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Associations and InstitutionsAnnual 

64th IFLA Conference Logo

   64th IFLA General Conference
   August 16 - August 21, 1998


Code Number: 136-74(WS)-E
Division Number: IV.
Professional Group: Cataloguing
Joint Meeting with: -
Meeting Number: 74.
Simultaneous Interpretation:   No

Cataloguing CD-Roms using the ISBD(ER) rules - examples of a French public library
(Médiathèque de la Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie à Paris)

Maria Witt
Médiathèque de la Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie
Paris, France


The Cité des Sciences et de l'Industrie in Paris - the interactive museum for science and technology which opened to the public in 1986 hosts a multimedia library holding some 330 000 documents.

The small collection of CD-ROMs integrated into library's collection since the end of 1991 ("Public section" and the "Didacthèque") have been expanded in October 1996. Presently more than 800 titles are available for viewing on site or for circulation. After the brief background of CD-ROM installation and collections in French public librairies this paper discusses the problems of describing CD-ROMs in the online catalog. It mostly concentrates on the collection for circulation.

The rules of bibliographic description correspond to the draft of the French national standard, which follows the ISBD (ER) principles. The format used for cataloguing in the library is UNIMARC and the automated system - GEAC GLIS.

Cataloguing have been done locally since the national bibliographic description of electronic documents was not available at the time when the first collection was constituted. Since April 1997 the "Bibliographie nationale française" on CD- ROM provides the description for electronic documents whose downloading is now possible.

This paper analyses the benefits of downloading of bibliographic records for ER and concludes that some local adaptation (updating) is necessary for satisfysing end user needs.


1. The context

2. ER cataloguing in France

3. Cataloguing CD-ROMs at La Villette


The system requirements, are different for La Villette and the BNF : we use the UNIMARC field 626 (the OPAC displays "Type de matériel.") while the BNF uses the field 337. The system requirements note is more detailed and the field 337 is often repeated, whereas at La Villette, we mention only the most common one.

Besides the abstract (UNIMARC field 330) already discussed in para. 3.1 above and the audience type (333), for practical reasons, we inform our users about the technical assistance. This information is given in a general note (field 300).

Since this workshop deals with the descriptive part of ER cataloguing, we shall end our discussion of CD-ROM data here. If we had the time we could have given examples of the variant titles and talk about author access or series descriptions, multi-volume sets or mention OPAC issues. As for series access and cross-references to series descriptions, we have not yet solved the vital problem of whether to describe such series as ER or serials. Here again, we come up against the format/content conflict.

Concerning this problem "Decisions must be taken with reference to the library collection and intended audience. A music library must focus on the phonographic and musical aspects of the resource. Other libraries will be more inclined to show 'electronic resource' in the general description of document type for a multimedia item, even if it deals with the works of a musician and contains recorded music or musical transcriptions."12

To sum up, downloading forty descriptions last February was a means of comparing and updating the UNIMARC entries. It was a conclusive experiment and we decided to download BNF descriptions in future for cataloguing new CD-ROMs.

Our present problem is not with applying the standard - we follow the same general rules at La Villette and BNF - but in coverage. Too few CD-ROMs are deposited as required by law. We shall be cooperating with BNF to put pressure on publishers. Another way of cooperation is through ADDNB which is insufficiently used in connection with ER bibliographic processing.

We shall end with a few suggestions. At national level, we must pool our cataloguing practices, we must strengthen and participate in professional training, we must publicise the description sources and standards and encourage professionals to follow them.

At local level, in La Villette Médiathèque, we shall have to update the OPAC data and consider future developments in our system. The work of the new IFLA group on OPACs will be extremely valuable.


  1. The annual subscription includes one year's entrance to CSI and entitlement to borrow up to five items for three weeks.

  2. The number of electronic documents deposited since January 1994 (when the implementation circular appeared) is approximately 500 titles; estimate from C.Vayssade, Documents électroniques et conservation patrimoniale: le rôle des bibliothèques nationales, In Le Salon de l'information électronique, le salon de l'Intenet et de l'intranet, 15ème congrès, Paris, juin 1998, textes des communications

  3. French Standard Z 44-082 Catalogage des documents électroniques (nearing completion, to be published end 1998).

  4. Some on-line library catalogues contain CD-ROMs. For example, the OPAC of Pôle de Vinci library available on internet claims to have 800 CD-ROM titles for the general public (art, leisure, games, discovery, utilities, computers) and professionals (business directories, bibliographic databases, company annual statements, full-text reviews) http://bibl.0005.devinci.fr. The La Villette catalogue can be consulted on Minitel at 3615 VILLETTE or 3614 MEDVIL (for subscription holders).

  5. The field 204 has been obsolete since 1987.

  6. As already mentioned, this is a collection of 300 titles of popular science on the universe and its origins, history of science and technology, life and earth sciences, computers and mathematics, health and leisure, and transport. There are 90 CD-ROMs for children under four headings: mathematics, logic, computers; drawing and creative art; nature, human body, animals; and everyday life, general knowledge.

  7. The term "DOC.EL" is inserted automatically in descriptions downloaded from BNF from the record label (position 6, type of document, value c).

  8. When obtaining descriptions from outside sourceses, we always use the BNF descriptions for books, BN pre-1970 general catalogue for older periodicals and books (in progress) and sporadically we use foreign sources like OCLC.

  9. D.Lahary : Cataloguer les cédéroms et autres documents électroniques. In Bulletin d'informations de l'Association des bibliothécaires français, No. 177, 4e trimestre 1997.

  10. French Standard Z 44-073 Mai 1991. Documentation. Catalogage des monographies. Rédaction de la description bibliographique allégée

  11. The emergence of new relationship functions for ER like programmer, graphics designer, etc. prompted us to suggest updating UNIMARC appendix C to fill this need. These suggestions were included among GEAC system users' proposals in France, coordinated by the present author and submitted to PUC through BNF. The new relator codes were approved and published in Spring 1998 in Unimarc Update No. 2.

  12. A. Provensal : Catalogage des ressources électroniques: les propositions de l'IFLA. In Bulletin d'informations de l'Association des bibliothécaires français No 177, 4e trimestre 1997.