UC San Diego SearchMenu

Special Collections & Archives Descriptive Cataloging Levels & Codes


Levels of cataloging define how completely, and with what degree of verification, catalog records are produced in Special Collections. LC's definition of Full and Minimal-level MARC encoding is documented here.

Brief records (created in Millennium, with author, title, and imprint only) are created for attaching order records when no copy exists in OCLC.

Minimal (ELvl K) records (essentially, those without in-depth subject analysis) are created initially for unprocessed archives and manuscript collections.

Brief and minimal level records are created with the expectation that they will ultimately be upgraded.

Full (ELvl I) records should be used for the majority of our cataloging.


Special Collections catalogs to BIBCO and CONSER standards, using RDA, Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Materials (Books, etc.), and DACS for collection level records for archives and manuscripts. Listed below are types of materials the library collects with the appropriate descriptive cataloging code to use.

For some of the other special formats, best practices information can be found at the following:

Notated music (e.g. scores and parts) and sound recordings:

Music Library Association (MLA). http://bcc.musiclibraryassoc.org/BCC-Historical/BCC2015/RDA_Best_Practices_for_Music_Cataloging_v1.1-150217.pdf

DVD and Blu-ray discs:

Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC). http://olacinc.org/drupal/capc_files/DVD_RDA_Guide.pdf

Type of Material

Descriptive Cataloging Level and Code Used

Pre-1601 imprints
1601-1800 imprints

Books use DCRM(B) and RDA: add $e rda $e dcrmb to 040

1801-present imprints

RDA: add $e rda to 040 (or RDA and DCRM(B) as appropriate (catalogers’ judgement))

Collection level recs for archives/manuscripts

RDA and DACS : add $e rda and $e dacs to 040

Graphic materials

RDA and DCRM(G) : add $e rda and $e dcrmg to 040

Cartographic materials
Sound recordings
Notated music
Moving image materials
Electronic resources

BSR and RDA : Add $e rda to 040

Revised by Daved Marsh, September 22, 2015
Approved by the Roger Metadata Policy Subgroup