Cataloging and Classification/Bibliographic control

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Conceptual levels of cataloguing

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Even before we begin learning the basics, it is useful to understand that library cataloging is a subject which conceptually deals with information at various levels, which is explained in brief here, and will be explained in detail later in the textbook.

Overall, the top-most level of cataloguing is the Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Records (FRBR), which tells us how information should be organised and modeled.[1] The FRBR provides a conceptual model of the entities involved in library cataloguing and their relationships.

The second conceptual level is the content cataloguing standard which decides what information is to be recorded and how. They build on the conceptual framework provided by the FRBR. Examples of such standards are the Resource Description and Access (RDA), the International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD), and the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR) (which is now defunct).

The third conceptual level is that of the communication formats, i.e., the code used by computers to convey bibliographic information. Examples of these are Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) and Extensible Markup Language (XML).

The lowest conceptual level is that of metadata, index terms, and controlled vocabularies — standards involving these include Dublin Core Metadata Element Set (commonly referred to as just Dublin Core) and the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH).

  1. FRBR: FRBR, RDA, and MARC (PDF), Cooperative and Instructional Programs Division, Library of Congress, September 2012, archived (PDF) from the original on 23 April 2021, retrieved 22 August 2021