Help:How to parse data in library catalogs


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Cataloging Standards: [Need to add an explanation of the MARC family of standards, SUTRS and the OCLC guidelines here].

Binding. Library catalogs do not always state whether the cataloged publication is a hardcover, a mass market paperback or a trade paperback. However, they usually record the physical size of the publication, which can be used as follows: "18cm" is the size of the standard US/Canadian mass market paperback. "19cm" is usually a small tp/hc or occasionally an oversizzed pb. 20+ is either a tp or a hc, but distinguishing between tps and hcs can be tricky. Sometimes OCLC will print "(pbk.)" next to the ISBN, which is self-explanatory, but if they don't, then it's time to check other sources. Price is not always a reliable indicator, but it can help. If the book was published pre-WWII, it's usually either a hardback or, in some cases, a pamphlet since paperbacks didn't take off until WWII -- first in the UK, then in the US. There were some cheap editions in the early part of the 20th century whose binding sometimes approached the current paperback binding, but few have survived and fewer are owned by libraries. If the catalog information is ambiguous, then leave the binding field blank and record the volume size in the Notes field.

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