Understanding catalogue records

Record manager.
When you're working with catalogue records it helps to understand what all the information means, including the technical terms and abbreviations.

Reading a library catalogue record

Your library catalogue is a database. The information about a particular item in a database is called a record. Every item — for example, a book, website or DVD — in your library collection has an associated record, known as a catalogue or bibliographic record.

A catalogue record brings together information that makes it possible to uniquely identify a resource, not only through its title, but also through information added to help teachers and learners find it, such as subject headings or a summary. Each record has standardised fields which describe aspects of that item, including familiar terms such title, author and publisher.

Fields in a Record Manager catalogue record

You'll find the following fields in a Record Manager catalogue record.

If you have any queries about the content of catalogue records, contact a Library Adviser. Phone: 0800 LIBLINE (0800 542 5463).

Field name Description of contents
OCLC number This is the number for this record in the Record Manager database.
Author This records the name of the main writer of the book or the first writer if there is more than 1 author. Some resources have no author. Names of people are formatted following cataloguing standards.
Title This is the information that appears on the title page including the subtitle and any statements about authors, editors, illustrators or others that appear with the title.
Publisher This records the place of publication, name of the publisher and date of publication. This helps to identify specific editions, especially for books that have been published many times by different publishers.
Description This confirms the format of the resource, for example that it's a book. The information for a book includes the number of pages (if they're numbered), the presence of any illustrations and the height of the book.
Dewey This records the Dewey Decimal Classification number. Any extra information in this field indicates the edition of the classification scheme that was used.
ISBN ISBN stands for International Standard Book Number. Books published since 2007 have 13-digit ISBNs, while older titles have 10-digit ISBNs.
LC Subject This shows subject headings taken from a list created by the Library of Congress (LC) and are used to show what the book is about.
Genre/Form This heading is also taken from a list created by the Library of Congress. Genre headings can be added to records describing fiction and non-fiction.
Summary This note provides an outline of the story.
Note Notes provide additional useful information that is not covered by the other parts of the catalogue record.
Other contributor This is where illustrators, and second or third authors are listed. Names of organisations can also appear as contributors.
  • Example of a fiction catalogue record

    This is an example from Record Manager of a bibliographic record for a fiction picture book.

    OCLC number: 662559847
    Author: MacIver, Juliette, 1972-
    Title: Marmaduke Duck and the marmalade jam / written by Juliette MacIver ; illustrated by Sarah Davis.
    Publisher: Auckland, N.Z. : ‡b Scholastic, ‡c 2010.
    Description: Book 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations; 26 cm
    Dewey: NZ823.3 ‡2 22
    ISBN: 9781775430025 (hbk.) 9781869439286 (pbk.)
    LC Subject:
    Children's: Ducks -- Fiction
    Marmalade -- Fiction
    Jam -- Fiction
    Animals -- Fiction
    Cooking -- Fiction
    Stories in rhyme
    Genre heading:
    Children's stories, New Zealand
    Summary: Down in the woods, not far from the sea, Marmaduke Duck found a grapefruit tree. "What luck!" cried the duck. "How lucky I am! I’ll take some and make some marmalade jam." The smell of Marmaduke Duck’s marmalade jam cooking draws a lot of other animals to his river.
    Suggested level: junior.
    Note: Picture story book for children.
    Other contributor: Davis, Sarah, 1971-

    Marmaduke Duck and the marmalade jam — OCLC WorldCat catalogue record

  • Example of a fiction catalogue record

    This is an example from Record Manager of a bibliographic record for a fiction picture book.

    OCLC number: 662559847
    Author: MacIver, Juliette, 1972-
    Title: Marmaduke Duck and the marmalade jam / written by Juliette MacIver ; illustrated by Sarah Davis.
    Publisher: Auckland, N.Z. : ‡b Scholastic, ‡c 2010.
    Description: Book 1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations; 26 cm
    Dewey: NZ823.3 ‡2 22
    ISBN: 9781775430025 (hbk.) 9781869439286 (pbk.)
    LC Subject:
    Children's: Ducks -- Fiction
    Marmalade -- Fiction
    Jam -- Fiction
    Animals -- Fiction
    Cooking -- Fiction
    Stories in rhyme
    Genre heading:
    Children's stories, New Zealand
    Summary: Down in the woods, not far from the sea, Marmaduke Duck found a grapefruit tree. "What luck!" cried the duck. "How lucky I am! I’ll take some and make some marmalade jam." The smell of Marmaduke Duck’s marmalade jam cooking draws a lot of other animals to his river.
    Suggested level: junior.
    Note: Picture story book for children.
    Other contributor: Davis, Sarah, 1971-

    Marmaduke Duck and the marmalade jam — OCLC WorldCat catalogue record

  • Example of a non-fiction catalogue record

    This is an example from Record Manager of a bibliographic record for a non-fiction reference book.

    OCLC number:228632834
    Author: Benson, Michael, 1962-
    Title: Beyond : a solar system voyage / Michael Benson.
    Publisher: New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2009.
    Description: Book 121 pages : illustrations (some color); 29 cm
    Dewey: 523.2 22
    LC Call Number: QB501
    ISBN: 9780810983229
    0810983222
    LC Subject:
    Solar system.
    Solar system --Pictorial works.
    Astronomy.
    Astronomy -- Pictorial works.
    Summary: Presents the solar system from the perspective of the space probes sent to explore the heavens.
    Note:
    The long path to the planets --
    The earth-moon system --
    Venus --
    The sun –-
    Mercury --
    Mars --
    The asteroids --
    The Jupiter system --
    Saturn --
    Uranus –-
    Neptune --
    The future.
    Illustrations on lining papers.

    Beyond: a solar system voyage — OCLC WorldCat catalogue record

  • Example of a non-fiction catalogue record

    This is an example from Record Manager of a bibliographic record for a non-fiction reference book.

    OCLC number:228632834
    Author: Benson, Michael, 1962-
    Title: Beyond : a solar system voyage / Michael Benson.
    Publisher: New York : Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2009.
    Description: Book 121 pages : illustrations (some color); 29 cm
    Dewey: 523.2 22
    LC Call Number: QB501
    ISBN: 9780810983229
    0810983222
    LC Subject:
    Solar system.
    Solar system --Pictorial works.
    Astronomy.
    Astronomy -- Pictorial works.
    Summary: Presents the solar system from the perspective of the space probes sent to explore the heavens.
    Note:
    The long path to the planets --
    The earth-moon system --
    Venus --
    The sun –-
    Mercury --
    Mars --
    The asteroids --
    The Jupiter system --
    Saturn --
    Uranus –-
    Neptune --
    The future.
    Illustrations on lining papers.

    Beyond: a solar system voyage — OCLC WorldCat catalogue record

Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC) records

MARC is a way of coding the information so that catalogue records can be indexed and searched. MARC uses numbers as labels for the information in the records. In your catalogue, you'll sometimes see a reference to MARC records or be able to link through to see them.

*Example of a MARC record

This example is based on the 'Detailed View' display in Record Manager.

100 1_ |a Benson, Michael, |d 1962-
245 10 |a Beyond: |b a solar system voyage / |c Michael Benson.
260 __ |a New York: |b Abrams Books for Young Readers, |c 2009.
300 __ |a 121 pages: |b illustrations (some color) ; |c 29 cm
504 __ |a Includes bibliographical references (page 118) and index.
520 __ |a Presents the solar system from the perspective of the space probes sent to
explore the heavens.
650 _0 |a Astronomy |v Pictorial works.
651 _0 |a Solar system |v Pictorial works.
651 _1 |a Solar system.

The numbers in the MARC codes can be translated as follows.
100 = Author
245 = Title
260 = Publisher
300 = Description
504 = Bibliography note
520 = Summary
650 = LC Subject
651 = LC Children's Subject