Always confirm details in a dealer description against the originals;
at times there are errors which the curator may or may not have noticed
and/or marked for our attention. If you cannot confirm dealer descriptions
alleged to have been derived from their examination of the originals
(or for that matter, a curator's notes), notify the Manuscript Unit
Head. Discrepancies may or may not need to be noted in the catalog record
itself. At the very least, they should be recorded on the paperwork
that eventually gets filed in the vendor file. While donor notes are
less common, the same standards for confirming specific details should
be applied to the cataloging of gifts.
Typos and obvious errors of fact in DBText ACQ or
records, which you identify in the course of cataloging, should be rectified
as well. The Archives Assistant will be responsible for maintaining
any online files (ACQ and the
files in DB Text). The Archivist,
however, will be responsible for making any corrections to the paper
files, including annotations to file copies of vendor and donor paperwork.
Please note that there is a difference between accessioning practice
and cataloging practice. Accessioning practice is based on describing
the physical nature of the material, and cataloging practice is based on
describing the bibliographical nature of the material. Therefore, the
collation and the descriptive information in the title will sometimes
differ between the accession record and the catalog record (e.g. when an
item is said to have 30 pages in the accession record and 24 pages in
the catalog record. There are 24 pages with writing on them, which is
what matters to catalogers, but there are actually 30 pages present,
with writing or blank, which is what matters to accessioners.
Additional Background Research
Additional background research on materials you are cataloging may be
necessary or desirable. This can include:
- Identifying related materials already in BRBL (cataloged and
- Tracking down accessioning paperwork (vendor and
donor documentation from main files) for materials in the uncat
backlog that are to be cataloged at the same time as new accessions;
- Compiling historical or biographical notes to place materials
in their proper context;
- Doing authority work research on significant individuals
represented in the materials being cataloged;
- Doing simple bibliographic verification against published
versions of texts.
Remember, however, that we
are not necessarily the ones doing the definitive scholarly work on the
items we catalog. Extensive supplementary research beyond the
information at hand should be more the exception than the rule, though
some measure of checking basic reference sources to familiarize
yourself, as needed, with persons and events which pertain to the
material being cataloged should be part of the routine. A general rule
of thumb to follow if additional checking is necessary is to limit
yourself to about one hour. And, as always, consult with the appropriate
curator if doing so would expedite the cataloging process.
Sources of Information for Catalog Records
For collections, follow DACS (see "Sources of Information" for each element):
- For collections with a finding aid, Chief Source of
Information = the finding aid.
- For collections without a finding aid, Chief Source of
Information = provenance and accession records, and the materials
themselves, followed by appropriate reference sources.
For single items, follow APPM (see 1.0B1-2):
- Chief Source of Information = the item
itself. Prefer "title page-type" info (captions, headings,
colophon); otherwise use text itself, then other appropriate
- Follow guidelines in APPM (1.0C) for enclosing in brackets information not derived
from the Chief Source of Information, and for noting conjectural interpolation and indicating
omission of part of a data element by use of an ellipsis ("...").
Certain reference works are stored in the Manuscript Unit, those thought
to be most useful to the unit (atlases, almanacs, dictionaries of different
languages). There are also many useful works in the reference rooms
of the Beinecke and at Sterling that should also be consulted. All of
works in Beinecke's reference collection have been cataloged in Orbis.
It should be noted that we do depend on Sterling's reference room
holdings for many general works which are also very useful for us. We do
have the option to expand our reference holdings as "urgent" needs are
identified, but those books we do purchase come out of the general
Beinecke book fund, so unnecessary duplication is discouraged.
C for a list of works found in the past to be most useful for work
in specific curatorial fields (list in progress).
Cataloging Printed Items with a Manuscript Collection or Item
If there is a printed component to the manuscript item or collection
that the curator has decided should be cataloged by the Rare Book Team,
catalog the manuscript component first and then route the item to the
Rare Book Team through the Manuscript Unit Head. There are generally
two records made with the same call number: the manuscript record and
the printed record. We generally keep these records as separate entities
rather than combining them through format integration, as a manuscript
record added to a printed record would mean that our use of 5xx fields
would be limited to local notes fields, which is undesirable.
Copyright 1997. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
All rights reserved.