What information is needed in a cataloging record?

The information contained in a cataloging record, whether in the computer or on a card, can be separated into three different areas: bibliographic information, subject headings and other access points, and call numbers. This section will deal with the bibliographic information needed, while later courses deal with subject headings (Library of Congress  Subject Headings) and call numbers (Dewey Decimal Classification).

The bibliographic information needed in a cataloging record is found and entered into that record according to cataloging rules that have been developed by the American Library Association, the British Library Association, and the Canadian Library Association. These rules, last revised in 1998, are called the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, which is often abbreviated AACR.  They are an effort to create a standard of information that will enable both library staff and patrons to find the information that they need in any library worldwide. Because the information is listed in the same order and style in cataloging records, the language or format of the item are not a barrier to being able to find out what is the title, author, publisher or other piece of bibliographic data. Punctuation is used to set different categories of information apart from each other. This can be interpreted by the computer catalog program to indicate areas to be searched when looking up information.

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