Limited Corporation for Information Management and Documentation

Retrocataloging for a university of music

Project examples


For the library of a northern German university of music, we have been electronically registering CD stocks for many years. Parts of the sheet music collection have also been processed in the meantime. These holdings were to be listed in the database of the Common Library Network (GBV).

Project duration: ongoing

Two projects for the library of a northern German music university involved, respectively still involve the electronic registration of the CD stocks, consisting of collections of the work of individual composers and performer portraits, as well as parts of the sheet music collection – scores of choral and orchestral works and piano reductions of choral works. The client’s library is part of the Common Library Network (GBV), which is supported by seven German states and Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. In all, more than 500 libraries are affiliated with this network – among them the national, state, and university libraries of the respective states and Preußischer Kulturbesitz State Library at Berlin.

The aim of the projects was to process the stocks mentioned above and list them in the database of the Common Library Network – based on photocopies of the sheet music or CD covers, a procedure that is called retrocataloging in Documentation. The materials themselves are to remain in the library, to be available for teaching and research. For the network partners to be able to access information immediately, we are working on-line, directly into the Network’s database.

During processing, priorities were on the quality of registration, the allocation of unambiguous uniform titles, and the observation of pertinent regulations. Both the cataloging guidelines of the Library Network and RDA (Resource Description and Access) regulations applied. New data records were created; the music university had noted the relevant instructions on dockets prior to this. They show a signature which unambiguously identifies a work, and notations that characterize a CD systematically, e.g. as vocal music of a choir or as dramatic stage music. With CD collections in boxes or slipcases, the hierarchy is marked out.

In addition, we had to check for duplicates: Was a certain CD or score in stock at another library of the Network? If so, the data had to be supplemented by an entry for this institution, and names of persons, choirs, or orchestras had to be linked – in Documentation, we call this “upcataloging”.

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