Digital Art History Projects are important resources that should be shared widely. Creating MARC catalog records and making them available in local catalogs and on the network level (e.g. through OCLC Worldcat) is a good way to surface these digital projects, raise awareness and allow other libraries to download these records in order to include them into their catalogs for use within their own communities.
Considerations for cataloging Digital Art History Projects mirror those for any other type of Web content. For instance, it is important to consider if the project is likely to be maintained long term. Some student projects may only be intended for the short term, maybe just the semester, and creating a MARC record would lead to broken links in OCLC Worldcat and other library catalogs.
Once the decision has been made that a digital project warrants its own MARC record, the next step is for the cataloger to determine the mode of issuance. This requires the cataloger to decide if the project is ongoing (and the content will continue to be updated) or if the project is completed (issued only once) and there are no likely updates to the site. If the resource is likely to be issued only once and no updates are intended, then it should be cataloged as a monograph (essentially the same as an e-book). However, if the digital project is going to be updated, it is most likely an “integrating resource” and as such would be cataloged similarly to a Website.
RDA (Resource Description & Access) defines this as follows:
“A resource that is added to or changed by means of updates that do not remain discrete but are integrated into the whole (e.g., a loose-leaf manual that is updated by means of replacement pages, a website that is updated continuously).” (RDA 1.1.3)
An excellent manual providing guidance and examples is
“Integrating Resources : A Cataloging Manual” (appendix A to the BIBCO Participants’ Manual and Module 35 of the CONSER Cataloging Manual).
In addition to helping to determine the question of issuance, it also contains recommendations on which elements to use and directions on how to use them.
Melanie Wacker | Metadata Coordinator, Original and Special Materials Cataloging
Columbia University Libraries
Cover image: Alexandru Panoiu from Bucharest, Romania, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons