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About This Guide



Bibliographic Formats and Standards is a guide to the structure, coding practices, and input standards used in bibliographic records in the WorldCat® database. It provides definitions, guidelines, and examples for entering information into WorldCat.


Bibliographic Formats and Standards is designed to assist catalogers and other technical services staff making use of bibliographic records in WorldCat. This guide assumes you are familiar with Resource Description & Access or other recent cataloging standards as well as other standard cataloging reference material.


This document is kept up-to-date by technical bulletins outlining changes to tagging conventions and coding practice for bibliographic records. Information appearing in technical bulletins is incorporated into this document on a regular basis. For a list of current technical bulletins, see Technical Bulletins.

Other changes and updates are incorporated into this document as needed. The latest revision date appears at the end of each page.


The following designations are used throughout this guide:

Record Types Meaning
BIB WorldCat Bibliographic Records
LBD Local Bibliographic Data
LHR Local Holdings Records

Bibliographic Formats Meaning
ALL All formats
BKS Books
CNR Continuing Resources
COM Computer Files
MAP Maps
MIX Mixed Materials
REC Sound Recordings
SCO Scores
VIS Visual Materials

Character Meaning
blank character Blank, distinguished from a fill character
fill character Fill character, distinguished from a blank
ǂ Subfield delimiter


Most examples provided are based on instructions found in Resource Description & Access. They are illustrative, not necessarily prescriptive. Because of the dynamic nature of WorldCat, some examples may not appear online now as shown in this document.

Additional examples

If you find a bibliographic record that illustrates a cataloging instruction or coding practice particularly well, you may share it with us. Send an e-mail message giving the OCLC record number and comments to



OCLC acknowledges the efforts of all the people who participated in producing Bibliographic Formats and Standards.


OCLC acknowledges Nancy B. Olson for permission to adapt and use her chart from A Catalogers Guide to MARC Coding and Tagging for Audiovisual Material. DeKalb, Ill.: Minnesota Scholarly Press, 1993.

OCLC acknowledges Amigos Library Services for permission to adapt and use charts from Amigos Technical Memorandum T79-37, Formatting of Call Numbers.

OCLC acknowledges the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County for permission to adapt and use its chart Summary of Field 260 ǂc.

OCLC writers and reviewers

Bryan Baldus, Robert Bremer, Linda Gabel, Luanne Goodson, Shanna Griffith, Hayley Moreno, Charlene Morrison, Nathan Putnam, Laura Ramsey, Robin Six, Patty Treboni, Jay Weitz, and Cynthia Whitacre.

This page last revised: November 18, 2021