Librarians catalogue books and other resources in their collections according to internationally agreed standards, which specify what information about an item is recorded, as well how it is recorded.
The majority of the printed books in Salisbury Cathedral Library were printed before 1831. These are being catalogued following Descriptive Cataloguing of Rare Materials: Books (2011), produced by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries in collaboration with the Library of Congress; and the Guidelines for the Cataloguing of Rare Books (2007), produced by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).
The post-1830 printed books in the main collection are being catalogued according to the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (2nd edition, 1988), with some guidance from RDA, Resource Description and Access, published jointly by the American Library Association, the Canadian Federation of Library Associations, and CILIP in the UK.
The reference and pamphlet collections are catalogued according to our own local arrangements.
Regardless of the cataloguing standards used, the following general data about each book (i.e. data that pertains to every copy of a particular edition) is recorded: author, title, edition, imprint, physical description, series, as well as notes and bibliographic references. Additionally, copy-specific data (i.e. data that pertains only to our copy of a particular book) is also recorded, including information about a book’s provenance and its binding, as well as information about its imperfections (i.e. if any portion is missing) or peculiarities.
Catalogue records for the printed books can be seen in Normal View and MARC Record View. The Normal View is straightforward, but the MARC view looks very odd to non-specialists. MARC (MAchine Readable Cataloguing) is a digital format for catalogue records, which permits libraries to share records easily. If you look at the MARC view, you will see that the information is recorded using fields and subfields identified by numbers and letters, rather than by a descriptive term such as “Title” or “Place of Publication”.