1. Variable Data Fields (245-250)

Preferred Sources (General)

RDA Tangible Resources applies. The first source on the following list with a (textual) title is used as the preferred source:

a. printing or label on the disc, diskette, etc.

b. textual content from an internal source, such as a title screen

c. container or accompanying material issued with the disc

Note that P-N [Provider-Neutral] exceptions and the proposed exceptions for microform reproductions do not apply to direct access resources that contain reproductions of printed materials. The disc itself is still the first place to get the title, not an image of the original title page. See LC-PCC PS Alternative.

For a multipart CD-ROM, see RDA

a. Unnumbered with no way to determine the order: choose a source with the collective title

b. Numbered: choose the lowest numbered part

c. If not numbered, but there is a date of issue, choose the earliest date

d. If no comprehensive title, choose the title of the predominant work or part

e. if none of the above apply, use the no collective title approach (2.1.2)

As with any multipart serial or monograph, make a 588 note if the basis for description is not the first part.

Because there is no longer a strict order of preference in cataloging electronic resources, providing variant title access is of great importance.

Historical note: Prior to 2001 the chief source was the "title screen."

Title Proper, Other Title, Statement of Responsibility, Variant Titles (245, 246)

Transcription instructions for capitalization, correction of errors, and signs and symbols do not differ from the standard procedures for books. 


Title proper: Per, a note for the source of the title proper is always made for CD-ROMs, etc. (A note is not made if the source is an image of the title page, but since the disc itself is the preferred source, the note will generally need to be made.) RDA File or dataset names should not be recorded as the title proper unless the file/dataset name is the only one given on the chief source. File or dataset names not used as the title proper may be recorded as notes. (Formerly AACR2 9.1B3)

Reminder: GMD (‡h [electronic resource]) is obsolete in RDA cataloging. Do not use. HISTORICAL NOTE. Prior to 2001, the GMD was computer file; this term is now obsolete. For a brief period in the late 1990s, the provisional GMD interactive multimedia was sometimes used, but the term was never authorized officially.

Other title, Statement of Responsibility. These guidelines do not differ from the standard procedures for books. 

a. Other title must be from the same source as the title proper. If an other title appears within the resource but not with the source used for the title proper, do not supply it in 245 b in brackets. If considered to be important, make a note or a 264 1_.

b. The preferred source for the statement of responsibility is the same source as the title proper, but if not on that source, take it from anywhere within the resource (without bracketing).

Example (title proper):

245 0 0 ‡a 1987 economic censuses.

Example (Other title and statement of responsibility:

100 1   ‡a Johnson, Theopolis W., ‡e author.
245 1 3 ‡a An American experiment : ‡b a database of all known participants in "The Tuskegee experience" / ‡c by Theopolis W. Johnson.

Example (part title):

245 0 0 ‡a Current contents on diskette. ‡p Engineering, technology & applied sciences.

Edition Statement (250) Preferred Source. Prefer the same source as the title proper. If not on the title proper source, another source within the resource itself. If not within the resource, use, in order of preference (2.2.4): accompanying material, other published descriptions, a container not issued with the disc, any other source (e.g. a reference source). Per LC PCC PS 2.2.4, bracket if the source is any of the 2.2.4 options. 

Electronic resources commonly use terms other than "edition" to denote a new manifestation. Examples: issue, version, release, level, update (and their equivalents in other languages). Note that in serials cataloging, version numbers are relegated to 538, since these change as later issues are published; statements of the type "Macintosh version," on the other hand, would be considered edition statements even in serials cataloging (CCM 30.10), and in some cases "version" can function as enumerative designation.

RDA example from

250     ‡a Interactive version.

LCCN 94790355:

250     ‡a Version 1.1.

Note that per RDA and 1.7, transcription of the edition statement is "as it appears on the source of information," which means you no longer follow the AACR2 practice of adding text in brackets when the edition statement is only a number.

250     ‡a 2.1 <NOT: [Version] 2.1>

 However, does allow you to (optionally) supply a whole edition statement "if a resource lacks an edition statement but is known to contain significant changes from other editions."

Supply an edition statement in brackets if there are manifest differences, not supposed differences from other editions. AACR2 has some useful guidelines that weren't carried over into RDA: "changes in the data involving content, standardized coding, etc.; changes in the programming including changes in the program statements, programming language, and programming routines and operations; the addition of sound or graphics; improvement of graphics)." In RDA, these would be considered separate expressions and would require a new bibliographic record. When supplying edition information, don't use abbreviations.

250     ‡a [Version 7, Revised version]

But cf. LCCN 2002201396 (a serial) [version functions as enumeration]. Modified to reflect current CONSER practice for 362.

362 1   ‡a Began with version 98.2.

and LCCN 2003202101 (also a serial)

362 1   ‡a Ceased with: 97.1.
588     ‡a Description based on: Version 96.2a; title from diskette label.

Minor Changes. AACR2 9.2B4 has examples of minor changes to electronic resources (not carried over into RDA): "corrections of misspellings of data, changes in the arrangement of the contents, changes in the output format or the display medium, and changes in the physical characteristics (e.g., blocking factors, recording density)." In AACR2 these do not warrant a new record and are not recorded in the edition statement, though they may be recorded in notes. Under RDA, there is no equivalent to AACR2 9.2B4, so if the issue comes up, create a new record. See also page 3a, 2.17.4 Note on Edition Statement.

RDA Edition statements relating to issues or parts. Transcribe only the statements relating to the whole resource in 250; edition statements relating to the parts may be recorded in a note if considered to be important for identification.

RDA Changes to edition statements. When a change in the edition statement occurs in later volumes or issues of a multipart or serial, record the change in a note.

254 and 255. When the primary content of the direct access electronic resource is:

  • Music (i.e., scores NOT audio): record the musical presentation statement in 254
  • Cartographic materials: record cartographic mathematical data in 255

Cartographic example (LCCN 98678153, modified). The 256 field on the LC record is now obsolete.

‡a Computer data and program. <OBSOLETE>
245 0 0 ‡a Electromap world atlas.
250     ‡a Diskette version.
255     ‡a Scale not given.

256 (Material Specific Details Area). 256 was formerly used for recording uncompressed file sizes. It was not used by LC and probably was not much used on records by other libraries. With the 2002 amendments, it is no longer applied to electronic resources.