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Cataloging Hot Tips

This page is dedicated to the catalogers who struggle every day to want to learn more and 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 bibliographic 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 Cataloger's Reference Shelf (CRS) is a context-sensitive digital library covering the MARC standards, code lists, manuals and reference works published by the Library of Congress. The CRS helps catalogers produce high-quality cataloging records according to the MARC data standards.

The updated CRS is included in the annual BiblioFile software update. There is also a web version of CRS.

Catalogers Reference Shelf

The CRS includes the following resources and manuals: 

  • A compilation of general information common to all MARC data formats

  • Detailed information regarding MARC data formats - bibliographic, authority, classification, community information, holdings

  • MARC code lists for countries, geographic areas, languages, relator terms, sources, and description conventions

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

  • The Library of Congress Rule Interpretations.

  • Manuals covering cataloging practices for moving images, looseleaf publications, serials, authority control, rare books, graphic materials, cartographic materials, classification, cuttering and shelflisting.

  • General information on the MARC fields that have been revised or updated in order to be compliant with the RDA standards

  • List of RDA resources and suggestions for further reading

ITSMARC Network status

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 ITSMARC servers for Z39.50 access. The "tried and true" server ( is accessed primarily by users of LS Cataloging (4.x) 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.

BiblioFile Users

The following instructions may be used by BiblioFile users in the event the BiblioFile server is temporarily offline. Before making these changes, we recommend that you call TLC Support to confirm the server status and how long it might be offline.

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 ITSMARC resource pool. Occasionally, even professional catalogers make mistakes.

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


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