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Cataloguing and Metadata

Policy on Levels of Cataloguing Treatment1 for Publications Acquired by LAC

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The policy in brief:

Full level cataloguing treatment

Includes:

No restriction on the number of access points; authority records are created for all name access points; standardized subject access using Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH); LC and Dewey Decimal classification numbers.

Is given to:

All publications for LAC's Reference, Staff Resource Centre, and Genealogy and Family History collections, current Canadian children's literature, aboriginal and multicultural publications, publications of significant topical interest or special heritage value (see Annex 2) in the areas of Canadian music, literature, and the historical development of Canadian society

Core level cataloguing treatment

Includes:

Access points for primary names and titles only; authority records for name headings; a maximum of two Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH); LC and Dewey Decimal classification numbers.

Is given to:

Most current music sound recordings and federal government publications

Minimal level cataloguing treatment

Includes:

Access points for primary names and titles only; LC classification (for most types of publications)2 ; abridged Dewey Decimal classification; authority records are created for name access points. No subject headings are assigned.

Is given to:

Current provincial government publications, aging Canadian music publications, scores and recordings, current foreign music publications and recordings, publications for the Rare Books and Lowy collections, conference proceedings, research reports, and educational materials.

Abbreviated level cataloguing treatment

Includes:

A maximum of two access points (usually the title and one name heading); LC classification only if it is needed for shelving purposes. No authorities are created for name access points; no LC subject headings are assigned.

Is given to:

Older publications of all types (mostly those older than the current year minus 3 years), pamphlets, municipal government publications, foreign and international official publications, non-music sound recordings, mass market genre fiction, newsletters, publications of interest to a limited audience.

Priorities

A system of four priority levels is used to determine the order in which incoming materials are processed.

Top priority is given to pre-publication material in the Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) program, current material in the federal Depository Services Program, public opinion research (POR) reports prepared for the Government of Canada, and acquisitions for LAC's Reference and Staff Resource Centre collections, all of which are to be catalogued within 10 days of receipt.

Next in priority are post-publication updates for material in the CIP program, current publications for LAC's special collections and in areas of special emphasis for LAC (i.e., aboriginal, multicultural, Canadian music, literature, and historical development), which are to be catalogued within 3 months of receipt.

Current publications are processed before older imprints.

Digital publications are processed before print and other analogue publications.


Policy on levels of cataloguing treatment

Context

The bibliographic records created within the Resource Description area of Library and Archives Canada (LAC) serve a variety of purposes, including:

  • to identify and provide access to published items in the LAC collection;
  • to record the existence of Canadian publications within the national bibliography;
  • to provide Canadian libraries with standardized catalogue records that can be copied into local systems and to which local holdings can be attached as part of a national union catalogue and to support Canada's inter-library loan system; and,
  • to provide a valuable source of reference and research for Canadian studies; and
  • to ensure that related works are brought together (by subject, creators' names, titles, geographic area, etc.) when searching AMICUS and other large bibliographic databases.

The policy on levels of cataloguing treatment was first introduced by the former National Library of Canada in 1996 and was revised in 2003. The present version (2009) was created to reflect the strategic directions and acquisitions orientation of Library and Archives Canada, including the focus on digital publications. It provides for an overall reduction in the number of publications that are fully catalogued, and a corresponding increase in the number of items done at lower levels of detail in order to adjust cataloging resources to handle an increased number of digital and legal deposit publications with reasonable timeliness.

Levels of treatment

There are five levels of cataloguing treatment for published heritage materials acquired by LAC: full, core, minimal, and abbreviated, plus the access level record for web sites. The data elements within each level conform to national cataloguing standards and the cataloguing level is encoded in each record for easy recognition by libraries and other organizations that use LAC catalogue records.

The full and core levels of cataloguing treatment include standardized subject headings (LCSH, CSH and RVM) and classification (Dewey Decimal and/or LC classification). The full, core and minimal levels include the creation of authority records for name access points and series titles.

Full level treatment is given to publications in the Cataloguing in Publication (CIP) program, items selected for LAC's special collections, publications of aboriginal and multicultural interest, and current publications in the areas of Canadian music, Canadian literature and the historical approach to the development of Canadian society.

All works by foreign authors published in Canada are catalogued at the abbreviated level unless a significant portion (usually more than 30%) of the content is about the Canadian experience.

Currency factor

All materials (with the exception of CIP, aboriginal and multicultural publications and items for certain special collections) drop to lower levels of cataloguing treatment as their dates of imprint age - on the assumption that there is less demand over time for LAC's record as a source of cataloguing copy for other libraries and in order to keep older publications out of processing backlogs.

Most trade publications will drop from full to abbreviated level cataloguing treatment when their dates of publication are older than the "current year minus 3 [years]". Details on the application of the currency factor are given in Annex 1.

Priority system

The priority system is used to designate a turnaround time for processing incoming materials from the point of acquisition to the point at which a catalogue record is made available to LAC's users. Priorities are assigned as part of the acquisitions function and determine the order in which materials are catalogued. This revised policy reduces the number of priority levels used in Published Heritage from seven to four, as follows.

  • Priority 1 is assigned to digital and analogue publications in special programs (DSP, POR reports, and preliminary CIP) and some special collections (Reference and the Staff Resource Centre).
    At priority 1, the service standard for delivering a catalogue record to Canadian libraries and LAC users is ten business days.
  • Priority 2 is assigned to acquisitions for LAC's special collections (Canadian Geneaology Centre, Rare Books, Lowy, and Canadian Children's Literature), to digital and analogue acquisitions of aboriginal and multicultural interest, and to current acquisitions of special heritage value in the areas of Canadian literature, Canadian music and the historical development of Canadian society.
    Priority 2 is also assigned to updates of CIP preliminary records after the item has been published and acquired by LAC.
    At priority 2, the service standard for delivering a catalogue record (including updated CIP records) to Canadian libraries and LAC users is three months or less.
    Guidelines for determining that an individual publication is of special heritage value are given in Annex 2.
    Digital publications within priority 2 are to be processed before analogue publications.
  • Priority 3 is assigned to all other digital3 publications. No turnaround time is specified. Special projects are undertaken as resources become available to process categories of digital publications in backlogs.
  • Priority 4 is assigned to all other analogue publications. No turnaround time is specified. Special projects are undertaken as resources become available to process categories of analogue publications in backlogs.

Derived cataloguing

By virtue of LAC's unique position in relation to Canada's published heritage, most of its cataloguing for current Canadian publications is original cataloguing. However, LAC uses cataloguing data derived from other sources as the basis for its own catalogue records whenever possible, particularly for older materials and foreign imprints of Canadian interest.

Additional access points and notes are not removed from derived records. For example, subject headings may be retained on a minimal or abbreviated level record if they appear on the source record from which the LAC record is derived. Data in the derived record is not modified unless obviously incorrect (e.g., a typographic mistake in the transcription of a title).

Data elements

The bibliographic data elements included in each level of cataloguing are shown in Annex 5 (available as a separate document).

Annexes

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Annex 1. Application of the currency factor [PDF 106 KB] [RTF 818 KB]

Annex 2. Supplementary criteria for determining whether a publication should receive full level cataloguing treatment [PDF 138 KB] [RTF 827 KB]

Annex 3. Categories of material and their levels of cataloguing treatment [PDF 152 KB] [RTF 1,027 KB]

Annex 4. Supplementary information on cataloguing treatment of digital published resources [PDF 128 KB] [RTF 846 KB]

Annex 5. Data elements included at the full, core, minimal and abbreviated levels (excluding printed music, music sound recordings and music videorecordings) [PDF 122 KB] [RTF 945 KB]

Annex 6. Data elements included at the full, core, minimal and abbreviated levels (printed music, music sound recordings and music videorecordings) [PDF 44 KB] [RTF 926 KB]

Annex 7. LAC cataloguing priorities [PDF 128 KB] [RTF 857 KB]


1 Effective 1 September 2009 (approved 25 May 2009 by the Documentary Heritage Collection Sector of Library and Archives Canada).
2 Except serial publications and provincial government publications catalogued at the minimal level.
3 In the context of this policy, digital publications are those that will be accessible remotely to users of LAC's collection through a communications network such as the Internet. Electronic publications issued on physical carriers (e.g. DVDs, CD-ROMs, CDs, Blu-ray discs, etc.) are not included in this category.