Michigan State University

Date discrepancies in bibliographic records for monographs

There are three (or sometimes more) areas where dates need to be examined in most bibliographic records for monographs:

  1. Fixed field ‘Dates’
  2. Publication dates (in 260 $c or 264_1 $c)
  3. Call number dates (at the end of 050 or 090)

Often in the ordering process, we obtain pre-publication catalog records for books. When the books arrive in the library, the dates in the pre-publication records may not match the date information in the piece (for example, if pre-publication cataloging was done in 2011, but actual publication was delayed until 2012). In these cases, we will correct the data in the catalog record to match the information in the piece.

Fixed field ‘Dates’

These should always match the information in the piece. There are two four-digit date values in the fixed fields. In monograph cataloging, the first is for recording date of publication and the second is for recording the copyright date. The copyright date is only recorded in the fixed field if it is present IN ADDITION TO a publication date in the 260 or 264. If recording a publication date and copyright date in the fixed fields, DtSt should be changed from ‘s’ to ‘t’.


Piece is published in 2012 and copyright 2012.

260 $c 2012, c2012
Fixed fields:
DtSt t
Dates 2012, 2012

264_1 $c [2012]
264 _4 $c ©2012
Fixed fields:
DtSt t
Dates 2012, 2012

260 or 264_1 $c 2012
Fixed fields:
DtSt s
Dates 2012

Publication dates (in 260 $c or 264_1 $c)

In AACR2, publication dates and copyright dates were recorded in the same place, the 260 $c. In RDA, they’re recorded in different places: 264_1 $c for publication date; 264_4 $c for copyright date. You should always see a publication date in an RDA record (sometimes in brackets, if it is being inferred from a copyright date), but you will only sometimes see a copyright date recorded, even if it is present in the piece. This is okay! The important thing is making sure that the dates that are recorded in the 260 and 264 match the information in the piece.

Call number dates (at the end of 050 or 090)

Dates at the end of call numbers are usually based on the date of publication in the 260 $c or the 264_1 $c. Using a date in the call number helps us file materials with similar classifications chronologically, based on when they were published. If date information is incorrect in the fields already discussed, it is probably incorrect in the call number, too, so it should be corrected. Take note that this may necessitate relabeling of the book.

However, there are cases where years in call numbers are based on other data, like the year a conference was held for some conference proceedings. An original cataloger or someone trained in LC Classification can help determine if the year in the call number is correct or not.