Introduction | Copy Cataloging Instructions | Reference Information and Examples



The MARC 260 field contains information about the publication and distribution of a work.  For published books, the most commonly included information is the place of publication, publisher, and date of publication.  For unpublished items (such as manuscripts, art originals, etc.), only the date of creation is recorded, because the item was not formally published.  Items are considered to be published when they are formally prepared for public distribution by a publisher.  This information is recorded to help catalog users distinguish among versions of the work. 


Copy Cataloging Instructions


·         Verify that subfields b and c match the item being cataloged. 


·         If there are multiple publishers on the item, check to make sure that at least one of them appears in the bibliographic record. 


·         Varying degrees of fullness of recording the publisher’s name are acceptable (i.e., accept either Wiley or John Wiley and Sons).  Do not edit records to make the publisher’s name more or less full. 


·         The date that needs to be matched in the 260 is the date of the publication of the edition specified in the MARC 250 (edition) field (if present), not the date of a subsequent printing.  Ignore these subsequent dates when matching book and cataloging copy. 


·         Change the date in |c to match the date of the item in hand for Cataloging in Publication (CIP) records (distinguished by the presence of Encoding Level 8 in the Leader).  The date of publication is often incorrect in CIP records.

·     Reference Information and Examples


For complete coding information, consult the OCLC Bibliographic Formats and Standards, 260.


Chief Source

The chief source for the 260 field is:  the title page, title page verso, pages preceding the title page, cover, or colophon.



Both indicators are blank.


Subfield a: Place of Publication

Enter the place of publication as it appears in the book.  When more than one place is given:


1.  If all places are in the U.S., record the first place only.


Chief source:  New York   San Francisco   Phoenix

260:__: |a New York


2.  If the first place is non-U.S. and any of the others is U.S., record the first non-U.S. place and the first U.S. place.  Give multiple places of publication in separate subfield |a (s) punctuated with a semicolon “ ; |a”.


Chief source:  Oxford   New York   Toronto   Boston

260:__: |a Oxford ; |a New York


3.  If the first place is U.S. and any other is non-U.S., record the first U.S. place only.


Chief source:  Pittsburgh and London

260:__: |a Pittsburgh




Certain place names may be abbreviated when they appear in full form in the book.  Refer to AACR2 Appendix B.14: Names of Certain Countries, States, Provinces, Territories, etc., for the appropriate abbreviation.  This document is also available online http://www.library.yale.edu/cataloging/music/placeabb.htm.   



Bracket the place of publication when:

1.  The place of publication is taken from a source other than the chief source.

2.  The place is not present in the publication, but you know or can ascertain the probable place.


260:__: |a [San Antonio, Tex.] : |b Center for Archaeological Research, University of Texas at San Antonio

(book is published by the Center for Archaeological Research at the Univ. of Texas at San Antonio, but the place name is recorded in the publication only as a part of the name of the university)


260:__: |a [Munich?]

City is uncertain; give probable city

260:__: |a [United States]

City is unknown, but the country is known; give country

260:__: |a [Spain?]

City is unknown; country is uncertain; give probable country

No Place of Publication

If no place or probable place can be determined, give S.l. (sine loco) in brackets:


          260:__: |a [S.l.] (only the “S” is capitalized; no space following “S.”)


Subfield b    Name of Publisher/Distributor

Give the name of the publisher(s) following the place(s) to which it relates.  The name may be given in the shortest form in which it can be understood and identified internationally.  However, it is not necessary to delete fuller information appearing in the record.

Chief source

260  |b

Penguin Books


W.H. Allen

W.H. Allen (avoids confusion with other publishers called Allen

Da Capo Press, Inc., a subsidiary of Plenum Publishing Corporation

Da Capo


Addition of Distributor

If the publisher is non-U.S. and the distributor is U.S., record both in separate subfield b(s).  If the publisher is U.S. and the distributor is non-U.S., record the publisher only.  In many cases, the distributor is not recorded.


260:__: |a [Paris] : |b Eschig ; |a [Milwaukee, Wis.] : |b Distributed by H. Leonard Corp., |c c2009.


Publication information Covered by Label

When the publication information is covered by a label, give the information printed on the label in the 260.  Give the information under the label (if it is legible) in a 500 note in the form “Imprint covered by label: Place : Publisher”


        500:__: |a Imprint covered by label: Greenwood, S.C. : Attic Press.


No Publisher

If the publisher or distributor cannot be determined, give s.n. (sine nomine) in brackets.


        260:__: |a Paris : |b [s.n.], (both letters should be lowercase; no space between them)


Subfield c    Date of Publication

Give the year of publication (date the item was made available for sale) associated with the book.  If the item lacks a publication date, record the copyright date (date the item was registered for copyright).  Always precede the copyright date with a “c”:  c1995.


In working with older copy, one encounters different ways of recording date information.  The following table summarizes current and older styles of recording the publication date.  It is not necessary to update older records to the current date style. 




CURRENT (DESC = i or a)


·If the date of publication and copyright date are the same, record only the date of publication.


·If the date of publication and the copyright date differ, record the publication date only (LCRI 1.4F5).


·If no publication date is given, record only the copyright date.  Ignore copyright renewal dates for works published before 1978.  If the copyright dates vary, give the latest date for works copyrighted after 1977 (LCRI 1.4F6).


·If no date is present (publication, copyright or manufacture), approximate the date (according to the following chart).

·The first date used was the title page date or, if none, the date of the impression of the volume in hand.  If these were not available, other dates in specified order of preference were used.  More than one date often was given, and these were separated by commas unless brackets made the commas unnecessary.


·Prior to AACR2, “[n.d.]” was used when no date was present in the item.




Approximating the Date of Publication

Approximate dates are enclosed in square brackets

[1971 or 1972]

one year or the other


probable date

[between 1905 and 1912]

use only for dates fewer than 20 years apart


decade certain


probable decade


century certain


probable century

[ca. 1960]

approximate date


Bracketed Date of Publication

Current (DESC = i or a)

Enclose information in brackets if it is taken from a source other than the chief source.

Previous (DESC = blank)

Enclose information in brackets if it is taken from a source other than the title page.  Information taken from the title page verso is enclosed in brackets.



Transmittal Date

When a publication has a date of release or transmittal in a prominent position, include it in the bibliographic description as a quoted note. Typically these special dates consist of months or month and day as well as year and appear on the title page or cover.


        500:___: |a "May 2001."

        500:___: |a "May 1, 2001."

        500:___: |a "Issued May 2001."


Note that a date of release or transmittal is not a publication date. If there is no other date, use the transmittal date as an inferred publication date and enclose it in brackets.


        260:__: |c [2001]



For print theses, the bibliographic record contains only a date in field 260. Subfields |a and |b are absent in all unpublished items.


        260:__: |c 1981.


Theses that are available online are considered published, and have the location of the granting university in |a and the institution granting the degree in |b.


            260:__: |a Dallas, Tex. : |b Southern Methodist University, |c 2010.


Dates on Multivolume Sets

1. If the set is complete, field 260 is closed.


260:__: |c 1994.  (all volumes published in 1994)

260:__: |c 1993-1995.  (individual volumes published in different years; give inclusive dates)


2.  If the set is incomplete (all volumes not yet published), field 260 remains open.


260:__: |c 1989-  (the hyphen indicates the date is open and volumes are still being published)


LC uses angle brackets, < >, to indicate temporary information.  The date within these brackets is updated as additional volumes are received.


260:__: |c 1989-<1994>


CUL does not follow the LC policy of using angle brackets to indicate years received. Delete the bracketed date.  Use only the earliest date followed by a hyphen:


260:__: |c 1989-


Subfield g    Printing Dates

Frequently publications are issued in different printings.  Sometimes there is a change in the binding (paperback vs. hardback); other times, the only difference is in printing dates.  A new bib record is not created for a new printing. 

Ex.: The first edition was published in 1986.  We own the first edition.  We are adding the 12th printing, 1990.

260:__: |c 1986.  (Do not add the printing date when we own the earlier edition.  Treat the 1990 printing as an add copy on the 1986 record.  Use 1986 in the call number date for the 1990 printing).

If the new printing is a paperback, and the ISBN is different than the edition we own, add a separate 020 field for the paperback.

 020:__: |a 4770017456 (pbk.)

For Romance language publications, what is really a printing is often called an edition.  Generally, do not note this printing information in the bibliographic record.  See the 250 |a section of When to Input a New Record http://www.oclc.org/bibformats/en/input/default.shtm for further guidance. 



EC/SHS 04/08/2002|6/16/2010


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Last updated 07/29/2010