Vermont Library Guidelines for MARC Record Input - Level K Cataloging for Original Input of Monograph Records


The following pages are guidelines to help libraries with the challenges of MARC input. Since original cataloging is very labor intensive, libraries are encouraged to buy standardized MARC cataloging when available. These guidelines are to be used when all possibilities of obtaining standardized MARC cataloging have been exhausted. They are not intended for use when matching records, rather they are provided to help libraries with original input of records.


Members of the Vermont Automated Libraries System (VALS) have responsibilities to the network and share several common goals:

Libraries that strive to meet these goals will be more effective in serving their patrons, have fewer problems in the future if they decide to change to another automated system, and keep down acquisitions and interlibrary loan costs because of fewer cataloging errors.

Public libraries that are involved in retrospective conversion projects and have been using the Centralized Card/MARC Service may obtain MARC records for their holdings in PUBCAT from the Department of Libraries at little or no cost.


Several good resource materials on machine readable cataloging (MARC) are available to help libraries with automation projects. Two important sources provide a key to the complex codes used in MARC cataloging.

Bibliographic Formats and Standards. Dublin, Ohio : OCLC, 1993-
Provides most of the MARC fields with the benefit of examples of the use of field tags, indicators and codes.
MARC21 Format for Bibliographic Data : Including Guidelines for Content Designation. Washington, D.C. : Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress, 1992-
Considered to be the U.S. national standard for MARC21 records.
Many other good resources are available to help with descriptive and subject cataloging, classification, authority work, different MARC formats and other related topics.


Cataloging in Publication data (CIP), found on the verso of the title page in publications of most major U.S. publishers, helps librarians by providing preliminary cataloging which may be used in the creation of original cataloging MARC records. CIP cataloging is done by the Library of Congress based on prepublication information supplied by the publisher, and therefore, isn't always perfect cataloging. Sometimes publishers make changes to their publications before they are printed. As a consequence, librarians will still need to double check their title pages because CIP sometimes has authors switched with added entries and at times, doesn't have the correct titles and subtitles. Sometimes the authority on a CIP main entry is incomplete. However, Dewey numbers, LC numbers and subjects headings are generally reliable in CIP. In using the guidelines, libraries are not asked to add optional fields if CIP is not available.

Guidelines for Level K Cataloging of Monographs

Your machine readable records submitted to VALS may contain fields in addition to those listed, but in order to be accepted, they must include all mandatory and required fields (if applicable).

**Please note** Field names may differ slightly with different automated systems. Also, "required" field information should be coded if applicable to the item being cataloged. The guidelines closely follow OCLC's Input Standards.

Key: * Include if available in CIP

Fixed Field


Variable Field


Holdings Codes

In order to participate in the statewide resource sharing network, each machine readable record submitted to an online union catalog MUST contain the library's assigned symbol in upper case characters.

Public libraries

Public library records must contain the OCLC symbol (preferred) or Vermont Union Catalog (VUC) symbol if the library has no OCLC symbol. This symbol may be placed in any one of three different fields given below. Public libraries that have been using the Card/MARC Service should use the "049 subfield a" if at all possible. Once a library selects the field for input of its holdings code (OCLC or VUC symbol), the same field should be used consistently thereafter.

School libraries

School libraries must use the Vermont Union Catalog (VUC) symbol in their records.

The fields are:

Cataloging received from standardized sources (vendors) should contain the selected field and holdings code. Usually this type of arrangement can be made with a vendor in advance. If not, this field and symbol will have to be added locally to each record.

For further information or questions,

contact us

Technical Services Unit
Vermont Dept. of Libraries
109 State St.
Montpelier, VT 05609-0601
Phone: 802-828-3261
FAX: 802-828-2199

Last updated: December 5, 2007


This program supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency,
through the Library Services and Technology Act as administered by the Vermont Department of Libraries.


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