Analytical cataloguing – or Tables of Contents in records

Sometimes I have to say that I love Twitter!

Cataloguing as a solo librarian is hard.  You can’t just turn to your neighbour and say, “so what shall we do about…”  I tried discussing the problem with library users and volunteers and they all agreed that it was indeed a problem and there was various ways I could solve it, but they couldn’t possibly give an opinion on which…

My problem is that I have a lot of books with very vague titles such as “Tales of Railwaymen” then have lots of much more descriptive titles inside.  Then in a similar problem, I have a whole set of bound pamphlets called “Tracts volume X” with lovely, unique random things hidden inside behind that very dull title.  So I need a way of reflecting all that hidden content on the catalogue.

I couldn’t decide whether I needed to make one catalogue record for each article in a book and put “bound in Tales of the Railwaymen” somewhere, or whether I needed to make one record of “Tales of the Railwaymen” and put “includes x, y and z” somewhere.

So I turned to Twitter and posted:
Does anyone else try to catalogue articles within books written by different people? And in what MARC field? #cataloguing #cataloging

In return Katie Birkwood (@Girlinthe) helpfully said:
@MiningLibrarian
I think that’s called analytic cataloguing, and the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge do it. >
And even better, she retweeted my question to her followers.

Since then I have had fantastic replies from five different librarians with ideas about how they work with this in their collections.

Turns out, I had completely the wrong idea on which MARC field to use and what I needed was 505 (Formatted Contents Note) which is for “Titles of separate works or parts of an item or the table of contents”.  This can be used to create huge lists of contents (as @lynncorrigan proved with an example from Edinburgh Napier).

As a further complication though Celine Carty did warn that this can cause filing problems as it doesn’t have the option to ignore non-filing characters at the start of $t as you can in 245.  Her solution is to use the 505a with added entries in 700 and 740.

So my final solution is to make a record for “Tales of the Railwaymen” then to add in 505a the list of what it has in it, “Cards and Characters / Reg Coote — High Days at Holloway / George Case……” then to add 700 and 740 entries for each of those.  It sounds like a lot of work but now at least I know what needs to be done and I can write a set of rules and a training sheet on it, and volunteers can learn to carry it out!

A further solution offered for the Tracts collection, is to create a record and an item for each tract in the volume, then use 501 to say “bound with 20 other Tracts on accidents” then give a location of “Tracts vol 52.”

Finally, it would be great to make some changes on the OPAC display so that all these carefully created notes aren’t hidden away behind the Notes tab on display.  Hmm, a further thing to work on.

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2 Comments

Filed under cataloguing

2 responses to “Analytical cataloguing – or Tables of Contents in records

  1. Happy to have helped! Thanks for writing this up – it’s useful to have notes like these available, as the useful information that’s passed on on Twitter so quickly becomes impossible to find.

  2. 505 notes are much more straightforward than analytical entries, where you catalogue lots of separate items (children) and link them to a ‘parent’ record for the actual bound volume. (I used to do those, but borrowers got confused by them, and withdrawing a parent-and-child collection was extremely timeconsuming.) From time to time I get Victorian volumes of songs, bound by the original owner. Very dull to input, but the contents are sometimes interesting enough to make up for it. Incidentally, I recently asked on Twitter what these volumes were called in the rare book trade, and I was advised that in special collection terms, they were “composite volumes”, “Sammelband” (that’s the singular), or “tract volumes” – even if they weren’t bound collections of tracts.

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