Policy: Floor Bibliographic Standards


The purpose of a floor standard for bibliographic records is to specify minimum standards for completeness and content designation. Floor standards are intended for ‘cataloged’ titles, that is, ones where a permanent bibliographic record has been prepared for library materials. Catalogers must ensure that every record adheres to this floor standard and are encouraged to use their judgement to determine whether additional data elements are beneficial. 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
      • When copy cataloging, records cataloged as BSR or CSR may be coded as Level Blank (preferred) or I in OCLC and do not need to carry PCC authentication codes.
      • As of April 2020, all OCLC participants may now create records using code blank for full level records, regardless of PCC authentication.
      • The BSR and CSR may be used independently of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) participation.
      • Additionally, name headings on non-PCC authenticated records do not need to be supported by authority records but must be formulated according to the cataloging standard used.
    • Members are encouraged to use cataloger’s judgement to determine whether additional data elements are beneficial.
    • 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-RDA records to conform to RDA.

The following are examples of bibliographic records in the Alma Network Zone that are not required to meet floor bibliographic standards. Even in these cases, Alliance members must make a commitment to using the available records that most closely adhere to the floor standards or, if possible, enhancing records.

  • Brief records created for ordering purposes or in-process control.
  • Records representing titles in a knowledge base (e.g. Alma CZ records)
  • Marcive shipping list records
  • Vendor records added to the Alma NZ, either from outsourced cataloging or from vendors providing record sets
  • Retrospective cataloging projects, where available copy is less full than current standards or where cataloging is done based on surrogates, in batch, etc., or when staff availability prohibits fuller cataloging.
  • Records for non-Latin materials or for foreign language materials added to the Alma NZ where there is not sufficient language expertise

Note that this list is not exhaustive.


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; SCTS Team on 8/13/2020.

Last updated: 08/13/2020

Nature of last update: revised policy