Digging into metadata: context, code, and collaboration

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Preconference topics for discussion


This section provides some background information and general resources that are available. A good place to look when your cataloger starts speaking in numbers and acronyms...

See also

Formats and Standards

Metadata Resources by Stephen J. Miller is excellent. It breaks down metadata data standards into their types (structure,content, value,data format, data presentation). It includes a very useful simple diagram of the library metadata universe and a bibliography for the intrepid explorer who wishes to know more.

Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd Edition (AACR2)

Book Industry Standards and Communications System of Classification (BISAC) Subject Headings

Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Books (DCRM(B))

Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC)

Dublin Core (DC)

Encoded Archival Context – Corporate bodies, Persons, and Families (EAC-CPF)

Encoded Archival Description (EAD)

Faceted Application of Subject Terminology (FAST)

Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD)

Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR)

International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD)

International Standard Serials Number

Library of Congress Classification (LCC)

Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRI)

Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)

MARC Standards - Includes MARC code lists

MARC 21 Documentation - Includes mappings


Medical Subject Headings (MeSH)

Metadata Encoding and Transmission (METS)


OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards

ONline Information EXchange (ONIX):

Resource Description and Access (RDA): Library of Congress, Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA (JSC)

Sears Subject Headings

Understanding MARC:

Universal Decimal Classification (UDC)

VRA Core


Machine-Readable Bibliographic Information (MARBI)

Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC)

Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC)



Cataloging Terms A-Z

Library terminology informally explained


Working with MaRC - Lists a variety of applications and modules

Cataloger's Desktop

Cataloging Calculator

Classification Web

RDA Toolkit

Major Dates in Descriptive Metadata

The date of metadata creation affects what type of information is contained within a record as standards have evolved over time. By knowing the dates, at least you know where to go look up the rules for any metadata you happen to be struggling with.

1961 International Conference on Cataloging Principles - "The Paris Principles"
Established agreement on entry and choice of heading for bibliographic records. After this meeting there was increased uniformity among national cataloging practices because many countries rewrote their cataloging codes to conform to these principles. Principles were based on Seymour Lubetzky's work, which was built upon Panizzi and Cutter. There were inconsistencies and different interpretations in the application of the Principles despite agreement on common components of descriptive metadata. National libraries of different nations applied the rules differently.

1967 Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR) published
British and U.S. versions somewhat distinct

1968 MARC pilot project at Library of Congress ends

1969 MARC distribution service at Library of Congress begins

1971 First Draft of International Standard Book Description (ISBD)
There was a need for a uniform standard of application of the Paris Principles. IFLA developed a draft standard, applied immediately by UK, France, and Germany. The standard went through years of refinement. Initially it was applied solely to monographs and morphed into the ISBD(M) ... M standing for monographs and ISBD(G) for general framework. The recognition of various types of library material led to the development of ISBD(S)for serials, (CM) cartographic materials, (NBM) non-book, (PM) printed music, (A) antiquarian, (CP) component parts (i.e. analytics for the contents of works). In 2011, the various ISBDs were consolidated into a single text. ISBD has a major affect on MARC data entry as ISBD punctuation is used in within the fields.

1978 Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd edition (AACR2
Unified British and U.S versions, incorporated ISBD principles. In U.S. it meant a substantial change in the form of headings for corporate bodies.

1988 Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd edition, 1988 revision (AACR2rev)

2002 Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd edition, 2002 revision (AACR2rev2)

2010 Resource Description and Access (RDA) published
Began life as AACR3. Became RDA when change was determined to be so substantial as to merit a fully new text. The name change also reflected the desire to include non Library/Archive/Museum stakeholders in the process of creating the standard.

2011 Consolidated edition International Standard Book Description (ISBD)
The consolidated edition merges the texts of the seven specialized ISBDs (for books, maps, serials, sound recordings, computer files and other electronic resources, etc.) into a single text.