Policies

UIUC Rare Book Cataloging Policy

Workflow Procedures

Mellon Cataloging Project, 2006-2009

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 catalog 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 book 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. Take the next book in the line of uncataloged items from the Mellon Project book cart.
  2. Examine book briefly; in particular, note whether it contains two or more separate works bound together, which then will have to be cataloged individually.
  3. Search Voyager to see whether another copy of that work (in the same edition, etc.) already exists in the collection.
  4. Search ESTC if the book fits the parameters of that database.
  5. Search OCLC to find a record that matches the item exactly. If one is found...
  6. Export that record to Voyager and save it to the database.
  7. Edit the record you have exported into Voyager, making all necessary corrections, additions, or deletions.
  8. If a matching record for the item was not found in OCLC, create an original bibliographic record for it and export that to Voyager.
  9. When the bib record in Voyager is complete, create a MFHD (Holdings Record) and save it to the database.
  10. Attach a barcode sticker to the shelfmark flag; then create an Item Record and save it to the database.
  11. Mark the volume.
  12. Return book to the cart, placing it correctly into the numerical sequence of finished items.
  13. Make an item folder if necessary.

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