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Metadata Unit

Cataloguing of Firm Order e-Books

Section is currently under revision

Cataloguing of e-Books

[Last revised:  Nov. 21, 2019 - GLJ]

Effective Aug.2018, we no longer do any unnecessary re-cataloguing of e-book records, as long as the Bib record looks satisfactory AND/OR especially if the record will soon be overlaid through the natural Gobi/YBP FTP Files process!

AND/OR if it’s a WaSeSS record being provided by Serials Solutions, then we definitely do not bother editing the record! (Check for “WaSeSS” in 035/040)  The only exception would be if there is a glaring error that should be corrected in the interim while we wait for Serials Solutions to overlay.  (However, if that’s the case, please alert GLJ, as it may need to be reported to Serials Solutions directly)

If a RUSH / NOTIFY / RESERVE e-book request comes through, simply verify the following:

  • Bib record matches the resource
  • 856 URL link works* and you’re able to access the middle of the book
  • Hldgs record exists with:    852   8_ |b inre  |h ELECTRONIC
  • or for a WaSeSS record:    852   8_ |b inre,eb  |h  ELECTRONIC

*NOTE re. testing 856 URL links:  The link as it appears in the OPAC (with EZproxy prefix) is the one that must be fully operative.  Occasionally, the link as it appears in the Bib record (lacking EZproxy, see e.g. Bib 4676531) may not work for all staff users who test it, and that is okay.  Leave the link recorded in the Bib record as is, as Helen needs it to remain as purchased & provided by the vendor (so long as it works for at least some staff).  Therefore, if at first the link does not work via the Ctrl+K (Verify Hypertext Links) method of testing within Voyager Cataloging module, then be sure to select Record -> Send Record To -> WebVoyage to test the web link as it appears in OPAC.  If that test still fails, then report the problem to Helen to pursue with the vendor.

Even if the Bib record looks sparse/provisional, do NOT perform any further cataloguing at this time, as it will likely be overlaid very soon.  Simply make note of, or print out an extra copy of the Bib record as a reminder to check back at a later date to ensure the overlay occurred, and a better/fuller record remains.

Effective Nov.2019, endowment fund gift notes are no longer added to Bib records by Cataloguers (regardless if indicated on the paperwork for the purchased e-books).  Endowment fund notes will be added at a later time via an automated process.


Rush / Notify e-Books

Print out the Bib record, and attach the RUSH / NOTIFY flag.  Write “RUSH e-book” on the upper right side of the printout, then place the printout in the “RUSH / PRIORITY BOOKS” tray for Circulation Services staff to collect.

(IF you happen to notice the original paperwork mentions the e-book may have been intended for Reserve, then also leave that paperwork attached & add a note for the CRA to investigate.  Otherwise, the original paperwork may simply be discarded.)

Rush / Reserve e-Books

Print out the Bib record, and attach both the RUSH flag and the RESERVE information (fold the Reserve sheet so it doesn’t completely cover the Bib printout).  Write “RUSH RESERVE e-book” on the upper right side of the printout, then place the printout in the “RUSH / PRIORITY BOOKS” tray for Circulation Services staff to collect.



(PDFs are usually catalogued at the request of a subject selector. Occasionally, Acquisitions may “order” a PDF when paper edition is not available)

Catalogue PDFs in the same manner as any other book (including authority work and adding 910 field). If there is not already a bibliographic record in our catalogue, search OCLC for copy, and find the best record available. Use information from the bibliographic record for the print edition, if necessary, to create the best record.

PDFs - Bibliographic Record


PDFs are considered books

Type of record = a: Language material

 Bibliographic level = m: Monograph/item


Additional Material Characteristics (m - Computer file)

Target Audience [we usually do not code]

Form of Item = o: Online

Type of file = d: Document

Govt Publication [if published by government body, code appropriately]


Physical Description (c - Electronic Resource)

Specific Material Designation = r: Remote

Color [code as appropriate. For example,  b: Black-and-white or

m: Mixed or c: Multicolored or g: Gray scale -- check the ebook]

Dimension = n: Not applicable

Sound on medium = _: No sound (silent)   [if it is not clear whether the e-book has sound or not, use “no attempt to code

All other fields in 007 are usually coded “unknown” or “no attempt to code”.


General description

Form of item = o: Online        (Note: we formerly used  s: Electronic [do not use “s” for new catalogue records])


ISBN(s) for the PDF are usually denoted with  |a and ISBN(s) for the print are usually denoted by  |z.

ISBN(s) for the PDF are often found on the vendor’s HTML page, or may be on the PDF’s “verso of the title page”


Add  |b eng  and |e rda  (if not present already):

  •     ‚ÄčLLMC3 |b eng |e rda |c LLMC3
  •     CaBViV |b eng |e rda |c CaBViV
050 If an 050 field (or multiple 050 fields) exist, leave as is, but do not add.
  • 1 online resource

If the information is readily available, also add the pagination and illustrative information:

  • 1 online resource (xiv, 432 pages) : |b illustrations, maps

If these fields do not appear in the record, add them.  The keyboard shortcut for adding 336, 337, 338 for e-books is Ctrl F2

  • 336   |a text |2 rdacontent
  • 337   |a computer |2 rdamedia
  • 338   |a online resource |2 rdacarrier
500 or 588

If there is no note at all, we will add a 588 worded as:

  • 588  Description based on online resource; title from PDF title page (EBSCO, viewed November 10, 2017).

If there is only a 500 field, change it to a 588 field (you do not need to change the wording, UNLESS the wording refers to the print version).

If there is both a 500 and a 588 field, then delete the 500 field.  (Again, you do not have to change the wording of the 588 field, UNLESS the wording refers to the print version)

506 or 533

For paid e-resources, there must be either a 506 or a 533 field. Do not add for free e-resources.

If a 533 field exists in the record, ensure that it includes  |n Access restricted to users at subscribing institutions.

If there is no 533 field, then add a 506 field:

  • 506      |a Access restricted to users at subscribing institutions.

 [Add this subfield n to 533 field (or add the 506 field) ONLY if the e-book is “purchased” (i.e., it has a purchase order)]

530 and 538 Do not add these fields.  If they already exist in the record, leave in.
710 Delete any 710 which contains the name of the e-book vendor (e.g. EBSCOhost).
776 Delete any 776 field.
  • 856 40  |u http://[appropriate URL]

For purchased e-books, the URL should be correct (Acquisitions staff should have received the URL from the vendor, and tried it out.  However, we always try out the link, and take a look at pages in the middle of the book.

For free e-books, free PDFs, and free websites that a subject selector has asked to be catalogued, the subject selector should have provided the URL; use this in the 856 field. If there is also a PURL (Permanent URL) in the bibliographic record (usually seen for government documents), leave it in. Delete any other URLs.


(Record > Send Record to > Webvoyage  [and click on the link])

or Record > Verify Hypertext links… (or from the keyboard: Ctrl + K))

PDFs - Holdings Record


The location and call number are always the same.

For purchased e-books the information should already be in the holdings record, and Helen may also have added a  |z public note, saying how many people can access the e-book at a given time. You are not responsible for adding or changing the  |z notes.)

For free e-books, PDFs, and websites, you will need to create the Holdings record.

location code = inre (also, note that first indicator is 8 (= other scheme)

  •  852   8 |b inre  |h ELECTRONIC

Do not code.

[PDFs are generally considered “one volume”, even if the print edition has 2 or more volumes. If you think a PDF is an exception to this rule, please ask.]


Creative Commons License
This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.