DELETE Belles-lettres cataloging handbook


This handbook sets out SUL's policies and guidelines as they specifically relate to the cataloging of belles-lettres. Belles-lettres materials are those which are, at least primarily, works of literature: fiction, poetry, drama, etc. Although the handbook deals primarily with materials in Western European languages, many of the guidelines given here also apply to Slavic belles-lettres.

Where the handbook cites RDA, LC-PSS PS or MARC Bibliographic Format, fuller information can always be found on Cataloger's Desktop. For ease of use, links have often been provided to online sources of this same information. However, it should be noted that in some cases, these online sources will not necessarily be as up-to-date as the versions in Cataloger's Desktop.

1. Workflow

The specific workflows for both Western European languages and Slavic languages belles-lettres are set out in the MDU document Monograph Cataloging Workflow. Slavic belles-lettres are routed directly to the Slavic belles-lettres cataloger and Western-European languages are routed to the belles-lettres cataloger currently in the Classification Unit.

Special categories of books have a separate workflow and are hand-delivered to the desk of the appropriate cataloger. These are discussed in more detail in Section 5.1.

2. Authority work

The following section is simply a summary of the policies and procedures surrounding authorities as they apply to the original cataloging of belles-lettres. For a more detailed discussion, please see the policy document SUL Authority Procedures. For original cataloging including belles-lettres, all names (personal, corporate, geographic), uniform titles and series headings used in a catalog record must be established in the NAF. If no authority record exists, then one must be created in OCLC according to NACO practice. The SUL Series Authority Records Handbook offers a detailed outline of series tracing policy as well as guidelines for establishing series.

Exceptions: There are some exceptions to the SUL Authority Policy: name-title headings (700 12 added entries) are not established in the NAF. For this reason, when a record contains a name-title added entry, it should not be cataloged as a PCC record. Also, decisions to create series NARs is made by a cataloger on an individual basis.

Searching OCLC (NAF and bibliographic files)

Search OCLC authority file for personal or corporate names and series titles. If the name or series heading is found, then it can be used in the catalog record. If no NAR exists, then for a personal or corporate name, create a new NAR before cataloging the book. If there no NAR for a series title, transcribe it as is in a 490 0_ field. 

Creating Authority Records

Authority records can be created directly from headings in bibliographic records in OCLC Connexion client, using the OCLC Authority Generator Macro. This creates a basic NAR from the bibliographic record and this NAR often requires very little editing before being ready to produce in the NAF. Instructions on how to create an authority record or generate it from a name or a series title heading using an OCLC-supplied macro are available from the OCLC website.

3. Cataloging

3.1. Searching OCLC. When books are taken from the belles-lettres shelves for original cataloging, it is first necessary to search OCLC to check if any usable copy has appeared since the last search. Any record which includes a valid LC call number (and subject headings if necessary) can be considered usable copy. If usable copy is found on OCLC, it should be used, with modifications as necessary. 

3.2. PCC records: MDU policy. It is MDU policy to use PCC as default for all original cataloging. A full description of the PCC and the BIBCO standards are available from the PCC website. The exception to the PCC policy in the case of records containing 700 12 name-title authorities is described in Section 2. Juvenile literature is cataloged to BIBCO standards, and this requires special treatment as set out in Section 5.2. PCC records (both full and core) contain the "pcc" code in the 042 field and the code "c" in the "Source" (008/39) fixed field, except in the case of Minimal-level Cataloging records (MLC) from LC and overseas cataloging records from LC (coded "lcode" in 042 field). In both of these cases, the "Source" (008/39) fixed field is left blank and, in the case of the overseas cataloging records, the subfield $apcc is added after "lcode" in the 042 field.

3.3. Quick overview of MARC fields. Full information on MARC Bibliographic format is available from the Library of Congress and on Cataloger's Desktop. Here are quick overviews of MARC fixed fields and MARC variable fields, with particular reference to belles-lettres cataloging. However, these guides are not intended to be comprehensive and should only be used in conjunction with the fuller information. There is also a Ending Punctuation Cheat Sheet available, listing the prescribed ending punctuation for each of the MARC variable fields most commonly found in belles-lettres cataloging.

4. Classification and cuttering

4.1. Classification policy. All PCC records must follow the PCC's official policy on classification numbers. In simple terms, this means a valid class number must be included in each record and since we use LC Classification, this number will be entered into 050 -4. This number is usually identical to the number that SUL would use anyway, but in the case of juvenile literature the situation is slightly different (see Section 5.2). The LC Classification schedules and cutter tables are available via Classification Web.

4.2. Literary author numbers

General principle. Search the name authority file, LC Classification Schedule, and the shelflist to determine whether an individual literary author number has been established for the author. If such number has been established, use it. If it has not been established, formulate it according to Library of Congress Classification and Shelflisting Manual, Section F 632.

Russian belles-letres. Class literary authors who write in Russian in the range PG3300-3493.96, regardless of the country of residence (e.g. Russia, Israel, Germany, former Soviet republics). The only exception are authors from the United States and Canada, whose works are classed in PG3549.A-Z.

If the book is published by one of the U.S. or Canadian publishers (e.g. Lulu Press, Altaspera Publishing, Franc-Tireur), do not automatically assume that the author lives in the U.S. or Canada. If you determine that the author resides in the U.S. or Canada (based on the information in the book or in the external sources), use PG3549.A-Z; otherwise use the range PG3300-3493.96.


  • Complete literary works of an author: if the author has his/her own range in the schedule, use the number for Collected works. Otherwise, arrange by date.

050 _4 PG3476 $b. D573 2013
100 1_ Dobychin, Leonid, $e author.
240 10 Works. $f 2013
245 10 Polnoe sobranie sochineni? i pisem / $c L. Dobychin
[Complete works of Leonid Dobychin]

  • Collections that contain two or more works of the author, but not the author’s entire literary output:

SUL practice: If a collection has its own title, Cutter by the title. This deviates from LC practice, which uses .A6 from Table P-PZ40 for all collections that have been assigned an RDA conventional collective title.

050 _4 PQ2664 .U795 $b F56 2016
100 1_ Dussidour, Dominique, $e author.
240 10 Short stories. $k Selections
245 10 Flora & les sept garçons : $b nouvelles / $c Dominique Dussidour.

If a collection is published under a generic title (e.g. “Poems”, “Plays”), use .A6 for Selected works. Selections. By date form Table P-PZ40.

050 _4 PQ8180.12 .U74 $b A6 2015
100 1_ Burgos Cantor, Roberto, $e author.
240 10 Short stories. $k Selections
245 10 Cuentos / $c Roberto Burgos Cantor.

5. Special categories of books

The following categories of books have special characteristics and are not dealt with in the normal mongraphics workflow. The books in Section 5.1 are all high priority and are hand-delivered to the cataloger's desk. They contain different colored flags that show how they should be processed. Section 5.2 deals with juvenile literature, which is treated slightly differently to normal literature in terms of both classification and cataloging.

5.1. High priority books

There are different kinds of priority books, denoted by the different colored flag. They need to be dealt with on a faster turnaround time than the two weeks allowed for books arriving through the normal workflow.

Rush books (Red flag)

Rush books are priority 1 including requests by patrons for immediate use, course reserves, and highly needed material designated by the selector. They should be processed within one day of receiving the book and are put into the special rush box on the MDU Unit outgoing trolley.

Priority 2 (Blue flag)

The blue flag indicates a priority 2 book: these are often books specially requested by patrons and therefore contain the blue 'patron notify' flag. The record should contain a 940 note with the details of the patron who requested the book - do not touch this field when cataloging! Priority 2 books should be processed within a week.

5.2. Juvenile literature

Juvenile literature is treated differently to normal belles-lettres. The most significant difference is in classification, where SUL's policy differs from that of the LC classification (SCM F615). According to LC classification, juvenile and young adult fiction in all languages is classed in PZ. This includes collections of juvenile belles-lettres in more than one genre, juvenile folk tales, stories in rhyme, nursery rhymes and picture storybooks. However, juvenile poetry, drama, humor and comic books are all classed along with other literature in the P-PT schedules. The policy at SUL is to class all literature, whether juvenile or not, in the regular P-PT schedules.

This policy means that, on PCC records, it will be necessary to provide a valid PZ class number for the work in hand according to the BIBCO policy for classification. Since only the class number is required (i.e., what would normally be contained in subfield a of the 050 field), it is not necessary to cutter for title nor is it necessary to establish the literary author number with LC, since this is optional in any case. However, on the Symphony record, it will be necessary to include the SUL call number (from the P-PT schedules) in the call number info on the 'Vol/Copy' screen. There is no need to include this local number in the PCC record on the 'Bib' screen.


Dealing with records already in the system

This section will just give some brief guidelines on how to deal with the different categories of records already in WorkFlows. Every item should have some kind of record. If it is only a brief acquisitions record, then it can be edited as much as necessary to create a full original catalog records. For these other categories, there are some exceptions or points to remember.

Foreign vendor records

These are records from the foreign vendors and often arrive with many extra 9XX fields and notes or subject headings in the foreign language.

Delete all vendor-generated non-cataloging fields except 001 and 910 local field with cataloger's initials. Harrassowitz in particular includes a lot of extra 9XX fields. Also need to watch the 006 and other fields for mistakes, especially in punctuation.

Once cataloging is done, should have nothing there to indicate that it was vendor record except the 001.

Other foreign language records

These are catalog records from foreign national libraries and some other libraries. The way to recognize them is the presence of a subfield $b in 040 containing the code for a language other than English. Also included in this category are UK catalog records, from the British Library or any other UK library. These records should be treated in the same way as foreign vendor records.

Library of Congress records

Any book with a full Library of Congress catalog record should not reach the MDU Unit catalogers. If full LC copy exists, then the book should be re-routed for "push-button cataloging". However, two categories of LC records are not full cataloging and therefore have to be treated as copy: minimal level cataloging (MLC) records and overseas cataloging (with "lcode" in 042 field). Since they are treated as copy, add subfield $dCSt to the 040 field. However it is still necessary to check all authorities as these have not been verified and the records will need LC call numbers.

There are detailed notes on how to treat these records when upgrading them to PCC in Section 3.2.

Other copy cataloging records

With all other copy, just upgrade to full (or core) BIBCO level as usual. Leave all fields that are already in the record, unless they contain errors which need to be corrected. Remember to add subfield $dCSt to 040 field.

Ending Punctuation Cheat Sheet: belles-lettres version

The information comes from the MARC21 Bibliographic Format. This reduced version covers only those MARC fields that are most common in belles-lettres cataloging.

A mark of punctuation is a period (.), a question mark (?), an exclamation mark (!), or a hyphen (-). "No period" means the field does not end in a period, unless the last word of the field is an abbreviation, initial or other data ending with a period anyway.

020          no period

050          no period (but period before 1st cutter, $b before second cutter, but if there is only one cutter then both $b and period)

1xx          ends with a mark of punctuation or closing parenthesis

240          no period

245          ends with a period, even when another mark of puntuation is present, unless the last word in the field is an abbreviation, initial/letter, or data that ends with a period

246          no period

250          ends with a period, unless the last word in the field is an abbreviation, initial/letter, or data that ends with a period

264          generally ends with a mark of punctuation, a closing parenthesis, closing angle bracket, closing bracket, or comma

300          ends with period if there is a 4XX in record; otherwise it ends with a period unless another mark of punctuation or a closing parenthesis is present

490          no period

500          ends with a period unless another mark of punctuation is present. If the note is a quoted note from t.p., the period should be inside the ending quotation mark unless the quotation ends with an ellipse    [...], in which case no period is added at all

504          subfield $a of field 504 ends with a period unless another mark of punctuation is present

505          ends with a period when the field contains complete or partial contents, unless another mark of punctuation or a closing angle bracket is present or unless the contents continue in another occurrence of field 505. If the field contains incomplete contents, no period is recorded unless the last word, initial/letter or abbreviation ends with a period anyway

546          ends with a period unless another mark of punctuation is present

65x          ends with a mark of punctuation or a closing parenthesis

740          ends with a mark of punctuation or a closing parenthesis

830          ends with mark of punctuation or a closing parenthesis

MARC fixed fields guide for belles-lettres cataloging

This guide lists the fixed fields as they appear in Symphony WorkFlows and OCLC Connexion, as well as a description of what the fixed field is. The table lists the most likely content for each field when cataloging belles-lettres. Please note that this is only a quick overview and that the content suggested may not be appropriate in every case. There is also a complete listing of the MARC Bibliographic format provided by the Library of Congress.

See also the MARC variable fields guide.








Record type


a - nonmanuscript language material



Bibliographic level


m - monographic



Cataloging level


blank – full-level BIBCO cataloging (all access points should be established, will also contain 042 with authentication code “pcc”)

l - full-level input by OCLC participants (for non-PCC cataloging)



Descriptive cataloging form


i - Item has been cataloged according to ISBD (use for RDA records)



Date entered on file





Type of date


s - single

m - initial/terminal date (usually used for multivolume sets published over several years)

Derive date information from field 264.

See OCLC MARC Formats Type of Date/Publication Status for more information on types of dates.



Date 1


Date of publication (if single date) or the first date in a date range.



Date 2


 The second date in a date range given in field 264.



Place of publication


See MARC code list for countries





Choose codes according to terms found in the 300 field. Most common values:

a - illustrations
b - maps
c - portraits

See OCLC MARC Formats Illustrations for a complete list.



Target audience





Nature of contents


likely to be blank for belles-lettres (may use b-bibliography)



Government publication


0 - not government pub.



Conference publication


0 - not conference





0 - not a Festschrift





0 - no index
1- index





1- fiction





blank - no biography



Language code


Language of item or predominant language - see MARC code list for languages



Modified record


leave blank (used to indicate romanization)



Cataloging source code


c - pcc
d - non-pcc


MARC variable fields guide for belles-lettres cataloging

This guide is not intended to be exhaustive. It covers only the main fields likely to be of interest to the belles-lettres cataloger and the information provided is only a rough overview of each field. There is a complete listing of the MARC Bibliographic format at the Library of Congress.

(R) means that field is repeatable, (NR) means it is not repeatable. All indicators are blank unless otherwise stated. First subfield is always $a (which does not need to be input in WorkFlows) unless otherwise stated.


International Standard Book Number (ISBN) (R)
Includes the ISBN for the item in $a; any cancelled or invalid ISBN related to the same item in $z.

If a book has ISBNs for both hard cover and paperback editions and if the publishers are the same, enter each ISBN in a separate 020 field.

020   0198702337 $q (hbk.)
020   0198702345 $q (pbk.)

If you are cataloging a single part of a multipart item, enter both the numbers for the part and the set when available. Enter the number for the part first.

020    0379005514 $q (volume 1)
020    0379005506 $q (set)


Cataloging source code (NR)
For original cataloging, this should contain  STF $b eng$e rda $c STF.  When upgrading copy from other libraries, add $dCSt.


Language code (NR)
First indicator 0 = item is not or does not contain a translation
First indicator 1 = item is or contains a translation
Contains the MARC codes for the languages associated with the item when there are more than one. Most commonly used in the case of translations and parallel texts. The language of the translation goes first (and the first code in 041 must match the code in the Language fixed field, 008/35-37). The code for the original language goes in $h.

041  1_  $a spa $h fre
[Spanish translation of a French work]
041 1_  $a eng $a ita $h ita
[Parallel text containing original Italian text and English translation; language in the fixed field = eng]
 041 0_ $a spa $a por
[Item contains poems in Spanish with a handful in Portuguese]


Authentication code (NR)
For BIBCO records, contains the code "pcc". Do not use this field for non-BIBCO cataloging.


LC Classification number (R)

1st Indicator = blank

2nd Indicator = 4 (assigned by an agency other than LC)

Enter a period before the first cutter and $b before the second cutter. If there is only one cutter, then add $b followed by a period before this cutter. Refer to Classification and Cuttering section for details.


Main entry - Personal Name (NR)
1st Indicator 1 = entered under surname
1st Indicator 0 = entered under first name
In almost all cases, the main entry in belles-lettres will be the author. The author is entered here exactly as he or she appears in the name authority record in the NAF.

If there is more than one author, determine whether you have a collaboration or a compilation. If it is a collaboration, the principal or the first named creator is recorded in the 100 field. If it is a compilation, identify it by its preferred title (RDA; no 100 field is needed.


Uniform title (NR)
1st Indicator = usually 1
2nd Indicator = usually 0

In belles-lettres, a uniform title is usually used for:

-translations (see Derived original cataloging—Translations—240 field)

-compilations of two or more works by a single author, which in most cases require a conventional collective title. To determine whether the 240 conventional title is needed, search the OCLC bibliographic file. If this the first time this work is being published, add a conventional collective title in the 240. If the work has been published before under the same title, consider the title to be a “commonly-known title” and do not add a conventional collective title.

Constructing a conventional collective title:

1. Complete works: Per RDA, add the conventional collective title Works, followed by the year of publication.

100  1_ Yevtushenko, Yevgeny Aleksandrovich, $d 1933- $e author.
240  10 Works. $f 2014
245 10 Sobranie sochineni? / $c Evgeni? Evtushenko.
[Complete works of Evgenii Evtushenko]

2. Compilations of two or more works in the same form or different forms: per LC-PCC PS, add “Selections” to the appropriate conventional collective title from the list given in RDA, if needed (i.e. when another resource is already identified by the same conventional collective title), differentiate by date.

100 10 Berrigan, Anselm, $e author.
240 10 Poems.$k Selections
245 10 Come in alone / $c Anselm Berrigan.
[A collection of poems]

100 10 Prenko, A. $q (Anatoli?), $e author.
240 10 Prose works.$k Selections
245 10 Dobro pozhalovat? v ra? : $b romany, povesti, pritchi  / $c Anatoli? Prenko.
[A compilation of novels, short stories, and parables]

For a detailed discussion of compilations refer to the RDA Refresher training at LC, Special Topics: Compilations, as well as RDA


Title Statement (NR)
1st Indicator = 1 (if there is 1XX present); 0 (if there is no 1XX present)
2nd Indicator = 0-9, for the number of non-filing characters.

Transcribe the title as it appears on the source of information (RDA, follow the instructions on capitalization in RDA Appendix A.

If there is a subtitle, enter it in $b preceded by a colon.  It should come from the same source as the title proper (RDA

Transcribe the statement of responsibility as it appears on the source of information (RDA Prefer a statement from the same source as the title, but if there isn't one, a statement from somewhere else is acceptable.  If it comes from outside the resource, put it in brackets.


Varying form of title (R)
Indicators – refer to MARC 21 Bibliographic Format.This field contains variant forms of the title, those found on the item and those derived from the title itself (expansions of abbreviations, spelled-out form of numbers, etc.), that are important for the identification and access


Edition statement (NR)
Transcribe an edition statement as it appears on the source of information (RDA  The source should be, in order of preference, the same source as the title, another source within the resource, or an outside source such as a reference source or information from elsewhere on the publisher's site (RDA 2.2.4). If it comes from outside the resource, put it in brackets (RDA 2.2.4 LCPS 2.2.4).


Publication, Distribution, etc. (NR)
Subfield $a contains the place of publication; subfield b the publisher name; subfield c the date of publication. Transcribe places of publication and publishers' names in the form in which they appear on the source of information (RDA

Place of publication. When transcribing the place of publication, include both the local place name (city, town, etc.) and the name of the larger jurisdiction or jurisdictions (state, province, etc., and/or country) if present on the source of information (RDA2.8.2.3). If there is no place of publication stated on the item, try to infer a place of publication; put such information in brackets. If you cannot infer or locate a place of publication, input the phrase: "Place of publication not identified" in brackets (RDA in the 264$a.

Publisher. If the publisher is not named within the resource itself and cannot be identified from other sources, input the phrase: “publisher not identified” in brackets (RDA in the 264$b. Optionally record the distributor or the manufacturer in another 264 (2nd indicator 2 and 3 respectively).

Date. If the date of publication is not identified in the resource, RDA allows the cataloger to supply the approximate date of publication (RDA Apply the instructions on supplied dates given under RDA, 1.9.2 and put the supplied date in brackets.


Physical Description (R)
Subfield a contains the pagination. For unnumbered pages or leaves use the form 1 volume (unpaged). If the resource includes a sequence of unnumbered leaves or pages of plates, record their number.

300   462 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates

Subfield b contains information about the illustrations. Use the appropriate term from RDA 

Subfield c contains the dimensions of the item, the height rounded up to the nearest centimeter.


Series Statement (R)
1st indicator = 1 (to indicate 830 is present)
1st indicator = 0 (not traced)

Per RDA, transcribe the title proper of a series from the following sources (in order of preference): the series title page, another source within the resource itself, one of the other sources of information specified at RDA 2.2.4.

Include the series title as it appears in the item in subfield $a, the ISSN if available in $x and the numbering in $v. Retain initial articles in transcribed titles, parallel titles, and subseries titles.


General notes (R)
This field is used for general notes.

500 __ Alternate pages blank.
500 __ "Poemas"--Cover.


Contents note (R)
1st indicator = 0, complete contents; 1 for incomplete contents; 2 for partial contents.

If there is more than one work in the resource and those works are formally titled works which have had or could have an independent existence, use a contents note. Record the titles proper that appear in the source that provides the best identification. Also record the first statement of responsibility. Omit chapter and section numbering. Use a space-dash-space to separate the components. (LCPS 

For the works named in the 505, also trace them in 7xx fields if considered important. 


Language note (R)

Include when the content is in more than one language, or if the language of the item is not obvious from the rest of the record (RDA 7.12). 

546 Poems in Polish with parallel German translations.
546 Parallel Arabic text and Croatian translation, with explanatory notes in Croatian.


Subject Access Fields (R)

For the limited number of instances when subject headings are required in belles-lettres cataloging, see SCM: Subject Headings H1775 (Literature) [print]. The most common reasons for needing subject headings in belles-lettres are biographical or historical fiction and collections of literature. For LC subject headings, the 2nd indicator will be 0. Names used as subject headings are entered in 600; topical headings in 650; geographic headings in 651. 


Added entry - Personal name (R)
1st indicator = as for 100 headings
2nd indicator = blank, no information provided; 2, analytical entry (name-title)

Provide added entries for all creators (RDA 19.2, SUL policy). If the name is in the NAF, use the established form. If there is no form in NAF, formulate a heading according to the cataloging rules. PCC records must have all headings established. Use the appropriate relator term from RDA Appendix I and put it in subfield $e. 

Analytical title added entries

Analytical added entries are made for component works within a resource. For analytical added entries, the second indicator is always 2. Use the relationship designator “$i Container of (work):” 

Generally, do not add 7xx fields for titles contained in anthologies of poetry, conference proceedings, journals, collections of interviews or letters, and similar resources (LC -PCC-PS 25.1). There is no limit on the number of works to list in the contents and no limit on added entries.

700 12 $i Container of (work): $a Miramov, Gennadii?. $t Vozvrashchenie v Damask. 


Series Added Entry (R)
2nd indicator = 0
This is the established form of the series from the series authority record (the latter will appear in 490 1_).

Last updated: July 20, 2016
Irina Trapido, MDU, Stanford University Libraries