[Agricultural Adjustment Administration documents related to Kentucky] (OCLC #891104587)

(Cataloging flash mob!)

For this month’s Third Thursday (cataloging discussion and professional development), we did a “bring your cataloging problems” session. I brought one that had been lurking on a nearby shelf in cataloging for years.

Those 39 volumes were not actually books; they were a bound archival collection (of letters, forms, and other documents related to the Agricultural Adjustment Administration in Kentucky) but our Archives/Special Collections did not want them in their collections. Though the volumes contained some federal government documents, they also contained many state government documents (all mixed together!) so they did not belong in our federal documents collection either.

There were so many decisions to make: Should they be disbound, and the pieces cataloged separately and sorted into their appropriate locations? Should they get a detailed finding aid, or a briefer collection record? Should we gather more opinions from staff who might remember more about the collection, or change their opinion about which branch it should live in?

One thing that was clear was that the books were getting no use sitting on my shelf, and with all of my analysis paralysis going on, that’s where they were going to stay unless I got some help. At the problem session, I passed out volumes and a skeletal record to the group, and told them my basic plan: keep the volumes bound, collection record only, shelve in main library. Together we examined the materials and muscled through the record, discussing each questionable field until we had consensus, and adding more subject access points to make it more discoverable by researchers in the field. It took about 40 minutes – now that shelf is clear!

If there is interest, someone may eventually re-visit this collection and give it a more thorough description, but for now, its discoverability has been significantly improved.


Cotton flour bag (sack) towels : a recorded voluntary standard of the trade. (OCLC #890720497)

Cataloging commercial standards creates a fun opportunity to look up subject headings I’ve never used before, like:

    650 _0 ǂa Dish towels ǂx Standards.

There is also a code for the Cont: fixed field for titles containing standards and specifications:

    Cont: u

A search for an LC classification correlated to “Dish towels” produced no results (though I was pleased to see Dishwashing–Fiction nearby), but the broader term “Towels” suggested TS1781, which is for Miscellaneous textiles including bagging, shawls, towels, etc. so we have the call number:

    TS1781 ǂb .C68 1951

Body measurements for the sizing of boys’ apparel (knit underwear, shirts and trousers) : a recorded voluntary standard of the trade. (OCLC #890709074)

RDA (Title Source) describes a note that should be recorded if the title proper is taken from somewhere other than the preferred source of information; for example, the title page for a book. This book has no title page, so I used the caption title, and noted that, following the examples in the RDA text:

500 __ ǂa Caption title.

This note is core for LC/PCC. RDA itself does allow the note to be omitted if there is only one title on the piece, but the LC-PCC PS says not to omit.


Legislative history of Public Law 101-336, the Americans with Disabilities Act : prepared for the Committee on Education and Labor, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred First Congress, second session. (OCLC #23368329)

I know that the SuDoc classification scheme is not the same as Library of Congress Classification, but I am often thrown by how different its ordering is from others I am used to, specifically its convention that letters are sorted before numbers (which is the opposite of ASCII order).

While searching the shelf for another volume of this set with the SuDoc number Y 4.Ed 8/1:102-B, I had to keep order like this in mind:

    Y 4.Ed 8/1:A1 4/3
    Y 4.Ed 8/1:102-B
    Y 4.Ed 8/1:102-121

Disarmament and security; a collection of documents, 1919-55. (OCLC #3122480)

A correctly formatted SuDoc number as it appears in a bibliographic record may differ slightly from the way it is written on the actual piece. The SuDoc number for this piece (as verified in the Monthly Catalog) is:

Y 4.F 76/2:D 63/2/919-55 

Numbers in the label that are in superscripts appear after slashes in the formatted number. Also, it is common for a year in the 1900s to be actually written out on the piece, but only have the last three digits in the SuDoc number, such as this SuDoc number for a 1975 document:

Y 4.F 76/2:L 52/975

This particular piece has a date range on the label 1919-55 (meaning 1919–1955, for fans of ISO 8601) which has been encoded in its SuDoc number as /919-55.


Tax reform act of 1969, H.R. 13270 : part A–testimony to be received Tuesday, September 16, 1969; part B–additional statements (topics: capital gains, restricted stock, lump-sum distributions under pension and profit-sharing plans) / Committee on Finance, United States Senate. (OCLC #10908435) and others.

While analyzing this set of testimonies about the Tax Reform Act of 1969, I refined my search for each volume by adding the date that the testimony was to be received, as it is part of each title’s volume. One volume could not be retrieved this way because its date was entered as “September l6” (with a lowercase L instead of a one). I actually found this volume by doing a SuDoc number search in Connexion:

gn: Y4F49T1926Sept16

(all spaces and punctuation are removed in this index!)

In a similar error, several volumes of this set have incorrect SuDoc numbers in the monthly catalog:

Y 4.F 49:T 19/26/0ct.3

(zero instead of capital O!)


Civilian space stations and the U.S. future in space. (OCLC #11477461)


Government documents are often available in multiple formats (print, electronic, microform). An older cataloging practice was to have a single bibliographic record representing the title in all formats (manifestations), but now we catalog each format on its own bibliographic record. In a FRBR or linked data environment where we are storing statements rather than pre-gathered records, there would be less of a distinction here.


Policy papers : United States Senate Republican Policy Committee, one hundred and eighth Congress, first session / Jon Kyl, Chairman. (OCLC #54903735)

The catalog had only a shipping list record for this piece. Due to weirdness with an OCLC reclamation project, we also had our OCLC holdings set on a copy of that shipping list record! It is now fully cataloged.


Opening prayers : impeachment trial of the president of the United States, January 7-February 12, 1999 / Lloyd John Ogilvie ; [prepared under the direction of Gary Sisco]. (OCLC #41594951)

For typical monographs, we put the barcode in the same place (upper left, covering whatever) but for government documents we don’t obscure text, stamps or stickers, so sometimes it ends up in strange places.


Annual report of Walker D. Hines, Director General of Railroads, 1919. Northwestern Region / R.H. Aishton, regional director. (OCLC #752789209)

Even adopting RDA’s “take what you see” attitude, I had a hard time determining who the author of this document was: R.H. Aishton? Walker D. Hines?

There are records for many similar documents in OCLC, all “Annual report of Walker D. Hines” from various regions and departments with their own directors, and each with “United States Railroad Administration” as the main entry. I stuck with this pattern, putting the administration in a 110, and with no access point for Walker D. Hines; I could not identify a role for him, other than the named representative of that body. I put the regional director in a 700 as a “compiler” of the document’s data.