Rare Book Cataloging

Current faculty: Randal S. Brandt

Description: Aimed at catalog librarians who find that their present duties include (or shortly will include) the cataloging of rare books or special collections materials and want to be trained in the application of Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Books). Primary emphasis will be placed on books from the hand-press period (roughly the 16th through 18th centuries), with some discussion given to 19th and 20th century books in a special collections context.

Topics include:

  • Comparison of rare book and general cataloging
  • Application of codes and standards, especially DCRM(B)
  • Transcription, collation, and physical description
  • Concepts of edition, impression, issue, state
  • Added name entries, relationship designators, genre/form terms, and other special files
  • Copy-specific information
  • Cataloging policy within an institutional context

This course is restricted to working catalogers experienced in AACR2, and/or RDA and MARC 21, and general cataloging principles and practices. No prior knowledge of early printed books is necessary. The goal of the course is to provide 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 book and special collections materials to international standards. Please note that the course covers printed monographs only–no serials, manuscripts, maps, music, graphics or other formats.

Application requirements:  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 institutions;
  • Submit 3 typical bibliographic records of materials they are currently cataloging, preferably original or complex copy cataloging of modern books. For records created from copy, please provide before-and-after versions.

In addition to fulfilling a moderate requirement of preliminary reading and YouTube videos, successful applicants can expect to participate in some warm-up cataloging exercises; be subscribed to DCRM-L (an electronic listserv devoted to rare materials cataloging); and to be immersed in an intense, exciting, and collaborative environment with other like-minded individuals, working hands-on with rare books.

Years taught: 2006-2007 (taught by Deborah Leslie), 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2016 2017, 2018, 2019​, 2021

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