Rare Book Cataloging

Course Information

Instructor: Ann K. D. Myers
Location: Berkeley, California | Bancroft Library
Mode: In-person
Dates: July 15–19, 2024
Tuition: $1200.00


Aimed at catalogers who find that their present duties include (or shortly will include) the cataloging of books in their rare materials or special collections and want to be trained in applying Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Books). Emphasis will be placed primarily on books of the hand-press era, with some consideration of 19th and 20th century books in special collections. Topics include:

  • application of codes and standards, especially DCRM(B)
  • transcription, collation, and physical description
  • concepts of edition, impression, issue, state
  • genre/form terms, relationship designators, other special files
  • copy-specific information
  • cataloging policy in institutional contexts, including provisions for anti-racist descriptive practices

This course is intended for working catalogers experienced in AACR2 and/or RDA and MARC 21, and general cataloging principles and practices. No prior knowledge of early books is necessary. The goal of the course is to provide instruction and practice in each of the primary elements of the rare book catalog record, so that students will be equipped to catalog their institution’s rare books and special collections materials to national standards. Please note that this course covers printed monographs only.

Special note on RDA: instruction emphasis is for classic DCRM(B), that is, DCRM(B) as published, which has its basis in AACR2. However, RDA-compliant DCRM(B) will be addressed throughout the course and will be accommodated in classroom exercises. Please also note that although Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Books (RDA Edition), or DCRMR, has been released as a minimum viable product, for the time being, this course will continue to use DCRM(B) as the standard, with reference to differences coming in the future.


In their personal statement, applicants should describe their experience with machine-readable AACR2 and/or RDA cataloging, provide a brief description of the types and date range of materials they expect to catalog with DCRM(B), and whether they are expected to produce RDA-compliant records at their home institution. In addition, applicants are required to submit 1–3 typical bibliographic records of materials they are currently cataloging, preferably original cataloging in MARC 21 of modern books.


2006-2007 (taught by Deborah Leslie), 2009, 2011-2012, 2014, 2016-2019​, 2021-2022 (taught by Randal S. Brandt).


Completion of this course helps to meet requirements for one of the following certificate requirements:

  • 1 of 3 elective credit courses for Certificate in Rare Books and Manuscripts, or
  • 1 of 2 elective credit courses for Certificate in Librarianship, Activism, and Justice