Q. What cataloging-related standards are developed and maintained at LC?


The Library of Congress is responsible for developing and maintaining a number of cataloging publications that serve as standards for cataloging library materials throughout the world, including: Library of Congress-Program for Cooperative Cataloging Policy Statements, Library of Congress Subject Headings, and Library of Congress Classification. Other cataloging documentation that addresses various formats of materials are also developed and maintained at LC (e.g., CONSER Cataloging Manual, and Thesaurus for Graphic Materials).

Standards that are necessary for record interchange between library systems are developed and maintained in LC's Network Development & MARC Standards Office. These include Machine-Readable Cataloging (MARC) formats for bibliographic data, authority data, classification data, holdings data, and community information, and numerous MARC 21 code lists. The Library is also the maintenance agency for the information retrieval protocols ANSI/NISO standard Z39.50 (Information Retrieval (Z39.50): Application Service Definition and Protocol Specification) and SRU (Search and Retrieve via URL).

In the area of metadata, the Library of Congress is the maintenance agency for MODS, the Metadata Object Description Schema and METS, the Metadata Encoding and Transmission Standard, and is leading the efforts to define the Bibliographic Framework Initiative (BIBFRAME). In addition to being a replacement for MARC, BIBFRAME serves as a general model for expressing and connecting bibliographic data. A major focus of the initiative will be to determine a transition path for the MARC 21 formats while preserving a robust data exchange that has supported resource sharing and cataloging cost savings in recent decades.


  • Last Updated May 05, 2020
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  • Answered By Melanie Polutta

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