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CIP Guidelines for Summaries


The CIP Program has always encouraged publishers to include summaries with their application for CIP data as they facilitate subject analysis and other aspects of the cataloging process. These summaries are especially important for juvenile materials as they provide an excellent starting point for catalogers creating summaries that are included in the bibliographic record for juvenile titles. Summaries are also mandatory when publishers provide less than the full galley with their applications. The summaries submitted in these instances do not appear in the bibliographic record but serve as a tool to help in the cataloging process and/or to assist catalogers who create summaries for juvenile titles.

In 2005, however, the CIP Program developed guidelines for those publishers who would like to see the summaries they prepare appear in the catalog record as submitted as well as in the CIP data to be printed in the published book. Those guidelines appear below and are applicable to both adult works and non-fiction juvenile titles. The Children’s and Young Adults’ Cataloging Program provides guidelines on the Publisher Provided Summary Program for juvenile fiction.


The following guidelines are provided to publishers for the submission of publisher-supplied summaries for new adult and non-fiction juvenile works prior to publication.

  • A summary provided by the publisher will be used in the catalog record created by Library of Congress staff and distributed to libraries, book vendors, and bibliographic utilities.
  • The summary will also appear in the CIP data sent to the publisher for inclusion in the printed book.
  • Summaries provided by publishers will not be edited or changed but will be accepted or rejected upon submission based on their compliance with these guidelines.
  • The CIP Program will not accept any summary containing obscene or profane language.
  • The CIP Program will not accept or process change requests for these summaries.
  • The summaries will be clearly attributed to the publisher by quotation marks and the legend "Provided by publisher.
  • The Library of Congress reserves the right to remove a summary provided by the publisher at any time should the summary not fully adhere to the CIP Guidelines for Summaries.

Writing a summary

  • The summary should be brief. A length of no more than fifty (50) words is recommended; often one sentence or phrase is sufficient.
  • The summary should present an unbiased point-of-view and not represent the opinion of the publisher or author. Do not use subjective words or phrases that may be promotional or judgmental – e.g., "best", "most creative", "remarkable".
  • Specific terms, names of people, geographical areas, and time periods should be used in summaries as appropriate.
  • Avoid using words and phrases that indicate the currency of a work, e.g., latest, state-of-the-art, newest, most recent, because summaries will be used for years.
  • Use Standard English and correct English grammar.
  • Do not use profane or obscene language.

Examples of acceptable summaries:

  • A basic introduction to how our bodies perceive taste and smell, exploring such topics as the taste buds, the detection of different tastes, the structure of the nose, and artificial tastes and smells.
  • Discusses the nature and causes of acid rain, its harmful effects, and possible ways to prevent it.
  • Looks at important writings and moments in American history during the Spanish American War, annexation of the Philippines and other territories, and the Industrial Revolution.

Acceptable and unacceptable examples compared:


Compelling narrative laced with first-person accounts from both American and Japanese survivors combines with dramatic archival images and a brief overview to paint a vivid portrait of what it was like to have witnessed, participated in, and lived through the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor that infamous morning of December 7, 1941. Historical photos set the scene. This landmark volume will provide young readers with valuable insights into both the Japanese and American points of view and demonstrate why people on both sides feel the need to remember Pearl Harbor.


Collection of stories told by American and Japanese survivors of the Dec. 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, describing their experiences.

Submitting a summary

Publishers wishing to submit summaries for inclusion in Library of Congress catalog records and willing to comply fully with the CIP Guidelines for Summaries must follow these steps:

  • Use the summary box on the CIP application
  • Enclose entire summary in quotation marks
  • After the closing quotes, label the summary as being publisher-supplied by including this exact text and formatting:

    "[summary]"--Provided by publisher.

  • Note that the text of the summary should not end with a period.

    Example of a summary as placed in the summary box on the CIP application:

    "Presents information regarding online resources in the fields of accounting and finance. Includes Web addresses, descriptions, and reviews"--Provided by publisher.