E-Monographs (Variant Format & Copy Cataloging)


This document [formerly Cataloging Online Books: Reproductions] has been revised to be consistent with General Website Cataloging Policies & Procedures instituted Feb. 2008 & the PCC Guidelines for Provider-Neutral e-Monographs instituted updated in 2013 to be RDA compliant.

SCOPE. Our documentation has separate cataloging guidelines provided for electronic resources depending upon (1) mode of access, (2) mode of issuance, and (3) availability of source copy. The primary focus of this document is on electronic reproductions of monographic works accessed online, or monographic works that are issued concurrently online and in a print version. This document applies if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The resource is a remote access electronic resource.
  2. Accessibility of the resource meets the conditions described in General Website Cataloging Policies & Procedures (items c. & f.) Regarding item f.: conditions are not met if the site requires the user to log on.
  3. The resource is issued as a monograph. It is not updated.
  4. Cataloging copy is available for the resource, or there is cataloging copy available for the print version.

These guidelines may be used for updating existing cataloging copy or for creating variant format original cataloging, i.e., creation of a new record in Orbis or OCLC derived from the record for the print version. To simplify processing, as a general rule, if you create an original bibliographic records for an online e-book based on the bibliographic record for another format (usually the original print edition), upgrade the descriptive elements to RDA form. For copy cataloging, if you use the bibliographic record for an online edition, accept whatever cataloging rules were used to create the record, AACR2 or RDA, and do not re-catalog to change from one set of rules to another. 

Remote Access vs. Direct Access

Remote access electronic resources are accessed over a computer network such as the Internet. Direct access electronic resources have a physical carrier (AACR2 Appendix D, Glossary). See, for example, Census 2000, Summary File 1, available on DVD (a direct access electronic resource) and (a remote access electronic resource) online. Separate bibliographic records should be created for each format.* Guidelines for cataloging CDs, DVDs, and other direct access electronic resources are available.

Monographs vs. Integrating Resources

Some monographs in print format become integrating resources when issued online because they are continually or frequently updated and updates are integrated into the whole. Compare, for example, Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy (a monograph) and Wikipedia (an integrating resource). Guidelines for cataloging online integrating resources are available.

Born-Digital vs. Variant Format Cataloging

Based on current PCC guidelines for "provider-neutral" or "P-N" cataloging of online resources, generally consider any online monograph with the same content as the print version* to be a candidate for variant format cataloging, i.e., as an online reproduction of the print original.

Online monographs with no print version counterpart should be cataloged following the PCC guidelines for born-digital cataloging.

*Print version can include: physical printed books, microform, CD-ROM. The print version can pre-date release of the online book or be published simultaneously with the online version.

If an online monograph has a bibliographic record for the print version, the online version should be cataloged using the "separate record"* approach: a bibliographic record for the print version is used as the basis for the creation of a separate bibliographic record for the online monograph.

*In contrast, the "single record" approach has the cataloger add the URL for the online resource to the bibliographic record for the original. YUL policy generally does not allow the single record approach.

If the cataloging is done in Orbis, download an OCLC record for the print version to use as the basis for the e-book record. Be sure to delete the 035 with the OCLC master record number before you save into Orbis from the import file. Be careful not to merge with an existing record already in Orbis.

If there is a record for the print version in Orbis, you can use the Orbis copy command to make a copy of the print version's record to use as the basis for the e-book record. Do not modify the record for the print version!

Before proceeding with cataloging, enter the 856 field into the bibliographic record and test the URL provided by the selector. Verify that the URL meets condition 2. If it does not, contact the selector, acquisitions, or your supervisor as appropriate. Do not proceed with cataloging until condition 2 is met [the resource cannot require payment and the URL must be able to point directly to the title cited in 245]. Note that some sites will allow direct access only after you log on; this does not meet condition 2. Until the issues are resolved, the in-process record should be suppressed.


PCC Provider-Neutral E-Resource MARC Record Guide: P-N/RDA Combined Version  [Word document]