5a. Microform Copy and Variant Copy Cataloging Outline


Searching Steps:

First search for a microform record in OCLC by title and format in OCLC Search Window. Be sure you select a record matching the format, e.g. microfiche, microfilm. A microfiche record cannot be used for microfilm except as variant copy but then you have to edit the fixed fields.

If exact copy is found, use it (Example: you have a microfilm set created by LC and find LC copy)

If variant copy is found, use that (Example: Columbia created a microfilm for a monograph for a Yale patron request and the U. of Utah microfilmed it, too, and has its record in OCLC—you can use it as a base for your version or create an entirely new record for the Columbia microfilm.

If no usable copy is found, search for a usable bibliographic record for the original item. You will use this record to build a microform record.


Consult Microform Reproductions, for overall guidance for editing record or cataloging record, MFHD, and Item Records, etc.

Fixed fields

Variable fields: 245 [GMD], 300, mandatory 533


Item Records See “Microform Reproductions (Purchased): MFHD & Item Record” and "Microfiche (Always Purchased): Variable Fields, MFHD, Item Record" for more detailed instructions.


The barcode should be attached to the center of the narrow side of the box opposite the side used for the label,e.g. If label is on top, barcode goes on the bottom. If the box is unlabelled at the point of receipt, attach the barcode to a narrow side not used when the box is opened.


Use the new automated tool for assigning microform accession numbers for everything, except newspapers. You log on using your netid.

The Accession Number Tool comes with an online User’s Guide.

Microfilm newspapers are assigned an  “An” number and sub-arranged by title following the Cutter-Sanborn Three Figure Table rather than the LC table.  

The Cutter Table is divided into “Consonants, Except S” and “Vowels and A”.

For title: 245 Haverhill gazette ‡h [microform]

H297  ← Look at list for corresponding first 3 letters of your title, then use first letter for consonants + corresponding digits from Cutter Table + adjustment to fit into Shelflist.

The letter S uses first 2 letters and vowels use first two letters. Second letter in lowercase.

For title: 245 Scotsman : or Edinburgh political and literary journal ‡h [microform]


For title: 245 The Apollo, or, Chestertown spy ‡h [microform]


Two old copies are shelved in our Reference Collection in CMS.

Background of old Microform Shelflists:

There are separate paper shelflist files for service copy microfilm monographs, service copy microfilm serials, master negative copy microfilm monographs, master negative microfilm serials, dissertation microfilm (service copies), monograph microfiches and serial microfiches. All microfiche holdings are service copies.

We no longer use the paper shelflists to determine the call number (i.e. accession number) and to file a slip as a placeholder for the new number when cataloging microforms in CMS. As of 2012, we use the online Microform Accession Number assignment tool, with the exception of newspapers. The 3 drawers that constitute the “Shelflist” for newspapers are located in CMS along with the other old shelflists.

(Source: Shelflisting. Accession Section)


Cataloging of Guides Accompanying Microforms

Item Records for Microform (SML Procedures) This document has information on barcoding and status tracking to Preparations.


Catalogers should not be getting preservation microfilms which include masters and printing masters (negatives) from which a service copy is created. CMS catalogers work with “service” copies only. If you feel you might have a preservation film in hand, consult with a Librarian. We would have to consult with Preservation.

Enum/Chron Fields in Voyager Item Records for Serials (and Multiparts)