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Cataloging Manual

General Principles

The OPAL database of bibliographic records is shared by all member libraries; those bibliographic records can be edited by all library staff.  As such, OPAL records will be added and maintained in accordance with the following principles:

  1. Except as outlined in Appendix K, records should adhere to current national cataloging standards, specifically those outlined in Appendix A.
  2. The OPAL database should contain only one copy of each bibliographic description.  To minimize duplication:
  • OPAL libraries use OCLC WorldCat as the primary source for cataloging records.  This facilitates matching by OCLC control number both in on-going batch loading and bibliographic quality control processes.
  • Prior to exporting from OCLC, OPAL library staff must search the OPAL catalog by OCLC number to determine if a copy of that bibliographic record already exists.

3. OPAL bibliographic records should contain minimal local details not included in the OCLC master record.  As records are loaded into the OPAL database, the incoming record will replace the contents of the matching existing record except for MARC 590 fields (see Descriptive Cataloging Policies for additional details).  Because of this, library staff should add non-local enhancements, such as enhanced contents or lexile information, to the master record in OCLC.

4. All bibliographic records must have at least one attached checkin, item, or order record.  All unsuppressed bibliographic records must have at least one unsuppressed checkin, item, or order record.

5. The OPAL bibliographic database should only contain cataloging records describing monographic electronic resources, such as ebooks, online videos, and streaming audio.  Records for electronic journals, databases, web sites, and online images are not permitted, as outlined in Electronic Resources Cataloging. 

6. Bibliographic records, irrespective of the format of the material described in the record, should only contain MARC 856 links to resources in one of the four categories:

  • Local special collections
  • Government documents
  • Electronic theses and dissertations
  • Monographic electronic resources, as outlined in Electronic Resources Cataloging.

Change the 2nd indicator for allowed 856 links to "9" to protect them from overlay or deletion.

Links to other kinds of materials, such as publisher sites, tables of contents, cover images or other related resources (856s with second indicator 2) are not permitted.

7. Authority records are shared and maintained by the OPAL support team and MARCIVE.