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Cataloging Online Books
Copy Cataloging &Variant Format Cataloging

To: Cataloging Staff
From: Matthew Beacom/Youn Noh. Rev. S. Arakawa for CCC/CPDC
Date: (12/2006 issue date/ 09/26/2011 9:59 AM revision date)


This document [formerly Cataloging Online Books: Reproductions] has been revised to be consistent with General Website Cataloging Policies & Procedures instituted Feb. 2008 & the PCC Guidelines for Provider-Neutral e-Monographs instituted in the fall of 2011.

SCOPE. Our documentation has separate cataloging guidelines provided for electronic resources depending upon (1) mode of access, (2) mode of issuance, and (3) availability of source copy. The primary focus of this document is on electronic reproductions of monographic works accessed online, or monographic works that are issued concurrently online and in a print version. This document applies if all of the following conditions are met:

  1. The resource is a remote access electronic resource.
  2. Accessibility of the resource meets the conditions described in General Website Cataloging Policies & Procedures (items c. & f.) Regarding item f.: conditions are not met if the site requires the user to log on.
  3. The resource is issued as a monograph. It is not updated.
  4. Cataloging copy is available for the resource, or there is cataloging copy available for the print version.

These guidelines may be used for updating existing cataloging copy or for creating variant format original cataloging, i.e., creation of a new record in Orbis or OCLC derived from the record for the print version.

Remote Access vs. Direct Access

Remote access electronic resources are accessed over a computer network such as the Internet. Direct access electronic resources have a physical carrier (AACR2 Appendix D, Glossary). See, for example, Census 2000, Summary File 1, available on DVD (a direct access electronic resource) and (a remote access electronic resource) online. A bibliographic record should be created for each format.* Guidelines for cataloging CDs, DVDs, and other direct access electronic resources are available.

Monographs vs. Integrating Resources

Some monographs in print format become integrating resources when issued online because they are continually or frequently updated and updates are integrated into the whole. Compare, for example, Encyclopedia of American Foreign Policy (a monograph) and Wikipedia (an integrating resource). Guidelines for cataloging online integrating resources are available.

Born-Digital vs. Variant Format Cataloging

Based on the 2009 PCC guidelines, generally consider any online monograph with the same content as the print version* to be a candidate for variant format cataloging. Online monographs with no print version counterpart should be cataloged following the PCC guidelines for born-digital cataloging.

*Print version can include: physical printed books, microform, CD-ROM. The print version can pre-date release of the online book or be published simultaneously with the online version.

If an online monograph has a bibliographic record for the print version, it should be cataloged using the "separate record"* approach: a bibliographic record for the print version is modified to create a separate bibliographic record for the online monograph.

*In contrast, the "single record" approach has the cataloger add the URL for the online resource to the bibliographic record for the original.

If the cataloging is done in Orbis, download an OCLC record for the print version to use as the basis for the e-book record. Be sure to delete the 035 with the OCLC master record number before you save into Orbis from the import file. Be careful not to merge with an existing record already in Orbis.

If there is a record for the print version in Orbis, you can use the Orbis copy command to make a copy of the print version's record to use as the basis for the e-book record. Do not modify the record for the print version!

Before proceeding with cataloging, enter the 856 field into the bibliographic record and test the URL provided by the selector. Verify that the URL meets condition 2. If it does not, contact the selector, acquisitions, or your supervisor as appropriate. Do not proceed with cataloging until condition 2 is met [the resource cannot require payment and the URL must be able to point directly to the title cited in 245]. Note that some sites will allow direct access only after you log on; this does not meet condition 2. Until the issues are resolved, the in-process record should be suppressed.

Copy Cataloging Guidelines. At the end of each section, guidelines for copy cataloging are provided in an indented paragraph if any editing needs to be made to the member record.

Variant Format Cataloging Guidelines. This document will go step-by-step through the editing of the source record for the print version in order to convert it to a record for the e-version.

856 - Electronic Location and Access

Create an 856 field to provide access to the resource.

Generally create and test the 856 field before proceeding with cataloging. Consult with supervisor if the link does not work.

Code the first indicator 4 to specify that the access method is HTTP. Code the second indicator 0 (zero) to specify that the URL provides direct access to the resource described in the body of the record. Enter Online book in subfield y for the link text. In subfield u, copy and paste the URL as it appears either from the search window or the selector e-mail. If the URL changes from session to session, copy the link location by moving the cursor above the link text, right-clicking on the mouse, and selecting copy link location. If the publisher provides a URL for bookmarking or linking, use that.

After saving the record, test the link, primarily to verify that the URL was transcribed accurately. If cataloging on Orbis, either use ctrl-k or from the Record menu click on Verify Hypertext links. The link will appear in a test window; click on the link to verify. If the link does not work, or if it does not take you directly to the resource to be described in the bibliographic record (for example, the link sends you to a website portal or requires a log in by the user), or if the resource requires payment before the user can access it, do not proceed with cataloging until the access issues are resolved. Until the problem is resolved, suppress the record from the OPAC.

245 0 0 ‡a Between grammar and lexicon ‡h [electronic resource] / ‡c edited by Ellen Contini-Morava, Yishai Tobin.
856 4 0 ‡y Online book ‡u <URL>


Copy Cataloging Guidelines. Delete all 856 fields from the cataloging record. Enter the Yale 856 URL following the guidelines above.

Fixed Fields


Leader Image

Supply a value for Type of Record that reflects the predominant content of the resource. Online books should be coded a (Language material) even when they include search software and hyperlinks.

Since online resources are considered published (AACR2 9.4B2), do not use codes for manuscript material. For example, an online dissertation is coded a (Language material) rather than t (Manuscript language material).

When cataloging on Orbis, use Encoding Level 4, the default from Feb. 2008.

CAUTION. When cataloging on OCLC, use E/Lvl K.

Variant Format Cataloging

008 - General Description


The value supplied for Type of Record in the leader triggers the type of 008. For online books, that type is Book.

Click the 008 button. When necessary, provide or change the coding when necessary for: Publication Information, Form of Item, Language, Modified Record Code, and Cataloging Source. Retain publication information for the print version, and verify that it describes the source of the e-monograph being cataloged. For example, if the record for the print version describes a revised edition, the content for the e-monograph should be for the same revised edition. Form of Item should always be coded o (Online) [formerly coded s Electronic Resource). Modified Record Code should be coded _ (Not modified). Cataloging Source should be coded d (Other).

007 - Physical Description


Create an 007 to describe the physical medium of the resource.

Click the 007 button, select the Computer file tab, and click New. Specific Material Designation is always coded r (Remote). No Attempt to Code should be selected for the other fields.

006 - Additional Material Characteristics

006 image

Create a 006. Click the 006 button, select the Computer File tab, and click New. For ebooks, Type of File should be coded d (Document). Target audience can be unknown or | No Attempt to Code. Code the Govt Publication field as applicable.

Copy Cataloging Policy:

  • Accept the leader coding as given on cataloging copy with one exception: the Type of Record must be a [language material] not m [computer file]; this may have an impact on retrieval. If it is necessary to change the Type of record code, other fixed fields will need to be filled in. For online dissertations use Type of Record a rather than t.
  • Verify that the 008 Form of Item code is o [If the Form of Item is coded s; change to o]
  • Always create an 007 for c (Computer file) if not found on cataloging copy.
  • It is not necessary to create a 006.
  • Otherwise leave the fixed fields as is.
  • When searching, prefer a record with the codes used in current cataloging, all things being equal.

Variable Fields

Do not retain bibliographic data for the original in the following fields:

  • 010 - LCCN
  • 035 - System Number
  • 040 - Cataloging Source
  • 079 - Post-reclamation Master Record ID for the print version

Retain bibliographic data appropriate to the work being reproduced in the following areas:

  • 245 - Title Area
  • 250 - Edition Area
  • 260 - Publication Area
  • 6XX - Subjects
  • 7XX - Added Entries
  • 4XX/830 - Series
Verify that the subjects are authorized. Provide additional bibliographic data for the e-book, as instructed below.

In some examples, an 856 link is provided. Follow the link provided in the 856 field to examine the resource being described. The text <URL> is used in place of the URL that would appear in the record.

020 - ISBN

Replace the print ISBN with the e-ISBN. Add the ISBN for the print version in $z if the publisher has included the print ISBN on the e-monograph. If it is unclear whether the ISBN applies to the e-version or the print-version, enter the ISBN in $a. The following example is from a vendor-supplied record derived from OCLC. The vendor stripped off the 13-digit ISBN but retained the qualifier for the 10 digit number; the retention of the form qualifier should be sufficient verification that the number should be entered in 020 $a.


020     ‡a 0585052956 (electronic book)
245 1 0 ‡a Bhagavad-Gita, or, Song celestial ‡h [electronic resource] / ‡c by Hindu sources ; translated by Sir Edwin Arnold.
856 4 0 ‡y Online book ‡u <URL>


040 - Cataloging Source

The cataloger should replace the data in the 040 with his or her unit's MARC identifier in subfields a and c, as shown.

As far as the utilities and our statistics are concerned, variant edition cataloging is original cataloging.

040     ‡a CtY ‡c CtY
245 1 0 ‡a Inside the Japanese company ‡h [electronic resource] / ‡c Fiona Graham.
856 4 0 ‡y Online book ‡u <URL>


050 - Library of Congress Call Number

Retain from existing copy. The first indicator should be blank. The second indicator should be coded 4. Leave out $b and anything to the right of $b. In the absence of a 050, an 090 may be used as the source for the classification number. (Use 050 _4 to enter the 090 class number)

050   4 ‡a DG253.S4
100 1   ‡a Astin, A. E.
245 1 0 ‡a Scipio Aemilianus ‡h [electronic resource] / ‡c by A.E. Astin.
856 4 0 ‡y Online book ‡u <URL>

If a class number is not readily available, do not supply one.

245/246 - Title Area

Give the general material designation (GMD) electronic resource in subfield h, immediately after the title proper, i.e., following any alternative title or part number (subfield n) or name (subfield p) but preceding any parallel title(s) or other title information (subfield b) (AACR2 9.1C).

245 0 0 ‡a Struggles in the promised land ‡h [electronic resource] : ‡b toward a history of Black-Jewish relations in the United States / ‡c edited by Jack Salzman & Cornel West.
856 4 0 ‡y Online book ‡u URL





245 0 0 ‡a Psalterion ‡h [electronic resource] = ‡b Psalterium : juxta exemplar Alexandrinum.
856 4 0 ‡y Online book ‡u URL




245 1 0 ‡a Canada. ‡n Part II, ‡p the history from 1763-1921‡h [electronic resource] / ‡c by Hugh E. Egerton.
856 4 0 ‡y Online book ‡u URL




Copy Cataloging Policy: The GMD computer file may appear in records created before 2001. Leave the GMD as found on cataloging copy. The GMD will be updated, if necessary, when the record is processed by MARS. If for some reason the cataloging copy lacks $h, enter it as [electronic resource].

If the e-monograph has source copy but the e-version has additional variant titles, enter the variants in 246 13.

245 1 0 ‡a A+ certification training guide ‡h [electronic resource] / ‡c Charles J. Brooks.
246 1 3 ‡a A+ training guide.
856 4 0 ‡y Online book ‡u <URL>

In general, retain 246 fields that were on the print record. Re-tag them to 246 13 -- in some systems, the indicators on the original record may generate labels referring to the physical book.

Make additional 246 fields for variant forms of the title found on the e-version if they would aid in retrieval of the record. Tag these as 246 1_$i Available from some providers with title: $a <title>

When entering 246, do not include $h. Do not end 246 with a period.

If there is no source copy for the printed resource on which to base the online record, the cataloging does not fall into the online reproduction category. The online e-monograph in that case should be cataloged as born-digital original cataloging, a different workflow.

250 - Edition

Retain the edition statement for the print edition.

Copy Cataloging Policy. Delete provider-specific edition statements. (Hypothetical example: our link is to the Oxford University Press site, but the record has 250 Brill online ed.) Do not add edition statements for our provider.

256 - Computer File Characteristics

This field is obsolete. File characteristics are described in a note.

Copy Cataloging Policy: Leave if found on cataloging copy.

260 - Publisher Statement

Retain from the printed version.

Copy Cataloging Policy. If the cataloging copy has a different e-book provider in 260, change it to match the 260 of the printed version.

300 - Physical Description

Replace the print version's 300 with a 300 for the e-version. Always begin with 1 online resource. Add pagination in parentheses only if the e-book has pagination. Go with the last numbered page; it is not necessary to include plates in the numbering. Add $b if appropriate--don't assume that if the print version has illustrations the e-book will, or that if the print version illustrations are color the e-book illustrations are color. Do not make or keep a $c or a $e. If there is no closing punctuation, end the field with a period.

300     ‡a 1 online resource.

300     ‡a 1 online resource (325 p.)

300     ‡a 1 online resource (100 p.) : ‡b ill. (some col.)

Copy Cataloging Policy. It is not necessary to add a 300 or modify an existing 300 to the PCC standard.

490 -- Series

Retain series statements from the print edition, including the print ISSN ($x).

Copy cataloging policy. If there is a provider series statement, delete it (and the corresponding 830, if there is one). When in doubt whether the series is for a provider or is a true publisher series, retain the series.

5XX - Notes

Notes that apply only to the original can be left as is.

Add the following notes.

530 - Other Formats Note

If cataloging is done on OCLC, use the PCC guidelines and make a 776 field rather than a 530.

If cataloging is done on Orbis, make the 530 only if Yale owns the print version.

530     ‡a Print version available.

Description based on. NEW. As the last note, make a DBO note for the version used as the cataloging source. As of Oct. 1, 2011, use 588 __ instead of 500 for the DBO notes for e-monographs. Continue to use 500 for cataloging the print version.

588     ‡a Description based on print version.


588     ‡a Description based on microfilm version.

590 -- Local Note

Add a local note on access unless the e-book is not licensed.

590     ‡a Access is available to the Yale community.

Copy Cataloging Guidelines. It is not necessary to add the DBO note. Retain 530 on member copy only if Yale owns the item in the format described in the note. Add the 590 note. There are a number of 5xx fields that are now obsolete when cataloging e-books; they can be left in the record. If a note refers to an online provider that is not ours, delete it.


Per the PCC guidelines, the following notes formerly used in e-book cataloging are now obsolete:

500/540. Notes about the e-book provider(s).

506 [Access restricted by licensing agreement]

516 [Type of computer files, e.g. Images, text.]

530 Also available in print version. (Not used by pcc, but included if YUL has a printed copy)

533. Reproduction note.

538. Mode of access: World Wide Web.

540. Terms of use.

583. Action note.

Access Points

Check subject (6XX), name (1XX/7XX), title (7XX), and series (4XX/830) headings against the authority file for currency and accuracy.

Delete subjects with the subdivision --Specimens.

Copy Cataloging Guidelines. In the copy cataloging workflow, subjects are not checked.

7XX - Title Added Entries and Linking Entries

Do not make added entries for the provider.

Copy Cataloging Guidelines. If there are any 7xxs that are obviously for a provider that is not ours, delete them. Do not add 7xxs for our provider. When in doubt, retain the 7xx.

If cataloging on OCLC, make a 776 linking field to the OCLC record for the print version. For the time being, cataloging in Orbis will not make the 776 linking field.

For OCLC instructions in using the Insert from Cited Record command, click here and use Find in Page to search "Insert from Cited Record."

830 - Series Added Entries

Retain series added entries for the print series. Generally it is not necessary to make series added entries for the e-version unless the publisher is also the provider. When in doubt, do not make a distinct series added entry for the e-version; the 830 for the printed series is considered sufficient.

Copy Cataloging Guidelines. If there is any series that is for a provider that is not ours, delete it. Do not add series for our provider. When in doubt whether the series is for a provider, retain it.

MFHD <new location code>

In the MFHD, create an 852 field with first indicator 8 and second indicator 0 (zero). Enter the location code yulintx for Yale Internet Resource in subfield b. Do not provide a call number in subfield h; simply enter None. Add Online resource as a public note in subfield z. Formerly, the location code for all online resources was yulint; yulint is now used only with vendor supplied cataloging, which cannot be exported to OCLC. When YUL catalogs the records, we want them to be exported to OCLC; location code yulintx will be flagged for export once it has returned from MARS.

852 8 0 ‡b yulintx ‡h None ‡z Online resource


Upon completion of cataloging, export the bibliographic record to MARS by clicking Send in the ExportQ window with the bibliographic record open.

If there special copyright restrictions on the e-version, use yulint rather than yulintx. There should be a note with the selector cataloging request regarding any restrictions on access. It's not expected that it will happen frequently. Enter a note in 948 if it cannot be exported.

948 __ $a DO NOT EXPORT


Source of Title Note for Internet Resources

Cataloging Online Books (Born-Digital)

Cataloging Online Integrating Resources

General Website Cataloging Policies & Procedures

Provider-Neutral E-Monograph MARC Record Guide (Rev. version, Oct. 1, 2011)

588 Field for Online Monographs (Oct. 1, 2011)


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