University Libraries

Cataloging Policy

The Catalog Unit of the Brooks Library is the administrative unit of the library that catalogs and classifies materials.  The Catalog Unit delivers a fundamental public service by providing intellectual access to the Library’s collections.  It is the function of cataloging to organize library materials for access by patrons, which includes other library staff as well as the users of the library.  Access by patrons includes both physical browsing of the shelved materials as well as access by means of the catalog.  The Catalog Unit strikes a balance between following national and international standards for bibliographic records (so that records will be appropriate for inclusion in the international bibliographic utility OCLC and the consortial requirements of the Orbis Cascade Alliance) versus adapting and enhancing records to best meet the needs of local patrons and for inclusion in the CWU Library catalog.

In addition to these primary duties, the Catalog Unit performs physical processing, monographic binding and rebinding, bar coding, security stripping, retrospective conversion, transfers and withdraws, and re-cataloging duties.

Cataloging Standards

In order to make the cataloging of individual items as inexpensive and expeditious as possible, and recognizing that conforming to national standards is essential for any library in a shared cataloging environment, the Catalog Unit follows Library of Congress (LC) practice whenever it can be ascertained.  Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd edition, 2002 revision (AACR2) and the Library of Congress' interpretations of AACR2 are followed.  However, if the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) practice conflicts with LC interpretations, OCLC practice is followed.  

AACR2 third level (i.e. full-level) description is used for all records input into OCLC.  The unit attempts to edit local catalog records to reflect full-level AACR2 description.  However, the individual cataloger may determine if such editing is of sufficient value to justify the effort expended.

The Brooks Library Catalog Unit recognizes the contractual and ethical obligations of the Library to OCLC, and through OCLC to the national and international library community.  Inputting bibliographic data into OCLC at Level 1 is a part of this obligation.  The OCLC guideline "When to Input a New Record" is followed.  

The LC classification schedules and their updates are followed for all current cataloging and re-cataloging except for most government publications, children’s literature materials, and media formats (e.g. DVDs, audio CDs, Microforms).

Decisions regarding re-classification of material will be made in consultation with area specialist.  If the actual location is at variance with the classification, a note will be added to the copy holdings screen.

LC authority files and practice are followed if available.  OCLC authority records are imported into the local catalog when available.  When not available, authority records are created and MARC authority formats are followed.

The following is a list of the aids utilized by the Catalog Unit:

A.    Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd edition, 2002 revision
B.    Library of Congress Rule Interpretations
C.    Library of Congress Cataloging Service Bulletin
D.    US MARC Bibliographic Format
E.    US MARC Authority Format
F.    Library of Congress Subject Headings
G.    Library of Congress Subject Heading Manual
H.    Library of Congress Subject Cataloging: Manual Shelflisting
I.    Library of Congress Classification Schedules
J.    OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards
K.    OCLC Technical Bulletins
L.    Innopac Millennium Manuals and protocols
M.    Cutter-Sanborn Three-Figure Author Table
N.    Classification and Shelflisting Manual
O.    LC authority files and practice are followed
P.    Describing Music Materials
Q.    Cataloging of Audiovisual Materials and Other Special Materials

Location Codes

The assignment of locations is by decision of the Collection Development librarian and is often predetermined by the physical format of the item.  The following additional criteria apply when assigning location codes:


Audio CDs are housed in the Music Library.  Data CDs are generally accompanying materials and are shelved and circulated with the item.  Government document data CDs are the responsibility of the Government Publications unit.

DVDs and VHS Taps

Moving image materials are housed in the Circulation and Media Services unit.

Children's Literature

Based on the decision of the Collection Development librarian, materials are designated to this collection.

Electronic Resources

The following electronic resources are routinely cataloged:

Paid resources in any electronic format, whether acquired by an individual library or cooperative purchase (e.g., aggregator titles or individual titles); Online access included free with paid print subscription; selected free Internet resources: indexes & databases, journals, monographs; web sites.


Oversized materials are housed in Closed Stacks on the 1st floor and available for patrons from the Circulation service desk.


These items are housed on the 3rd floor in the Government Publications Unit and are the responsibility of the Government Publications unit.

Microformat Materials

These items are housed on the 3rd floor in the Government Publications Unit  Federal documents in microformat are the responsibility of the Government Publications unit and generally have SuDocs classification numbers.  Other microformat materials, especially microfiche and microfilm are handled by the Catalog Unit.  These materials include:

  • Microfiche accession numbers of MH
  • Microfilm accession numbers of MM
  • Microcard/print accession numbers of MP


The unit follows the Library of Congress practice of creating separate bibliographic records for periodicals which are issued in different physical formats.


The ALA Glossary of Library and Information Science (1981) defines a reference book as a "book designed by the arrangement and treatment of its subject matter to be consulted for definite items of information rather than to be read consecutively."  The Coordinator of Reference Services will be consulted if there is a question regarding a book's designation as "Reference."  When there are problems with shelf space in the Reference Collection, older editions of a title may be rotated to the main collection while the latest edition is placed in the Reference Collection.  Titles in this category are designated as Latest Edition in Reference.

Sound Recordings

Musical sound recordings are located in the Music Library (4th floor).  These materials include:

  • Records/LPs: accession numbers of RD
  • Cassettes: accession numbers of MC
  • Compact Discs: accession numbers of CD

Special Collections/Rare

The Special Collections consist of those materials selected by the Collection Development librarian or Archivist/Special Collections Librarian.  The collection includes materials about the local region and CWU.  If a second copy is acquired, it is placed in the open stacks in the appropriate location unless otherwise specified.

Office Locations for Unit Materials

Unitl materials in library offices are integrated into our online catalog.  These items are assigned a location indicating that they are shelved in the unit and suppressed from public view.

Subscription Bibliographic Records

The Catalog Unit is responsible for the management of bibliographic records from subscription services such as those provided by:

  • Marcive: United States publications
  • Serials Solutions: Subscription electronic serials and journals
  • Orbis Cascade Alliance: ebook project for demand driven acquisition

Rush Request for in Process Materials

Materials that have the status "In Process" can be made ready for circulation to a patron at their request.  Patrons fill out a “CWU Library Request Card” with the Circulation Unit.  Circulation sends the “CWU Library Request Card” to the Catalog Unit.  Cataloging staff processes the request and the item is taken to Circulation when ready, usually within one business day.

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