General Website Cataloging Policies & Procedures


a. The selector must place a request for a catalog record. The cataloger may suggest to the selector that a record for the website be added to Orbis, but the cataloger does not generally initiate cataloging for a website. Payment records are not considered to be catalog records; these are normally created by acquisitions staff and are always suppressed from public view. If a payment record exists and the selector requests a catalog record, create a separate record in Orbis for the record that will display to the public.

b. The URL for the resource is judged to be ongoing rather than temporary, although the website can be leased or free.

c. The resource does not require payment by the library user in order to be accessed.

EXCEPTION: It is acceptable to create a record for a serial when the latest issue is free when the site requires user payment for the back issues. (Example: Kulturpoetik)

d. A cataloging record cannot be provided by the vendor.

e. A separate record is created for the electronic version; a link is not made from the print version to the electronic version or from the electronic version to the print version.

f. The catalog record must match the title in the 856 URL. The URL must point directly to the title cited in the bibliographic record 245, not to an intervening website.

2. Serial or Integrating Resource or Monograph?

Continuing Resources (CRs) is the general term for serials, integrating resources, and monographic series (but not multi- or single part monographs). These generally share the same descriptive rules, with certain significant exceptions.

Remote access electronic serials are updated by discrete issues that do not merge with the most current iteration. Typically, a page or sidebar will provide separate links to each issue of the serial. Remote access integrating resources are updated by replacing one iteration with a more current one; there will be no link to a "previous issue." Sometimes there will be a section of the IR page that indicates explicitly that the page is continuously updated, e.g. a "What's new" section that does not link to individual issues.

Serial description is based on the earliest issue (for e-serials, note that this refers to the earliest issue on the web, not the earliest issue of the print original); integrating resource description is based on the most current iteration.

A serial in print format may become an integrating resource when issued online because it is continuously or frequently updated and previous iterations no longer exist as discrete issues. As long as the current issue remains discrete, the resource is cataloged as a serial (CONSER Cataloging Manual, Module 35, p. 16).

When determining mode of issuance, base the decision on the item being cataloged, not on another manifestation. For example, the online version of The New York Times provides access to today's paper in the print edition but has additional content, so it would be cataloged as an online integrating resource.

A portal website is a website with links to multiple remote sites.

  • If a portal website does not present itself explicitly as either a serial or integrating resource, catalog the website as an integrating resource rather than as a monograph, on the grounds that the links will probably change over the course of time. Example: NACLA digital archive.[Rev. 10/08]
  • If a portal website provides access to current and back issues of a serial that has undergone a title change or changes, and the vendor has changed the titles of the back issues to match the current title, create a single record for the entire serial; provide access to the earlier titles using field 247. If the digitized back issues retain the old title(s), catalog as successive entry with separate records for each title. Point the 856 on each record to the portal website. See CONSER Cataloging Manual 31.8. [Rev. 10/08]

3. Catalog as reproduction or as an electronic edition?

Under AACR2, a serial cataloged as a reproduction generally described the original print version, but with a reproduction note and a gmd for the electronic resource. Under the RDA Provider-Neutral [P-N] guidelines, 336-338 fields are used instead of the GMD, and a 776 linking field is used instead of a 533 note. The P-N practice of copying the description from the original record for 245, 250, and 260/264, however, is similar to the AACR2 practice. A serial cataloged as an electronic edition describes the electronic version; these are usually "born-digital." See CCM 31.1.3. [Rev. 10/08]

If the serial issues are in PDF format and basically function as camera images of the original print version (i.e. original pagination is reproduced), the resource may be cataloged as a serial, since cataloging will be based on the earliest issue and therefore the PDF rather than the website. Example: Cataloging and Classification Quarterly. Example: An in-house digital reproduction made for preservation purposes. [Rev. 10/08]

If the website presents the serial in both html and PDF format, catalog as an electronic edition and make a note for the other (PDF) format. This bears further discussion; the RDA P-N arguably allows this to be cataloged as a reproduction. [Rev. 10/08]

When in doubt, catalog an e-serial as an electronic edition rather than as a reproduction. Example: the serial is in PDF format but the vendor has not reproduced the page numbers and uses the current title as the running title on the issues for the earlier title. [Rev. 10/08]

By definition, a remote integrating resource cannot be cataloged as a reproduction.

Catalog a monograph as a reproduction if the monograph is reproduced in PDF or other digital reproduction format, and the original pagination is retained. Otherwise, catalog the monograph as an electronic edition. If the website offers the monograph in both html and PDF format, catalog the monograph as an electronic edition. [Rev. 10/08]

4. Granularity (limits on depth of analysis)

If a request is made to catalog a single monograph or CR title, i.e., one that is not part of a collection that can be accessed through a portal website, catalog based on the guidelines above and the specific guidelines for monographs, serials, or continuing resources. Subjects and LC classification should be consistent with the print version, if available.

For requests to catalog a website that links to a collection or collections of titles, use the following guidelines:

a. Generally, if the request is made to catalog a website linked to multiple discreet resources, do not create separate bibliographic records for the individual resources linked to the website at any level, whether or not the resources can be accessed directly.*

Instead, assign 730 02 analytic added entries to titles at the first level below the record for the portal website. Example: Classiques Garnier numérique. This site is a portal to multiple collections. Note that our original example, Editions Champion en ligne was absorbed by the new site ca. 2009. The URL for each collection times out or expires after the session ends; only the portal site URL is stable.

If the website represents a single serial that has had title changes, refer to Cataloging e-Serials: Access and Relationship Fields. [2014]

The limit to the number of analytic added entries traced will be determined on a case by case basis.

*Because portal sites are generally licensed and have complex user validation software, determining whether each resource can be accessed directly from a public workstation will at least require the cataloger to test the direct link, clear the browser cache, and re-test the direct link to make sure direct access is not temporary. Relying exclusively on analytic added entries will also simplify workflow, which would otherwise require creation of individual records for direct access & analytic added entries when the access is through the portal site.

b. If a request is made to catalog a resource linked to a portal website, and no record already has been made in Orbis for the portal site, and the resource can be accessed directly, catalog the resource as a directly accessible remote resource and not as part of the portal. Catalog the resource as "aggregator neutral;" unless the portal site is logically related to the resource, do not make an added entry for the portal site title, or include any descriptive reference to the portal site. Example: Handbuch der historischen Buchbestande in Deutschland, Osterreich und Europa is accessed directly; its page is also linked to the b2i home page. No added entry is made for b2i.

To: Cataloging Staff 
From: Steven Arakawa for CPDC/CCC
Date: (02/04/08 issue date/ 06/10/2014 4:41 PM revision date)


Criteria for Cataloging Selected Remote Access Electronic Resources

856 Fields in Original, Copy, and Batch-loaded Records for Tangible Resources

E-Serials Cataloging Cheat Sheet

Cataloging Online Books (Electronic Editions)

Cataloging Online Books (Reproductions)

Maintenance & Cataloging Workflow Policies for e-Book Bibliographic Records not Supplied by Vendors