Extras - Cataloging Tips: Doin' the Publisher Shuffle

Joni Lynn Cassidy is President/Co-owner/Founder of Cassidy Cataloguing Services, Inc., a small quality-driven company providing contract cataloguing and technical services to law firm, bar association, corporate and special libraries throughout the U.S. and Europe. She founded Cassidy Cataloguing in 1985 and was joined full-time by her "computer wiz" husband, Michael, in 1988. A professional and support staff of 12 serves 75 libraries. Recent projects include the reclassification of the Lillian Goldman Law Library at Yale Law School to Library of Congress classification.

Clark Boardman and Callaghan merged to become "Clark Boardman Callaghan." Then Research Institute of America and Warren, Gorham & Lamont decided to swap titles. Matthew Bender acquired Shepard's citators, which previously bore the imprint "Shepard's/McGraw-Hill." And now we're invited to share the futuristic vision of The West Group.

What's a cataloger to do? First, we should all recognize the job security issues involved in publisher mergers. Then we can address the business of communicating those changes to our users in an efficient and understandable manner.

This is what the catalogers at Cassidy Cataloguing do :

  1. Determine the current publisher and place of publication.
  2. In the bibliographic MARC record, change the place of publication in the fixed field to reflect the current publisher's location.
  3. In the bibliographic MARC record, change the 260 field (includes place of publication, publisher, and date of publication) to show the current publishing information, but leaving the dates of publication intact.
  4. In the bibliographic MARC record, add a note field (500 field) which gives the publishing history for the title, including places of publication, names of publishers, and corresponding dates of publication.

I will hasten to point out that this is actually the opposite of what is considered the correct, Library-of- Congress-approved, method of dealing with publisher changes. "...show variations in chief sources of information of subsequent parts in notes..." (AACR2 1.0H2)

We adopted our policy because so many integrated library software systems "borrow" publisher information from the bibliographic record, the catalog or OPAC record, for use in the serials check-in portion of the software. For that reason, we feel it is most important to reflect the current publisher information in the publisher field (260 field), not in a note field.

Most of our client libraries configure their OPACs to display a brief record, rather than a full MARC record, to insure quick and accurate interpretation of the information by the end-user. Such brief displays may or may not include notes, but the publisher field will always be present. Again, we are shifting priorities. We think the successful dissemination of bibliographic information to the users should take precedence over the cataloging "Rules of order" in this case.

To discuss this, or any other cataloging issues, please feel free to e-mail me at joni@cassidycat.com.