Cataloging Digital Reproductions

With an increasing number of digital reproductions being created by Federal agencies and by GPO and GPO's partners, GPO's Library Technical Information Services (LTIS) has formulated procedures for cataloging digital reproductions of a tangible document. These procedures were developed following a cataloging community-wide review of digital reproduction cataloging, and will likely experience changes as the cataloging community evolves its views.


GPO will follow AACR2r, the relevant Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRI), BIBCO and CONSER policy for cataloging digital reproductions as appropriate for serials or monographs. Specifically GPO catalogers will consult AACR2 1.11A, which states "A reproduction is a manifestation that replicates an item (or group of items) or another manifestation (e.g., a reprint with no changes) that is intended to function as a substitute." GPO will also follow Library of Congress practice, as outlined in the LCRI's, which is to "Follow [AACR2r 1.11A] for reproductions of previously existing materials that are made for: preservation purposes in formats other than microforms.... and electronic reproductions."

The digital reproduction will be described exactly the same as the original work in the title and statement of responsibility, edition, material (or type of publication) specific details, publication, distribution, etc., physical description, and series. However, all details relating to the physical description of the digital reproduction, as well as its availability, will be included in the 533 note instead of the 300 field.

533 Electronic reproduction. ?b [Honolulu : ?c Institute of Pacific Islands Forestry, ?d between 2000 and 2003]. ?n Mode of access: World Wide Web. ?n System requirements: Adobe Acrobat reader.

In addition, the physical description fixed field for electronic resources (007) will be completed as follows:

  • $a c (electronic resource)
  • $b r (remote)
  • $d (color: choices are a, one color, i.e. b/w and one color; b, black and white; c, multicolored; g, gray scale; m, mixed for docs with illustrations that comprise all of these choices; n, not applicable, i.e. there is no visual material; u and z are never choices for GPO catalogers)
  • $e n (dimensions: GPO catalogers will always use n for not applicable for electronic resources for digital reproductions.)
  • $f (sound: GPO catalogers will always use subfield a only.)
  • $h file formats (a, all one file format; or m, mixed file formats; u for unknown will never be used by GPO catalogers)

Digital reproductions cataloged by GPO will be assigned a PURL to record the location of the digital resource that GPO is cataloging. As a member of CONSER and BIBCO, GPO must respect the principle of the aggregator-neutral record, i.e., if the GPO cataloger finds and adapts a record that contains other URLs to the exact same resource, GPO will not delete those URLs from the master OCLC record. The record in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications, however, will only contain the PURL.