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Libraries Policies: Cataloging Policies
      Access Points on Bibliographic Records

  1. Definition of Access Points
    For the purposes of this document, Access Points are used to mean fields in MARC bibliographic records that are defined as "retrievable". This includes main and added author entries, series entries, subject headings, titles, uniform titles, and variant titles. Certain numeric fields (e.g. ISBN, bibliographic control number) are also access points, but because there is no judgement involved in deciding whether to include them in a bibliographic record, such access points are not covered by this document.

  2. Rules and Factors Governing Provision of Access Points
    The provision of access points to bibliographic records is governed by the current editions of the Anglo American Cataloguing Rules, the Library of Congress Rule Interpretations, the Library of Congress Subject Cataloging Manual, relevant MARC formats, and local policy. Local policy is influenced by local catalog software, staffing, record source, user constituency, and past experience. Staffing levels, for instance, determine CUB's capacity to carry out routine alteration of records copied from bibliographic networks.

  3. Limitations to Number of Access Points
    In a card catalog environment where card production, filing, and drawer space were important logistical issues, it was necessary to limit the number of access points provided for a given record for both logistical and theoretical reasons. In an online catalog environment, limiting the number of access points is no longer so important for logistical reasons, but there are still valid reasons to exercise restraint in the provision of access points to bibliographic records.

  4. Requesting Additional Access Points
    Many records in the catalog were produced under policies of strict limitation of access points. Most records were copied from bibliographic networks, using the work of other libraries that have their own local policies on providing access points. In recognition of the age and "mixed heritage" of records in our catalog, suggestions for additional access points to records in the catalog are welcome, (see BIBLIOGRAPHIC MAINTENANCE GUIDELINES for how to submit), but Technical Services reserves the right to judge whether suggested additional access points are necessary, desirable, or correct. In the case of records produced by a cataloging unit outside Technical Services, decisions other than those that have to do with database and catalog structure will usually be referred to the responsible unit.

  5. Commonly Requested Types of Additional Access Points
    When deciding whether to request an additional access point, consider the following:
    • Added Entries vs Cross References:
      Added entries are not made from variants or related terms that are more properly handled with cross references.

    • General vs Specific subject headings:
      If there is a specific subject heading that accurately/adequately portrays the content of a work, a general subject heading is NOT also assigned. (e.g. if Kiowa Indians is coterminous with the subject of the work, the heading Indians of North America is not also used). Use of general headings on some works builds user expectation that such terms will be present in all cases. Even if it were possible to add general headings throughout the database, it would be undesirable because searches for general topics would yield unmanageable results, and would include numerous items that did not satisfy the search.

    • Variant Titles:
      Title added entries can legitimately be made from subtitles, title/subtitle combinations, titles from covers, etc., so long as the title appears on the piece in a non-obscure way, and so long as the source of the variant version of the title is clear from the bibliographic record. BUT: Works sometimes become known by "nicknames" that do not appear on the items. e.g. The Anglo-American Cataloging Rules were commonly known as "The Blue Book", and the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd ed., 1988 revision is known as "AACR2R", though neither "The Blue Book" nor "AACR2R" appears in the works in question. Such title added entries are not made unless a case can be made for creating a "Uniform title" (cf. AACR2R 25.1A), or unless they are covered by specific LC Rule Interpretations (see LCRI 12.7B4 governing "nicknames" for serials).

    • Special Characters:
      Added entries are often made for spelled-out versions of titles, corporate names, etc., that contain special characters. The purpose of such added entries is to accommodate shortcomings in machine filing and searching capabilities. e.g. A French title with an ampersand will be transcribed as is in the title field, and a variant title added entry is made in which the ampersand is replaced with "et".

Related Documents: Bibliographic Maintance Guidelines