The Context and General Principles of Beinecke Cataloging
(Approved for use February 29, 2000; revised September 30, 2008)

Yale's online public access catalog, Orbis, is the catalog in which currently produced and already reconned Beinecke cataloging records reside. New records must be intelligible and accessible in this context. Orbis includes a wide variety of records of various levels of accuracy, consistency, and encoding level.

The card-form records that resided in the SML Public and Official Catalogs and in the Beinecke catalogs were created over many decades and represented several generations of descriptive cataloging rules and subject headings practice. The recon records based on these card-form records likewise represent diverse cataloging practices as do the recon records for other libraries in OCLC. The recon records produced by Retro-Link Associates superimposed ISBD prescribed punctuation on pre-ISBD records. The cataloging rules followed in "hit" records used for recon may not be the same as those used in the corresponding card form records. Access points in Orbis are far from consistent despite on-going authority control processing of name and subject headings by MARS.

Encoding levels (fixed field Encoding Level) for Orbis records reflect the variety of types and fullness of bibliographical records in Orbis; generally the higher the number the lower the level. Kinds of records and their corresponding encoding levels include but are not limited to: provisional records created on the fly for circulation or acquisitions (Encoding Level 5), permanent, less-than-full bibliographic records (including minimal level (Encoding Level 7), retrospective conversion records (Encoding Level 1), core records (Encoding Level 4)), and full-level records for fully cataloged items (Encoding Level blank).

Current Yale cataloging policy favors a single-record approach for multiple copies of the same bibliographical entity, but multiple records for the same entity abound in Orbis because of former policies for cataloging in RLIN, in which different libraries had separate RLIN library identitifiers, and as a result of specifications for the Beinecke recon project done by Retro-Link Associates, in which separate card-form records resulted in separate Orbis records. Sometimes separate records are deliberately created when record amalgamation would result in records that are too complex and confusing to users. No systematic effort is made to eliminate multiple records unless they are duplicate records for the same copy, in which case one of the records should be deleted after insuring that the remaining record is accurate and complete.

Original cataloging for Beinecke is according to the latest national standards, i.e. AACR2 2nd ed. rev. or DCRM(B) as interpreted by the Library of Congress, with appropriate LC subject headings and additional notes and tracings according to Beinecke Library practice. Where there are optional provisions in AACR2, the LC option is generally followed. Original cataloging should show a high level of consistency. Most original cataloging for Beinecke is full-level with all required access points and MARC fields. Core or minimal level records with fewer or no subject headings or added entries, but otherwise complete description, are made in some instances. Collection level records are made for pamphlet boxes and may be made for other collections if agreed to by the appropriate curator.

Copy cataloging for Beinecke is not always according to the standards followed in original cataloging. Sometimes good pre-AACR2 copy is used. Access points, however, should be consistent with NACO or LC name, subject, and series authorities. Descriptions must be accurate according to the rules followed and correspond to the Beinecke copy. Copy may be upgraded to AACR2 or DCRM(B), but need not be upgraded if it accurately describes the Beinecke copy with sufficient fullness. Cataloger's judgment is called for in determining what if anything in copy needs to be changed. Trivial changes should be avoided. Current full-level or core-level Library of Congress cataloging copy can generally be accepted as is, and pre-AACR2 Library of Congress copy can be accepted as long as it accurately describes the edition in hand and access points are in accordance with latest standards. Additional notes and access points are added when called for by Beinecke cataloging policies (e.g. provenance is noted and traced). Any changes to non-locally tagged fields in copy or the addition of any fields other than 590 and 9xx necessitate the addition of ‡d CtY-BR in 040.

OCLC member copy needs closer scrutiny than LC copy. Some member copy is of uniformly high quality (most notably American Antiquarian Society copy). American Antiquarian Society records often make more generous use of the 655 field than Beinecke records normally do. Additional standard access points such as 655 fields should be left in the record provided they pertain to the copy being cataloged. All local tracings that do not pertain to the copy in hand should be deleted.

English Short Title Catalogue (ESTC) records in OCLC present a special situation for copy cataloging. Generally these records are preferred over OCLC records for bibliographical entities falling within the scope of ESTC (British imprints and all English language titles through 1800). These records are upgraded to DCRM(B), appropriate LC subject headings and Beinecke special notes and tracings are added, and a 510 field giving the ESTC number is added (e.g. 510 4 :‡a ESTC ‡c T1892). New holdings of titles within the scope of Wing and/or ESTC are reported to Wing and/or ESTC.

Added copies of the same bibliographic entity are added to existing full bibliographical records in Orbis whenever this is practicable. Only in exceptional cases where adding a Beinecke copy to an existing record would create confusion should a separate record be created. When adding new copies to RLA recon records, make sure that the existing record is cleaned up according to the latest cleanup policy. When the size or some other peculiarity of the new copy differs from the description of the existing copy, note the difference in a local note. If the differences indicate a different edition or issue, a separate record would be called for. Added copies need not be compared with the cataloged copy unless problems are apparent that could be resolved by comparison.