct.  Only data that can be proven to be factually incorrect will be deleted from or corrected in records.  Additionally, LC catalogers will correct obvious typos but will not rearrange, reword, or change existing data to conform to stylistic preferences used in original cataloging.  Under the new philosophy we are adopting, it is considered more harmful to delete information–which may in fact be correct–than to leave in such data which cannot be proven to be wrong. 

What practices will copy catalogers at LC follow with regard to descriptive cataloging as it exists in non-CONSER copy?

LC will no longer authenticate any copy at the fuller "lc" level, nor will these records be examined in depth to see if they "qualify" for authentication at the fuller level.  Some non-CONSER copy records will not conform to AACR2, LCRIs, MARC21, or CONSER standards.

What will the LC copy cataloger do when encountering, for example, pre-AACR2 copy?  And, how will the LC copy catalogers treat minimal-level (i.e., "K" level) contributed records?  Does LC have any method in mind for identifying foreign language records that are seriously off-the-mark in either description, subject analysis, or both, and routing the cataloging to staff members more familiar with the language of the material than was the cataloger who contributed the original version of the OCLC record?

Pre-AACR2 records will routed to professional catalogers for completion.

Minimal level records requiring subject headings will be authenticated "lccopycat". If LC selection requests full-cataloging, the piece is forwarded to SRD's subject shelves for SRD subject analysis. In this case the subject analysis will be at a fuller level than the description, but the 042 will not be modified.

LC professional catalogers will perform copy cataloging on titles in non-Roman alphabets, when technician skills in those languages are lacking. Titles that require more in-depth cataloging knowledge for authentication will be routed to a professional cataloger. These include:

  • Duplicate records found during searching
  • Title changes represented by an unauthenticated record
  • Questions of serial versus monograph
  • copy that is seriously off the mark in description and subject analysis

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Will choice of main entry on contributed copy be evaluated?  Will there be any effort to ensure that all appropriate main and added entries have been included?  Will standards for inclusion and form of uniform titles be followed?

Choice of main entry will not be changed unless a uniform title is needed.   Needed access points will be added from the issues in hand.  LC cataloging staff will determine if a uniform title main entry makes the record unique.  If not, a cataloger will set up the uniform title according to the standards for establishing a uniform title.

Will the presence, accuracy, and completeness of the fixed fields 008, 006, and 007 meet CONSER standards?

LC will look at the 008, 006, and 007 to make sure the coding here matches the piece.

Will the LC copy cataloger back up a description when that would be appropriate?  Will the LC copy cataloger bring a description up to date when he/she has more recent issue(s)?  When LC has a later (or earlier) issue(s) for the title as described, will LC perform maintenance on the authenticated record?

Fields1XX through the 830 fields will be compared with the piece in hand. 

LC will update records to add elements needed for identification or access when the resource has changed.  LC will not redescribe, or "back up" a description. LC staff will add a latest issue consulted (LIC) note or change an existing LIC to a later issue in hand and edit/add notes to indicate changes in bibliographic data elements, e.g. change in publisher or issuing body. 

Will LC catalogers be checking for the existence of online versions of print publications, so that such information might be added to the existing record (which in its existing state might pre-date the existence of an online version)?

LC follows the single-record approach of providing access to e-serials with print counterparts except in the following situations: 1) print counterpart has ceased; 2) LC discards or does not have the print counterpart, 3) print counterpart is for a USNP record.  Usually, a 530 note: "Also available in electronic format" and the URL of the online version are added to the print record along with any links and added entries.

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Extent of the Resource

When the LC cataloger has a different extent of the resource than did the library that contributed the existing copy will the authenticated "lccopycat" record reflect the combined extent of the resource?

LC staff will not correct notes, in general, nor reformat notes to match LC’s stylistic preferences for original cataloging; however, they will edit and/or add to existing notes as bibliographic data elements change, e.g. change in publisher or issuing body.  Since the addition of a "description based on" note would require redescription, LC staff will not add this note, when lacking in a copy cataloging record, to "lccopycat" authenticated records; however, LC staff will add "latest issue consulted" notes.

In those cases where a new record has been input title change, will the need for that new record be evaluated according to current versions of AACR2 and the LCRIs? Similarly, will LC copy catalogers be evaluating the appropriateness of serial cataloging (versus monograph cataloging) for a particular resource?

Titles that require more in-depth cataloging knowledge for authentication will be routed to a professional cataloger. These include:

  • Duplicate records found during searching
  • Title changes represented by an unauthenticated record
  • Questions of serial versus monograph
  • copy that is seriously off the mark in description and subject analysis


Will there be an effort to ensure that all appropriate linking entries have been included, that they are correct in form, fully subfielded, and that reciprocal linking fields on corresponding records have been added?

Linking fields for earlier or later titles will be provided.  Other linking fields and notes will be included when they are necessary for identification and/or retrieval.

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