Cataloguing rules have been defined to allow for consistent cataloging of different types of library materials across several persons and across time. Users can use them to understand how to find an entry and how to interpret certain data.

Cataloguing

The rules of cataloguing prescribe: which information from a bibliographic item is included in the entry, how that information is presented on a catalog card or in a cataloging digital record and how the entries should be sorted.

The ISBD and AACR

Currently most cataloging rules are similar to or based on the International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD), which is a set of rules produced by the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) in order to describe a range of library materials. The AACR (Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd edition) is a major international standard for the cataloguing of all types of materials collected by libraries with general contents. It is the cataloguing standard used by the UK, Australia, Canada, and the USA. It has also been adopted in full or in part by 56 other countries around the world.

Access points

Access points for personal names, corporate bodies, conferences and meetings, series titles, uniform titles and subject are derived from the authority file. Access points (with the exception of title) do not normally form an organic part of the core bibliographic data, but are required for retrieval, display and printing.

The OPAC

The Online Public Access Catalog. Many libraries have their catalog accessible via Internet; most of them can be queried using a standard browser, other using a modified version.

Cataloguing references

For a more in depth research and understanding of cataloguing, the following sites provide more detailed information:
Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules (AACR) - (www.aacr2.org/)
Cataloguing and Indexing Group - (www.cilip.org.uk/specialinterestgroups/bysubject/cataloguingindexing)
Joint Steering Committee for Revision of AACR (JSC) - (www.collectionscanada.ca/jsc/)