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Cataloging Manual

Descriptive Cataloging Policies

Editing Bibliographic Records

  1. Recommended Enhancements and Corrections. Libraries are encouraged to make appropriate enhancements and corrections. Notification of holdings libraries is not necessary. Examples of enhancements are:
    • Upgrading fixed field information
    • Adding/changing call number
    • Completing missing data in CIP records
    • Adding titles or other added entries
    • Adding notes applying to the bibliographic record
    • Deleting obsolete fields that would not be caught by the exporting parameters
    • Correcting typographical errors
    • Correcting coding errors
    • Upgrading to International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD)
    • Adding missing/new access points (010, 020, 246, 730, etc.)
  2. Enhancements subject to authority control require updating the cataloging date. Examples of these enhancements are:
    • Adding/correcting subject headings
    • Changing obsolete headings
    • Adding/correcting headings
  3. Local notes placed in 590 fields must be prefaced with the institution’s name, followed by a colon. For a list of acceptable names, see Appendix B.
  4. Retain or add |g in enhanced 505 formatted contents note fields so that miscellaneous information contained in this sub-field such as volume numbers, chapter numbers, etc. will not be indexed in the title index. Initial articles in titles should be included in subfield |t when inputting an enhanced contents note.
  5. Printed reproductions of online resources should be cataloged as “non-microform reproductions” as defined in LCRI 1.11A. Under this approach, the bibliographic record should describe the reproduction, rather than the electronic resource itself and should include an appropriate 533 reproduction note.
    533 ## |a Printout. |b [Alliance, OH : |c Mount Union College Library, |d 2008]. |e 53 p. ; 28 cm. |n Printed from web site (June 4, 2008).
  6. Use the 586 field only for notes concerning officially sanctioned awards.The standardized list of juvenile literature awards can be found in Appendix J.
    586 ## National Book Award, 2008
    586 ## Pulitzer Prize for Nonfiction, 2000
    586 ## Academy Award for Best Picture, 2007
    586 ## Best Documentary, Appalachian Film Festival, 2009
  7. Do not use field 690 in OPAL cataloging. This field is not indexed. OPAL institutions whose records already contain 690s are encouraged to delete them or place them in an appropriate indexed field, such as the 590 field.
  8. Do not use field 790 in OPAL cataloging. This field is not indexed. Local name added entries, such as faculty authors, may be entered in field 700 as per instructions for Name and Title Added Entry Fields (RDA 20.2, RDA 18.5, RDA Appendix I.3.1).

Classification Policies

Libraries may use Library of Congress Classification, Dewey Decimal Classification, National Library of Medicine Classification, or Superintendent of Documents Classification (SuDoc). The call number field in bibliographic records is suppressed in the OPAC. When making a change in an item record call number, it is not necessary to make a corresponding change in the bibliographic record.

Addressing Outdated or Offensive Subject Terms

The OhioLINK Database Improvement and Discoverability (DIAD) Policy Team issued guidelines for addressing outdated or offensive subject terms in the documents below. These guidelines are optional actions that individual institutions can undertake in their local catalogs if they wish to do so. 

Because local changes can be superseded by batch loading records, authority work, and other factors, OPAL has opted for a more permanent solution. As of fall 2021 offensive subject headings are identified and removed using a script after records return from MARCIVE authority processing and before they are loaded into Sierra. Currently, this process is applied to the LCSH term, "Illegal aliens" (based on the report from the SAC Working Group). Details about specific changes to the authority records can be found in the document below.

Additional recommendations for changes to outdated or offensive subject terms can be submitted by any OPAL member to the Cataloging COI Coordinator for discussion at the next COI meeting. After approval by the Cataloging COI and Director's Council, OhioNet will add the term(s) to the existing authorities script for processing and replacement. In the absence of a COI coordinator, requests may be sent to

Serials Record Selection

Libraries should use their own discretion in choosing records for serials.

Serials Item Volume Standards

Libraries should use these guidelines when adding volume information to item record.

Doing so is necessary to enable proper reverse chronological listing of item records.

LIBRARY HAS Statements

Libraries should follow the standards for LIBRARY HAS statements defined in the OhioLINK Handbook.

Libraries should follow OPTION A. OhioLINK recommends that Level 3 summary holdings statement conventions be followed, and further recommends that Option A -- wherein enumeration and chronology is recorded together with captions in non-MARC LIB HAS fields -- as the preferred format.

  • v.1(2005)-
  • v.1(1991)-v.3(1993),v.5(1995)-   instead of v.1-v.3(1991-1993),v.5(1995)- or other variants
  • ed.1(2001)-ed.10(2008)
  • 1999- (no parentheses when there is no enumeration present)

Electronic Resources Cataloging


Records Describing Electronic Resources

Libraries should follow OhioLINK’s standards for Cataloging Electronic Resources.

The OPAL database should only contain catalog records describing monographic electronic resources, such as ebooks, online videos, and streaming audio.  Records for other categories of electronic resources, as listed in the table below, should not be included in the OPAL database:


Type of material As Determined By
Databases OCLC Type/MARC leader byte 7 = 'i' AND OCLC Form/MARC 008 pos 23 = 'o'
Web sites OCLC Type/MARC leader byte 7 = 'i' AND OCLC Form/MARC 008 pos 23 = 'o'
Electronic journals OCLC Type/MARC leader byte 7 = 's' AND OCLC Form/MARC 008 pos 23 = 'o'
Online images OCLC Type/MARC leader byte 6 = 'k' AND OCLC Form/MARC 008 pos 23 = 'o'


Records for open access content may be added on a title-by-title basis.  However, en masse loading of entire collections is only permissible when the entire consortium agrees to have the collection added to their respective scopes.  For additional details, see Open Access Content.


Links To Electronic Resources

Regardless of the format of the material described in the record, OPAL bibliographic records 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, e.g., ebooks, streaming videos, streaming audio. 

Links for freely available content falling into one of the above four categories can be placed in the 856 field of the bibliographic record.  For example, it is acceptable to include the link to an open access ebook in the bibliographic record describing the electronic version of the book. To retain these links and prevent them from being overlaid or deleted, change the 2nd indicator in the 856 field to "9", e.g. 856 49.

Links to locally subscribed resources should be placed in an 856 ITEM FLD variable length field of an item record.

Links from records describing tangible items to online journals, images, or other excluded record types should be omitted from the OPAL catalog.


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 in bibliographic records.

Note:  To prevent inadvertently adding prohibited 856 links to the OPAL database when exporting from OCLC, Sierra discards all 856 fields from the incoming record.  Library staff will need to manually add appropriate 856 fields with a 2nd indicator "9" to the record in Sierra, i.e., after exporting from OCLC.

Cataloging Juvenile Materials

Bibliographic records for juvenile materials should contain at least one Library of Congress Subject Heading.

If a bibliographic record has a juvenile subject heading, do not delete this heading or modify it to a Library of Congress Subject Heading. Add an appropriate Library of Congress Subject Heading.

Do not delete juvenile subject headings in an OCLC record before exporting.

If a juvenile book has received an award, add a 586 Juvenile Awards Note following the standardized list in Appendix J.

Adding Lexile Values

Lexile is used as a tool to measure student growth and provide a way to determine which books might be appropriate for students based on their reading abilities. As a result, education students and faculty tend to want to keyword search by Lexile value.

Unfortunately the $b of 521 8 where Lexile information is added to a MARC record is not searchable.

To rectify this issue we input the information with:

521 8 as xxxL Lexile, i.e. 521 8  670L Lexile  (NOT 521 8  670$b Lexile)

This allows for keyword searching for "lexile" or more specific searches by Lexile value or ranges, including using wildcards, e.g., "(11**L or 12**L) AND lexile".

Support runs catalog maintenance periodically to clean-up records that don't follow this format.

Policy On Use Of RDA Records

Records in either RDA, AACR2, or hybrid format may be exported into the OPAL catalog. However, bibliographic records created using Resource Description and Access (RDA) rules, whether cataloging at the copy or original level is preferred. If no matching bibliographic record exists in WorldCat, derive or create a new record in accordance with current cataloging practices, e.g., Resource Description & Access (RDA). Record examples can be found on the RDA Resources Page.

Currently, we suppress fields 336-338 and 340-349 from being visible in the public OPAC because Sierra doesn’t support displaying that information or displays it in a way that isn’t useful for users.