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Policy Justification: The purpose of a floor standard for bibliographic records is to specify minimum standards for completeness and content designation. Catalogers make certain that every record adheres to at least this floor level; however, they may exceed the floor when judgment indicates additional data elements are needed. The benefits to the Alliance of a floor standard in a shared ILS are significant. Alma uses a shared bibliographic record in the Network Zone and a floor standard gives Alliance members expectations on quality, reducing the need for editing and re-editing of records.



  • Bibliographic records contributed to the Alma Network Zone must contain specific mandatory elements and meet a minimum level of completeness
  • Minimum descriptive standards for the Alliance are the CONSER Standard Record (CSR) for serials and the BIBCO Standard Record (BSR) for all other bibliographic formats for either RDA or AACR2
  • Members may catalog at the Full level, which surpasses the Alliance floor standard
  • When cataloging using a standard other than RDA or AACR2, records should meet a level of completeness comparable to CSR and BSR standards. There is no requirement to recatalog pre-AACR2 records
  • The following types of bibliographic records in the Alma Network Zone are not required to meet floor bibliographic standards: 
    • records created for ordering purposes
    • records representing titles in a knowledge base (e.g. Alma CZ records)
    • Marcive shipping list records
    • Alma digital files
  • Vendor records, whether from outsourced cataloging for physical materials or vendors providing record sets for electronic resources, added to the Alma NZ must, whenever possible, meet Alliance bibliographic standards and best practices as stated in Alliance mandates and operational policies. Exceptions may be made in the case of record sets provided by vendors, but Alliance members must make a commitment to using the available records that most closely adhere to the floor standards 
  • Retrospective conversion, where available copy is less full than current standards, is not required to meet floor standards

Additional Rationale:
Floor standards are intended for ‘cataloged’ titles, that is, ones where a permanent bibliographic record has been prepared for library materials, and do not cover temporary bibliographic records created for ordering purposes, in-process control, personal-copy course reserves, titles borrowed on ILL from outside the Alliance, inventory control of equipment, etc.

Ideally, floor standards should apply to bibliographic records for all cataloged titles. In some cases, however, record sets provided by vendors do not meet these standards. If possible, libraries who use such records should upgrade them to at least the BSR or CSR standards; however, sometimes this is not feasible given staffing levels and workload at a library.  Nevertheless, Alliance libraries must make a commitment to using the best records available in cases where they are not able to upgrade them.

It is acknowledged that there may be retrospective conversion projects for materials where available copy in WorldCat is less full than current standards. When copy is available but less than full there is no requirement to recatalog according to current standards. It is recognized that these types of projects are frequently performed by copy catalogers who do not have the required authorizations or training to bring existing copy to current standards. This exception is not meant to be used for current acquisitions nor to be seen as a way to opt out of this mandate, but as an acknowledgment of the current staffing and workload of member libraries.

There may be a question about how the BSR and the CSR can be used by libraries that are not members of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC). The BSR and CSR may be used independently of the PCC. When created by non-PCC libraries, records cataloged as BSR or CSR are coded as Level I in OCLC and do not carry PCC authentication codes. Also, name headings on non-authenticated records do not need to be supported by authority records but must be formulated according to the cataloging standard used. While all Alliance libraries are encouraged to participate in the PCC to the extent possible, it is not necessary to join PCC in order to use these standards.


Current phase: Phase 5 Approved Written by: Bibliographic Mandates Review Group
Approved by: Collaborative Workforce Team on 03/08/2016; Technical Services Working Group on 02/16/2016 Last updated: 03/09/2016
Staff Contact: Cassie Schmitt Nature of last update: revised policy