Cataloging and Metadata: Library of Congress Introduces New Cataloging in Publication Data Block | LJ INFOdocket

Most of you probably know what the CIP [Cataloging in Publication] data block is, even if you do not realize it. A Cataloging in Publication record (aka CIP data) is a bibliographic record prepared by the Library of Congress for a book that has not yet been published. When the book is published, the publisher includes the CIP data on the copyright page (usually the verso of the title page of print books), thereby facilitating book processing for libraries and book dealers. The information that appears in the books is referred to as the “CIP data block.” Approximately, 50,000 U.S.-published books per year are processed through the Cataloging in Publication Program. For a publisher to be eligible for the CIP Program, it must publish books that are commonly acquired by the nation’s libraries. Over 5,000 publishers participate in the program, representing the complete range of presses – from children’s books to the most scholarly works – in the United States.

Since the CIP data block has worked so well over the last 44 years, you may ask, “Why change it?” At the 2013 meeting of the Cataloging in Publication Advisory Group (CAG) at the Annual Conference of the American Library Association, CAG members recommended a thorough review of the CIP data block. Specifically, CAG thought that the CIP data block should be evaluated to see if RDA: Resource Description & Access bibliographic elements should be added; if data elements for electronic books should be included with the elements for print books; if the card catalog layout continued to have relevance or should be changed; and, if current or new data elements should be included or excluded from the CIP data block. A committee was formed with key staff from the Library of Congress and external partners representing constituencies including school, public, and academic libraries to investigate these questions.

Between September 2013 and June 2015, I chaired the CIP Data Block Committee that met biweekly to complete its work. Each data element included within the CIP data block was evaluated for inclusion in the new layout. The committee assessed next whether any new data elements should be added. Throughout the discussions, the committee kept in mind the needs of the principal users of the CIP data block – most frequently, smaller libraries with limited cataloging staff expertise – and the interests of the publishing community which would need to alter the data block in published materials to meet the new Library of Congress requirements.


The new layout includes labels for the data elements clearly indicating each category to the user of the data block. The labels are: Names, Title, Other Titles, Description, Identifiers, Subjects, and Classification. Additionally, the layout also combines print and electronic resource data elements into one CIP data block. This allows the viewer of the data block to know of all formats available for the title. The survey results showed that users want this information combined into one single data block.

The layout may also include a URL Permalink that can connect a user to the Library of Congress catalog where a bibliographic record for the title can be selected and electronically sent to the user in various formats. A permalink is a URL that remains unchanged and that when selected goes to a specific item on a web page. The permalink will only appear when a title that has received CIP data has been selected for the Library of Congress’ permanent collections. The survey of the user community indicated that 99% of the respondents had access to the Internet. Because of this, the committee decided that the presence of a permalink would be very helpful to users of the CIP data block. Instead of manually typing the CIP data block elements into their catalogs, users could go to the Library of Congress site and download or e-mail a complete bibliographic record for their use. This would reduce time spent on creating bibliographic records from the CIP data block and reduce errors that may arise when manually inputting a record from the print CIP data block. Finally, the CIP data block now includes clear acronyms (e.g. BISAC, MESH, LCC, DDC) to identify thesauri or classification systems, which allows users to know immediately the origin of the information that appears in the CIP data block for controlled subject terms.

The revised layout will also include new data elements. Survey respondents indicated that they wanted the Publisher Name, Publisher Place, and Publication Date included as part of the Description of the title. American Mathematical Society subject headings, BISAC headings, and Genre/Form terms will be included within the Subjects section of the CIP data block layout, and the Classification section will now include Government Document Classification (SUDOC). In general, the survey respondents supported more access by subject and classification. The Library of Congress will continue to assess whether additional thesauri or classification schema should be added in the spirit of providing more access to the titles profiled through the CIP Program.