Cataloging Hot Tips

This page is dedicated to the catalogers in the trenches -- the ones who struggle every day to meet the ever present challenge of MORE, BETTER, FASTER, CHEAPER. If your goal is to make the library experience as rich and rewarding as it possibly can be for your library's users, then you're our kind of cataloger. We want to help. The tips below were assembled by TLC Support staff, Documentation writers, and Product Managers to help you produce the best MARC records in the shortest time. There's also a Shared Tips link so you can share your own discoveries. Please help us help you by suggesting ideas for this site.

Cataloger's Reference Shelf updates
The TLC Documentation Department updates the Cataloger's Reference Shelf (CRS) several times a year. The updated CRS is included in the annual BiblioFile software update.

Catalogers Reference Shelf

The CRS is an in-depth compendium of cataloging information, easily accessed with one keystroke (F1).  It is a context-sensitive help source for specific cataloging questions as you are cataloging, or as a supplementary source for cataloging information.

By providing quick access to standards information, the CRS helps catalogers produce uniform, high-quality cataloging records.  It includes the following resources and manuals: 

  • content from 28 electronic MARC manuals and reference works published by the Library of Congress;

  • compilation of general information common to all five MARC data formats;

  • detailed information regarding MARC data formats – bibliographic, authority, classification, community information, holdings;

  • MARC code lists for countries, geographic areas, languages, relators, sources, and description conventions;

  • MARC specifications for record structure, character repertoires – including eight MARC-8 and UCS/Unicode code tables, and exchange media;

  • Library of Congress Rule Interpretations, which provides all valid LC rule interpretations issued since the AACR2 1988 revision, including RDA and current cataloging standards;

  • sixteen manuals covering cataloging practices for moving images, looseleaf publications, serials, authority control, rare books, graphic materials, cartographic materials, classification, and cuttering;

  • list of RDA resources and suggestions for further reading.

ITS.MARC Network status

Web access: No known Internet connectivity problems.

Slow response time: If your ITS.MARC connection is slow, click here.

Serials Limiting: If you limit a web-based search to serial formats only (in Set Limits), your search will fail in most circumstances. Until this can be resolved, avoid limiting by this format. You can remove any existing limiting by clicking the Clear Limits link.

Alternate Z39.50 server access: TLC maintains two ITS.MARC servers for Z39.50 access. The "tried and true" server ( is accessed primarily by users of TLC's established cataloging software products (ITS for Windows and Library.Solution Cataloging) and by catalogers using non-TLC Z39.50 clients. The other server (, the "BiblioFile" server) is used primarily by BiblioFile users. In reality, either server could be searched by any Z39.50 client with the proper attribute settings. For example, the following instructions may be used by BiblioFile users in the event the BiblioFile server were to go down.

Go into BiblioFile and select Components > Search Profile Editor. Although you can change the server a given profile uses, TLC recommends making a copy of the profile and changing the copy. Here's how:

  1. Click on the database you want to copy (e.g., LCCurrentZ).
  2. Select Edit > Copy
  3. Select Edit > Paste. A new profile will become visible (e.g., LCCurrentZ (1) ).
  4. Rename the profile to indicate it will use the old server (e.g., LCCurrentZ - old server)
  5. Click on the profile you just created.
  6. Under Server Information, change the Address from to 

    After saving your changes, you will be able to search the old server by title, author, or subject. Note that these text-type searches must be invoked as keyword searches ("contains"). Numeric searches, such as ISBN, LCCN, etc. require one more change to the profile.
  7. Under Attribute Information, select Bibliographic as the Record Type, ISBNs (or LCCNs, etc.) as the Search Field, and Begins With as the Search Type.
  8. Change three of the six attributes as follows:
    Structure = 2 (Word)
    Position = 3 (Any position in field)
    Truncation = 1 (Right truncation)

    Numeric searches, such as ISBN, must be performed as "Begins With" searches
  9. Select File > Save or press F9 to save your changes.


Reporting Errors to the Library of Congress
TLC strives to maintain the most up to date and accurate cataloging resource data available. We rely on national libraries, professional cataloging services, and our own contributing libraries when constructing the ITS.MARC resource pool. Occasionally, even professional catalogers make mistakes.

If you find an error in a cataloging record from the Library of Congress, LC wants to know about it. Please refer to for instructions.


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