3.4.9 Cataloging of Remote-Access Electronic Resources


To give guidance for the selection of remote-access electronic resources for inclusion in the catalog.

To govern the creation of catalog records for remote-access electronic resources.

This policy covers only remote-access electronic resources. For direct-access electronic resources (e.g., CD-ROMs), follow the appropriate cataloging standards (e.g. AACR2, LCRIs, PCC standards).

Selection Policy for Inclusion in the Catalog

Remote-access electronic resources that will be represented in the BYU Library Catalog may be selected by librarians in public services, technical services, or special collections, in accordance with the same principles and policies applicable to the selection of resources in physical media. These include:

  1. Resources should be relevant to the information needs of the Library’s patrons
  2. Resources should complement or enhance information already available in the Library’s collection (including its electronic resources)
  3. Resources should be of scholarly value, credible and accurate; the author(s) of the resource should be an authority on the subject
  4. Resources should be user-friendly
  5. Preferably, the resources should have received favorable reviews

Granularity. In general, catalog records for electronic resources will be provided at the same level of granularity as is usual in the catalog for physical resources. Just as we do not in most cases provide catalog records for individual articles in journals or for individual chapters or sections of books, Cataloging in most cases will not create records, or load vendor records, at the “article” or “chapter” level for databases, electronic journals, or electronic books.

In general, remote-access electronic resources which the Library has acquired through its regular acquisitions process (i.e., for which the Library has paid) will be cataloged. These include:

  • Electronic journals
  • Electronic books
  • Electronic indexes
  • Databases

In addition, resources which have been digitized by the Library (e.g., for Internet Archive or Digital Collections) will be cataloged.

“Free” remote-access electronic resources, e.g., websites, or discrete collections of digital books, should conform to further criteria, as follows:

  • The resource must be judged to be permanent (not likely to disappear in the near future)
  • The resource must be freely accessible to BYU, CCLA, and associated patrons via its URL
  • The site’s server should be stable, without frequent downtimes
  • The site’s address should be stable. Selectors should consider that every time a URL changes for a site that has been cataloged, the catalog record must be corrected and updated.
  • This can entail a fair amount of maintenance, taking catalogers away from other, more useful, activities.
  • Normally the site should not be just a list of links to other Web sites.

Resources produced by and housed at the Lee Library or BYU are more likely to meet these criteria because we have more control over them. These resources may include:

  • Local Web sites
  • Local digital collections or single items

Cataloging Policies

Resources chosen for inclusion in the Library’s catalog will be cataloged by the cataloger who would normally catalog similar items in physical formats. This may include copy cataloging. Departments or sections may be given specific assignments.

Cataloging may employ a variety of methods to provide access to records for remote-access electronic resources.

Vendor Records. If in the judgment of Cataloging records provided by vendors of groups of resources (such as NetLibrary or eBrary) are of good quality and cost effective, these will be modified in accordance with Library Catalog Policies and loaded into the catalog. Modifications include, among others:

  • The addition of a genre/form term for “Electronic books” or “Electronic journals,” etc., as appropriate, in the form used in the BYU catalog
  • The addition of a 583 action note
  • Manipulation of the 856 field (containing the URL) to conform to the display standard used in the BYU catalog

Consideration of cost effectiveness will include an evaluation of the amount of authority work and other manipulation that would be involved in the record load.

BYU Catalog Departments Produced Records. In many cases Cataloging will produce records for remote-access electronic resources rather than depend on vendor loaded records. Resources following this procedure may include:

  • Electronic books digitized at BYU by Lee Library personnel, residing on Library servers or remotely (e.g. Internet Archive)
  • Collections included in Digital Collections
  • Electronic journals subscribed to separately from aggregator databases
  • Databases subscribed to by the Library
  • Free websites selected in accordance with the selection policy outlined above

Single vs. Multiple Records
Summary (details follow)

  • Vendor records usually result in two records for the same resource if we have a copy in paper in addition to the electronic version.
  • Patron will see 2 records (1 print and 1 online)

2. In-house cataloging. Although the final decision is left up to the cataloger, in most cases an electronic version of a resource will be cataloged on a separate record from the print version.

  • Patron will see 2 records (1 print + 1 online)

3. Serials.
A. Library has an existing print record for a particular title, and we have online access to that title, the URL is added to the print record.

  • Patron will see 1 record (1 print + URL)

B. If title ceases in print format, and continues only in an online format, the print record is closed, and a new online only record is created (combination title change and format change).

  • Patron will see 2 records (1 print and 1 online)

C. If Library withdraws all print holdings of a particular title, the print record is put in Withdrawn (and therefore shadowed to the public), and a new online only record is created for the title–assuming we continue to have online access.

  • Patron will see 1 record (1 online); Librarians will see 2 records in WorkFlows.

Vendor Records. As frequently happens, when the Library obtains records for a set of electronic resources and owns another manifestation of one or more resources in the set (e.g., paper or microform, or another digitized version), the policy regarding the loading of vendor records will in nearly all cases result in more than one record for the resource. This is parallel to longstanding library practice for microforms. Acquisitions should not add copies to vendor-loaded electronic-resource records.

Cataloger Produced Records. In cases where Library catalogers are producing records for individual resources, a separate record may be created or the record for the original may be modified to include access to the electronic resource, whichever is most appropriate in the judgment of the cataloger. The usual procedure will be to produce a separate record for a digitized version of a resource which the Library also owns in physical format. In some cases the original is not kept after digitization (e.g., the so-called preservation of digital books program). In such cases, the original should go through the normal withdrawal procedures (see 3.5.3).

Cataloging from Copy. 856 fields for related resources included with incoming copy should be examined. If the URL is for a charged resource the BYU Library system does not subscribe to, and is therefore inaccessible to our users, the field should be removed. Links to free resources (such as table of contents, summary, etc.) other than those based at BYU or the Library of Congress (i.e., the URL begins www.loc.gov/) are normally deleted.

Level of Cataloging

Books that have been digitized will be cataloged at the item level (e.g., the book) just as the physical copy would have been cataloged. Collections that have been digitized (for Digital Collections) will normally be cataloged at the collection level, just as a physical archival collection would have been cataloged. Item-level records from such collections will be created only in unusual circumstances.

Basis of Description

The basis of description for “born digital” resources is the digital resource itself.

Cataloging of digitized items follows the Provider-Neutral E-Monograph Record standard (http://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/), or for serials, the Aggregator Neutral Record Standard (http://www.loc.gov/acq/conser/pdf/agg-rec-guidelines.pdf). In these standards descriptive portions of the record are based on the original and guidance is given for additional information about the digitized copy or copies. In OCLC cataloging, the basic “neutral” record should be given in the master record. Local information should be confined to the institution record. If a standard for a specific format (e.g. archives) has not yet been created, the cataloger will follow the existing standards to the extent possible.

Access Points. Records for digital reproductions of books and maps (whether the single or multiple record approach is taken), and those for “born digital” resources will all contain

  1. Access to the URL through an 856 field, if public access is available through the Web
    856 40 ‡z CLICK HERE for online access ‡u
    http://contentdm.lib.byu.edu/cgi-bin/htmldoc.exe?CISOROOT=/TrailGuides&CISOPTR=2975In the OCLC master record this URL does not include “‡z CLICK HERE for online access.” This is added to the institution record.

    • Note: Copy records for items in non-electronic format frequently come with an 856 field for a related resource, such as table of contents or a publisher’s description. See above under Single vs. Multiple Records: Cataloging from Copy for instructions.
    • Note: Prior to July 2010 Cataloging provided, in the record for the print copy, an 856 link to the digital version. As of July 2010 Cataloging no longer provides these links, for two reasons: (1) the exponential expansion of digitization projects has made it increasingly difficult for Cataloging to provide these links (and with them the need to maintain two links instead of one in the case of URL changes); (2) sufficient access to the remote-access electronic resource is given to the Library patron through the URL in the electronic resource record.
  2. One or more of the following genre/form terms, as appropriate:
    • Digital maps
    • Electronic books
    • Electronic dissertations
    • Electronic government information [subdivided by country as approprite]
    • Electronic journals

    655 0 ‡a Electronic books.
    655 0 ‡a Electronic government information ‡z United States.
    Since this information applies to all copies, it is appropriate to include it in the OCLC master record.

  3. A SIRSI call number record will be added to the record for the digital version
    • The call number reads “see URL”
    • Class scheme: ALPHANUM
    • Item type: E-BOOK
    • Location: normally LIBRARYWEB; but see the Matrix for libraries other than HBLL
    • Library: normally INTERNET; but see Matrix for libraries other than HBLL (this partially depends on licensing agreements).

Broken Links

The Library runs a report periodically, checking all 856 fields in records in the catalog and reporting URLs that appear to be invalid. These often—usually—appear to arise because the remote server is down at the time the report checks. However, sometimes these URLs have, in fact, disappeared or changed.

Such “broken” links are routed to the cataloger who originated the record (or his/her successor).

  1. The cataloger should check the URL; if it is working, nothing further need be done.
  2. If the cataloger is unsuccessful at finding the resource using the URL in the catalog record, he/she should attempt using a search engine such as Google or Yahoo, to find the resource at a new URL. If this is successful, the cataloger should replace the old URL in the 856 field with the new, and give a 583 action note details.
    Note: If a new URL is not found, the cataloger should check the Internet Archive “Way-Back Machine” (http://www.archive.org/) for the most recent copy of the resource.
  3. If the cataloger is unsuccessful at finding the resource at all, the 856 field should be deactivated

A. On records representing an electronic resource only (no print version)

  • The record location is changed to WITHDRAWN
  • The 856 field is deleted
  • a 583 field is added with “delurl” in ‡b, and a brief explanation of why the resource was withdrawn in ‡x.

B. On records following the previous cataloging policy representing both print and electronic versions of a resource

  • The 856 field is deleted
  • The 655 field for the electronic format is deleted
  • The SIRSI call number record for the digital version is deleted
    A 583 is added with “delurl” in ‡b

Maintained by: Bob Maxwell

Last Updated: August 2014

Location / Hours

The Catalog Department is located on Level 6 of the Harold B. Lee Library. The Department is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.