Hello again everyone


I have also been puzzling over about how best to deal with the knotty problem of how to represent copy-specific information in multiple copies of the same edition.


To me, the most important thing to give readers information about what makes the item “unique” – in the sense of it being in a hand-crafted binding, perhaps with some pages missing, and some inserted, and bearing annotations, inscriptions, bookplates and so on.


To a non-rare books cataloguer the important thing seems to identify the edition, and then the number of copies the library holds.


How do colleagues resolve this? Would you ever create multiple bibliographic records, i.e. one for each copy of the item? Or would you record copy-specific information in one bibliographic record and give details of each copy within that one record?


There are specific MARC codes for recording copy-specific information – 561 for provenance, 562 for details such as decorations, annotations and imperfections, and 563 for bindings. This works if you only have one copy of a certain item, but if you have two more, your MARC record would become very unwieldy and in many cases ambiguous, which I would want to avoid at all costs.


At Leeds we use Sierra for creating book records, but are able then to pull these records through to EMu, the library management system used for Special Collections materials. EMu can cope with having several different records for several different copies of the same edition, and we can link them together, import images, create narratives and so on.


When describing the incunabula here, I took the slightly unorthodox decision of creating a new bibliographic record for each copy of the book. This meant I could record in great detail provenance, decoration, annotations, bindings and so on. It was one solution to the problem for the pore-1500 books, but whether it can be applied more widely across the collections I doubt very much.


I hope my questions / comments makes sense.





From: CIG E-Forum [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Katie Flanagan
Sent: 15 April 2015 14:00
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: [CIG-E-FORUM] Standards and provenance


Good afternoon, and welcome to the second session of the ‘rare books cataloguing’ e-forum.


This afternoon we’ll be focussing on standards and provenance, but please do continue threads from this morning’s session if you would like to.


Provenance is one of the areas where rare books cataloguing differs hugely from other cataloguing. And, whilst normal cataloguing standards are obviously also applicable to rare books, there are other standards to use on top of this.


I’ve come up with some questions to start things off or please do ask your own on these themes.


-          What is provenance and why would you record it?


-          How should you record it?


-          Have you encountered any problems with recording it in catalogue records, perhaps using a particular library system?


-          Can you recommend any books and/or training material about provenance and how to record it ?


-          What standards do you use when cataloguing rare books? How do they differ from other standards?


-          Has anyone used RDA when cataloguing rare books?


-          What do you do about subject headings?












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Katie Flanagan BA(Hons), MA, MCLIP

Special Collections Librarian

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Brunel University London



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