Direct Access Electronic Resources: CD-ROMs, etc. (RDA Original Cataloging)


This document applies to RDA cataloging of direct access electronic resources. Direct access electronic resources have a physical carrier (a disc, a cassette, or a cartridge) that is inserted into a computer device (e.g. a workstation CD-ROM drive) or a peripheral attached to the computer device. Some examples of direct access electronic resources include: CD-ROMs, photo CDs, DVD-ROMs, floppy discs, memory sticks, & computer tape cassettes, reels, etc. The primary focus of this document will be on CD-ROMs. Do not use this document for CD-audio recordings or video DVDs.

CD-ROMs are cataloged on the basis of their content (i.e., content as text, score, cartographic, graphic, or computer [in a very narrowly defined sense; see scope note below]). While AACR2 devoted a specific chapter to electronic resources, in RDA cataloging instructions applying to CD-ROMs, etc. are embedded throughout the text.

Note that the procedures in this document are not applied to remote electronic resources (web resources); these are documented separately.

Although occasional reference is made to direct access electronic serials in this document, the primary reference source for this category should be Module 30 of the CONSER Cataloging Manual [CCM]; see also: CONSER Editing Guide [CEG], Section F. Appendix N. Special physical formats. [Subsection] Electronic Resources. While it may be the case that most current & future serial electronic resources will be remote rather than direct resources, serial backfiles on CD-ROM may continue to be the preferred format for some publishers.

Note that LC PCC PS 0.0 has a section Mode of Issuance: Monograph or Serial, with a special section Situations Requiring Further Consideration. The key statement: "If the resource was/is published in print, make the decision to catalog the electronic resource as a serial, integrating resource, or monograph based on the electronic resource itself, not on how it was issued in print. Information about the planned type of issuance may be given in the resource’s “read me” files, etc." LC/PCC practice is:

  • catalog as a serial a direct access electronic resource "whose carrier is issued successively (this situation is analogous to a print serial whose latest volume supersedes any earlier volumes). Note that such resources can be mounted on networks such that the successive issuance of the carrier is not observable to the cataloger or end user; when contributing cataloging in a shared environment (e.g. bibliographic utility), the record should reflect the carrier and mode of issuance as published." [emphasis added]
  • catalog as a monograph a direct access electronic resource "complete in one part or intended to be complete in a finite number of parts, including those resources that are corrected via 'errata' information." *
  • "no direct access resource can be issued as an integrating resource (assumption that would be changed if proven incorrect)."

*LC PCC PS 0.0 Situations Requiring Further Consideration, E. Republications states: "Generally, catalog a republication of a serial as a serial." Presumably this will apply to republication as a CD-ROM, whether the serial is ceased or ongoing. Exceptions: republication of a single issue or a limited number of issues (unlikely for electronic resources given their storage capacity), a collection of bibliographically unrelated serials or articles.  Note that per the CONSER Manual 17.7, if the CD-ROM stores a run with title changes, each title will require a separate bibliographic record.

Reproductions.  The PCC Provider-Neutral e-Resource guidelines are intended to apply to online resources to accommodate different aggregator packages. The guidelines do not apply to direct access electronic resources since CD-ROMS, etc. are not issued following the aggregator model. Recent PCC decisions regarding microform reproductions, which may be similar to the P-N guidelines, do not cover reproductions issued as direct access electronic resources. RDA 3.1.3 applies to reproductions issued as direct access electronic resources: "When describing a facsimile or reproduction, record the elements describing the carrier of the facsimile or reproduction."


Processing (barcoding, marking, item record, etc.): SML/CCL ONLY

SML/BASS Policies & Procedures for Media

Cataloging Procedures for Audiovisual, CD-ROMs, and Related Media

Item Types and Statistical Categories

Cataloging CD-ROMs & Other Direct Access Electronic Resources: Copy Cataloging