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Machine-Readable Accessions (MARA) Guidelines for Contribution to the National Union Catalogue

1. Introduction


AMICUS is an electronic bibliographic database, developed and maintained by Library and Archives Canada for libraries, researchers and the public. AMICUS is available on the Web, and provides a variety of different services, such as searching, information verification, interlibrary loan, reference, cataloguing and collection development. Support for the print disabled and other services are also available. (1)

1.2 The National Union Catalogue

The Union Catalogue is a separate and distinct part of AMICUS, and contains bibliographic descriptions, locations and holdings information for continuing resources and monographs, in all subject areas, held in more than 1300 Canadian libraries. Included in the Union Catalogue are computer files, maps, microforms, newspapers and works in special formats (e.g., Braille, large print, talking books, described videos, captioned videos) for persons who are print- or hearing-impaired.

Post-1980 bibliographic records reside in the AMICUS database and are accessible via the Web. Bibliographic information reported prior to 1980 is available in card catalogues at Library and Archives Canada. The card catalogues are maintained on a regular basis: bibliographic records are removed from the catalogues once they have been loaded into AMICUS.

The National Union Catalogue is key to resource sharing among libraries. Comprehensive and unlimited by language, discipline, or format, it provides bibliographic information about the holdings of Canadian libraries, thereby facilitating activities such as interlibrary loan, cooperative cataloguing, reference, and collection development. The value of the Union Catalogue comes from the diversity and sheer volume of records it contains.

The currency and accuracy of the holdings for the items represented within the Union Catalogue are also crucial to its value. It is therefore essential that libraries reporting their Machine-Readable Accessions (MARA) records to the Union Catalogue do so in a regular and consistent fashion.

To find out more about the Union Catalogue, and the libraries that contribute their records to it, please visit the Union Catalogue Web site, available at: (2)

1.3 Purpose of the Guidelines

This document provides direction for the preparation and submission of MARA records to the National Union Catalogue in AMICUS. The Guidelines must be used in conjunction with the MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data. (3),(4)

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