Monthly Archives: February 2019

What year is it?

We’re only a little over a month into 2019 and already books are arriving on our shelves with a 2020 copyright date. Having dealt with more than a few records where catalogers struggled with ©2019 while it was still 2018, I thought I’d take a moment to offer a refresher on how to deal with post-dated publications.

One of the basic tenets of RDA is to “take what your see.” And this make sense when you think of describing a resource several years after its publication. If there’s nothing on the item in hand to say it actually came out the year prior to the copyright date, you’re not going to describe it that way in, say, 2024. To identify that resource correctly in the future, you need to use what’s on the item to describe it.

It’s also important to note that a copyright date is NOT the publication date. In fact, a stated publication date outranks the copyright date when they conflict with one another. A book with statement that says “Published in 2018” accompanied by a 2019 copyright date is rightly 2018 in field 264 1 subfield c. To be helpful, the copyright date can (and should, IMO) be transcribed in the 264 4 subfield c. But a publication date derived from the copyright date is only inferred (that’s why it’s placed in brackets 🙂 )

Finally, if you need the opinion of a higher authority than me…

The second instruction in LC-PCC-PS for RDA (Date of Publication not Identified in a Single-Part Resource) tells us:
“If the copyright date is for the year following the year in which the publication is received, supply a date of publication that corresponds to the copyright date.”

So until you receive your first ©2021 book…happy cataloging!

Barbara Satow, Cleveland Public Library

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