Creation of Brief Bibliographic Records

In an effort to provide Federal depository libraries and the general public with more timely access to bibliographic records in the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications (CGP) (, Library Services and Content Management (LS&CM) recently began a Library Technical Information Services (LTIS) internal pilot project to develop standards for the creation of brief bibliographic records for monographs. The goals of the project are to:

  1. Test possible workflows that more fully utilize the functionality of the Integrated Library System (ILS),
  2. Test the separate record cataloging approach by creating bibliographic records for publications in formats that are distributed as well as those that are not distributed, and
  3. Evaluate user responses to the availability of brief cataloging for publications.

Pilot Project Background

The pilot project tested the creation of brief bibliographic records through the entire LTIS workflow. Brief records were first created in the acquisitions module of the ILS and then enhanced with validated SuDocs classification numbers. Some brief records continued through the workflow, receiving further upgrades to full-level or abridged-level cataloging by the Cataloging librarians. LTIS is investigating the costs and requirements to batch load full-level and abridged-level records created through this process to OCLC.

The pilot was conducted using a small sample of approximately 50 monograph publications. Workflow for serial publications will be examined in a future pilot project. The publications chosen for the pilot were tangible publications from the LTIS processing backlog. The majority of publications processed had an electronic equivalent version which was determined to be the format for FDLP distribution. Content Acquisitions staff made format determinations based on Superintendent of Document Policy no. 301, Dissemination/Distribution Policy for the Federal Depository Library Program.

Brief records were created for both the tangible version of the publication and the electronic version. Only the brief record for the format determined for FDLP distribution was upgraded to full-level or abridged cataloging.

Staff training and initial testing of the brief bibliographic record process were conducted in the CGP test server. All bibliographic records for the pilot were original and were completed exclusively in the ILS. No bibliographic utilities other than the CGP were searched, and no copy cataloging was performed.

The brief records created for this pilot project are similar in nature to acquisitions records. Twelve of the brief records created during the pilot are available for review in the CGP. The records can be viewed by searching the following system identification numbers. (Use Expert search feature of the CGP)

  • Sys=601819
  • Sys=601823
  • Sys=601825
  • Sys=601826
  • Sys=601827
  • Sys=601830
  • Sys=601831
  • Sys=601833
  • Sys=601834
  • Sys=601835
  • Sys=601838
  • Sys=601839

Use the MARC view to see all fields in the brief records.

These records will remain in brief record format until after the comment period has ended. Brief records for formats that are distributed to the FDLP will then be forwarded to the Cataloging section to be enhanced to abridged or full-level cataloging. Brief records for formats not distributed will remain brief records. Libraries are welcome to download and then enhance the brief records for formats that are not distributed.

Brief Record Metadata

For the purposes of the pilot project, a brief record consists of the following MARC21 fields:

Field Name MARC Field Value Mandatory Repeatable
Sys. ID 001 Aleph system no. System supplied N
Field Field 008 Language/Date System supplied N
Item no. 074 Depository item no. Mandatory if format is distributed N
SuDoc class no. 086 SuDoc Class no. M N
Title 0245 Title of publication M N
Publisher 260 #b Agency M N
Date of publication 260 #c Date of publication M N
Physical description 300 Pagination M N
Notes 500 Notes M N
Series 490 Series statement Mandatory if available N
Electronic location and access 856 URL of document Mandatory if format is electronic N

Note: For publications in a format being distributed through the FDLP, brief bibliographic records are only temporary. Cataloging Librarians may upgrade the MARC21 fields listed above and add additional fields to conform with abridged and full-level cataloging practice.

Item Records (PST3 field in the MARC view or view ‘All items’ from the Standard view)

As part of this pilot project, item records have been created for all brief bibliographic records. This allows LTIS to record additional information regarding the status of the bibliographic record using the “Item Process Status” field.

This item record field indicates the processing stage a publication has reached and the actions being taken by LTIS staff.

  • SuDoc Completed: This status indicates that the SuDocs number has been validated and can be considered finalized and ‘official’.
  • Cat Completed: This status indicates that all cataloging activities have been completed, including the assignment of subject heading and name authority work if needed. However, updates to this record may occur in the future to correct errors, etc.

Brief Records: Distributed and Non-Distributed Formats

During the pilot, brief records were created for both distributed and non-distributed formats.

  • Distributed: Brief records for formats that are to be distributed are indicated by a depository item number in the 074 field. These records will be upgraded to either full-level cataloging or abridged-level cataloging based on priorities set forth in the GPO Cataloging Guidelines. Bibliographic records that have completed the cataloging process will then be processed for batch loading to OCLC at a later date.
  • Non-Distributed: Bibliographic records for formats not distributed will remain in the CGP as brief records, with a validated SuDocs number, but will not receive further cataloging. These records do NOT have a depository item number in the 074 field, and will not be batch loaded to OCLC.

Potential Benefits to the FDLP Library Community

If LTIS determines that the pilot project to create brief bibliographic records is successful and can be integrated into the LTIS workflow in an efficient and timely manner, a implementation plan will be drafted and the LTIS workflow modified to accommodate this change. The community will be kept informed via FDLP Listserv announcements as this implementation moves forward. The introduction of brief bibliographic records can be beneficial to FDLP libraries in several ways:

  • Bibliographic information for publications would be available for viewing in the CGP and for downloading by libraries as soon as the publication enters the LTIS workflow with a validated SuDocs classification number.
  • GPO will be able to provide brief bibliographic metadata for formats that are not distributed to the FDL’s . FDL’s can choose to use these records for copy cataloging purposes if they obtain a publication format for their own collection purposes that differs from the official FDLP copy.


Please submit your questions about the GPO Cataloging Guidelines via askGPO by choosing the “Federal Depository Library Program” tile and selecting the category “Cataloging/Metadata (Policy and Records).