3.4.6 Order of Notes, Does it Make a Difference?

AACR2 rules dictate the order in which descriptive notes are to be presented in the catalog record. The bibliographic record is organized by AACR2 area (eg. Title and statement of responsibility area (1.1); Edition area (1.2); Publication, distribution area (1.3); etc.). Within the Note area (1.7) of the record, the notes are arranged in the same way. These notes are mostly entered in the 5xx fields and are to be recorded in AACR2 order, not necessarily in numerical order according to MARC. In longer records this serves to organize and group information, making it easier to comprehend at a glance.

Responses often given when the order of notes are discussed include:

  • Some systems organize notes according to MARC numerical order automatically and
    overriding this order is difficult or impossible.
  • In short records, there are few notes to organize.
  • Some librarians feel that the arbitrary order prescribed by AACR2 makes the cataloging
    process more difficult.
  • The public or library patrons probably will not notice what order the notes are in.

However, there are several other issues that need to be considered:

  • A researcher or librarian might well appreciate that in a long record all notes explaining title
    variations are grouped, all notes on publication are together, etc.
  • In the shared cataloging situation, if all catalogers followed this standard, it would save time
    and make the information contained in the notes more accessible.

Important rule

“Make notes as set out in the following (AACR2) sub rules and in the order given there. However, give a particular note first when it has been decided that note is of primary importance”. (Example: The 538 system requirements field for video recordings is listed in AACR2 as a physical description note, but in many cases we see that it has been moved to the top of the note area.)

BOOKS- ORDER OF NOTES

500 – – Nature, scope or artistic form (1.7B1)

546 – – Language of item and/or translation or adaptation (1.7B2)

500 – – Source of title proper (1.7B3)

500 – – Variations in title (1.7B4)

500 – – Parallel titles and other title information (1.7B5)

500 – – Statements of responsibility (1.7B6)

500 – – Edition and history (1.7B7)

500 – – Publication, distribution, etc. (1.7B9)

500 – – Physical description (1.7B10)

500 – – Accompanying material (1.7B11)

500 – – Series. Make notes on series data that cannot be given in the series area (1.7B12)

502 – – Dissertations (1.7B13)

521 – – Audience (1.7B14)

500 – – Other formats (1.7B16)

520 – – Summary (1.7B17)

504 – – Informal contents (bibliography and index note)

505 – – Contents (1.7B18)

500 – – Numbers (1.7B19)

590 – – Copy being described, library holdings, and restrictions on use (1.7B20)

501 – – “With” notes (1.7B21)

SOUND RECORDINGS – ORDER OF NOTES

“Make notes as set out in the following sub rules and in the order given there. However, give a particular note first when it has been decided that note is of primary importance.” – AACR2

500 – – Nature or artistic form and medium of performance. Make notes on the form of a literary work or the type of musical or other work unless it is apparent from the rest of the description.

546 – – Language.

500 – – Source of title proper.

500 – – Variations in title.

500 – – Parallel title and other title information.

500 – – Statements of responsibility.

500 – – Edition and history.

500 – – Publication, distribution, etc.

500 – – Physical description (physical details not included in physical description area)

500 – – Accompanying material.

500 – – Series (data that can not be given in series area)

502 – – Dissertation (if the item being described is a dissertation).

521 – – Intended audience
<b> No information provided
0 Reading grade level
1 Interest age level
2 Interest grade level
3 Special audience characteristics
4 Motivation/interest level

500 – – Other formats (Issued also as … )

520 – – Summary
<b> No information provided
0 Subject
1 Review
2 Scope and content
3 Abstract

505 – – Contents
0 Contents
1 Incomplete contents
2 Partial contents

500 – – Publishers’ numbers

590 – – Copy being described, library’s holdings, and restrictions on use.

501 – – “With” notes.

VIDEORECORDINGS – ORDER OF NOTES

“Make notes as set out in the following sub rules and in the order given there. However, give a particular note first when it has been decided that note is of primary importance” – AACR2

500 – – Nature or form – “Make notes on the nature or form of a motion picture or video recording unless it is apparent from the rest of the description.” (AACR2, p. 194)

546 – – Language

500 – – Source of title proper

500 – – Variations in title

500 – – Parallel titles and other title information

Statements of responsibility

511 – – Cast – List players, performers, narrators and/or presenters.
1 Cast
2* Presenter (no longer used)
3* Narrator (no longer used)

508 – – Credits – List persons (other than the cast) who have contributed to the artistic or technical production.

500 – – Edition and history.

500 – – Publication, distribution, etc., and date.

538 – – Physical description, technical details.
(See 7.7B10 for list of appropriate notes)

500 – – Accompanying material

500 – – Series (data that can not be given in series area)

502 – – Dissertations. If the item being described is a dissertation.

521 – – Target audience
<b> No information provided
0 Reading grade level
1 Interest age level
2 Interest grade level
3 Special audience characteristics
4 Motivation/interest level

500 – – Other formats (Issued also on …)

520 – – Summary, abstract, annotation
<b> No information provided
0 Subject
1 Review
2 Scope and content
3 Abstract

505 – – Contents
0 Contents
1 Incomplete contents
2 Partial contents

500 – – Unedited material and news film.

500 – – Numbers (other than ISBN or ISSN)

590 – – Copy being described, library’s holdings and restrictions on use.

501 – – “With” notes

ELECTRONIC RESOURCES – ORDER OF NOTES (formerly computer files)

“Make notes as set out in the following sub rules and in the order given there. However, give a particular note first when it has been decided that note is of primary importance.” – AACR2

500 – – Nature and scope.
System requirements (538) (required)
Mode of access

546 – – Language and script.

500 – – Source of title proper (required)

500 – – Variations in title.

500 – – Parallel titles and other title information.

500 – – Statements of responsibility.

500 – – Edition and history.

500 – – Type and extent of resource (File characteristics)

500 – – Publication, distribution, etc.

500 – – Physical description.

500 – – Accompanying material.

500 – – Series (data that cannot be given in the series area)

502 – – Dissertations (if item is a dissertation)

521 – – Audience
<b> No information provided
0 Reading grade level
1 Interest age level
2 Interest grade level
3 Special audience characteristics
4 Motivation/interest level

500 – – Other formats (Data issued also in … , issued also for … )

520 – – Summary
<b> No information provided
0 Subject
1 Review
2 Scope and content
3 Abstract

505 – – Contents
0 Contents
1 Incomplete contents
2 Partial contents

500 – – Numbers (other than ISBN or ISSN)

590 – – Copy being described, library’s holdings, and restrictions.

501 – – “With” notes.

500 – – Item described. For remote access resources, always give the date on which the resource was viewed for description. (Description based on contents viewed Sept. 16, 2000)

Maintained by: Erminia Chao

Last Updated: September 2002

Last Modified: October 15, 2014

Location / Hours

The Catalog Department is located on Level 6 of the Harold B. Lee Library. The Department is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.