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Understanding Information in the Online Catalog

Catalogers create records which describe resources in the library’s collection. The more complete and accurate the record is, the easier it is to locate these materials in the library’s catalog.

Records consist of descriptive content about the material and access points. Access points may be searched in the catalog by title, author, subject, call number, and standard number. Descriptive content and access points are also keyword searchable.

Access Points


Title – Titles are recorded in the record as they appear on the material. Any varying forms of the title found on the material are recorded as well. Other titles such as series and uniform titles are also included.

  • Uniform title – Brings all manifestations of the same work (different language translations, adaptations, etc.) together in the catalog.
  • Series title -- Series are publisher-supplied umbrella titles that group together separate items having similar aspects such as content, purpose, genre, author, etc.


Authors – Persons or companies which played a significant role in the creation of the material are given “author” access points. These access points include personal, corporate and conference names which group their work together in the catalog.

Subject Headings – Library of Congress subject headings are assigned to each record in order to describe what the material is about. Subject headings group resources about the same topic together in the library catalog.

Call Number – Library of Congress call numbers are created from the subject heading in order to group materials with similar topics together on the shelves and in the catalog. The letter code files the material under a broad subject area. The number then files the material under a specific subject area. The alphanumeric Cutter files the material alphabetically.


N Visual Arts
5205.5 Commissioning of art – General works
.H69 Alphabetical filing by author or title
1988 Date published


Outline of Library of Congress Classification Numbers

A – General Works
B – Philosophy, Psychology, Religion
C – Auxiliary Sciences of History
D – World History and History of Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, New Zealand, etc.
E – History : America
F – History : America
G – Geography, Anthropology, Recreation
H – Social Sciences
J – Political Science
K – Law
L – Education
M – Music and Books on Music
N – Fine Arts
P – Language and Literature
Q – Science
R – Medicine
S – Agriculture
T – Technology
U – Military Science
V – Naval Science
Z – Bibliography, Library Science, Information Resources, General


Standard Number – Standard numbers are unique publisher-assigned numbers that identify the material and are recorded in the record.


o ISBN: 0060254920
o ISSN: 0303-7207
o Video Publisher No: FFH31533
o CD Publisher No: CDA67259
o ISMN: M008046001
o UPC: 090328903251


Descriptive Content

Description of the Resource – Each record describes the physical details of the material. This includes details about the format (book, DVD, e-book, etc.), size and how the material may be used.

Publisher and Edition – The publisher, edition statement and date the material was issued are included in the record.

Notes – Catalogers often add notes with extra information to more completely describe what the material is and what it is about. Notes can detail historical and local information, summaries, contents, system requirements, performers, production crew, composers, awards, ratings, and any other aspect which will help describe the material. Notes are keyword searchable.


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