UCB Libraries


Libraries Policies: Cataloging Policies
      Use of Bibliographic Copy

  1. The University of Colorado Libraries uses pre-existing cataloging copy as the basis of its cataloging records in order to:

    • Save Time. In general, cataloging an item based on copy (copy cataloging) takes a fraction of the time that cataloging the same item originally would take.
    • Save Money. In general, copy cataloging is handled by support staff, while original cataloging is handled by Libraries faculty. This, combined with the time saved by using copy, makes copy cataloging much less expensive than original cataloging.
  2. Because of the economy of copy cataloging, every reasonable effort is made to acquire bibliographic copy prior to an item's being cataloged.

    • Items are searched against sources that are likely to produce copy.
    • Items for which a first search has not resulted in copy found may be held and searched again.
  3. Use of pre-existing copy is not an end in itself. It is instead a practice designed to serve local purposes. For this reason, whenever the general policy of using copy does not result in a time or cost savings, or when it interferes with other priorities or purposes of the Libraries, materials are cataloged originally. For example:

    • If an item is needed immediately, even if copy might soon or eventually become available, it is cataloged originally.
    • An item is searched only against those sources that might reasonably produce copy. The more difficult an item may be to catalog, the more diligent the search for copy.
    • Certain items (belles lettres with established authors without series, for example) are so uncomplicated to catalog that holding them and conducting a second search for copy may be more expensive than cataloging them originally. (The ability to handle such materials depends on the original cataloging workload)
    • If a search yields only copy for a variant edition (such as copy for a translation), changes to the copy may be so extensive that original cataloging would be less complicated.
  4. When a search yields poor quality OCLC copy for the item in hand, the item may be a candidate for the OCLC Enhance program, and it is routed accordingly.

  5. The amount and value of cost and time savings in cataloging varies with the particular instance or category of items. Determination of which items or categories of items not to search further, or which to catalog originally despite the availability of copy requires judgement, informed by current circumstances.

Related Documents: Bibliographic Network Use in Cataloging

Additional Descriptors: Copy Cataloging; Searching for Copy; Original Cataloging