Digital Surrogates

While not a replacement for print retentions, knowing the presence of digital surrogates can assist in assessing risk and access to the material. As shared print programs work to accurately identify and understand the collective retained print collections, some individual libraries have begun to identify where the print item has an equivalent digital version and/or to digitize local materials.

According to contemporary cataloging practice, digital surrogates are described in separate bibliographic records from the original. Depending on institutional practice, separate records for the digital surrogate and the print version may refer to each other via the 776 field (see GPO examples below) and the 856 41 is used in either or both records to indicate the digital surrogate’s URL and program source (i.e., Google Books, HathiTrust, etc). In earlier cataloging practice, the 856 field was used to represent the digital surrogate in the print record in place of creating a separate record.

Best Practice

These recommendations are meant to reflect the current state of the landscape for finding and recording digital surrogates of existing monograph retentions. Should an institution or program want to create and/or record digital surrogates, asking the questions above and reviewing the following steps are suggested best practices: 

  1. Consider the following questions:
    • Is there a digital surrogate? 
    • Where there is a digital surrogate, who is the provider?
    • Is the surrogate open access, where open access means that the item is digitally available without access or use restrictions?
    • Has the digital surrogate been validated? If so, how was it validated and when? Validation would include checking that the URL is still valid.
  2. When an institution/program attempts to find digital surrogates for its retained monographs, it should record any answers to the questions above according to program-level cataloging practice. According to contemporary cataloging practice, digital surrogates are described in separate bibliographic records from the original. Depending on institutional practice, separate records for the digital surrogate and the print version may refer to each other via the 776 field and the 856 41 is used in either or both records to indicate the digital surrogate’s URL and program source (ie. Google Books, HathiTrust, etc).
  3. The bibliographic information determined in the bullet above should be recorded both locally and in OCLC’s master bibliographic record (if not already present) to facilitate discovery and access across programs.

Metadata for Digital Surrogate Examples

CRL

This is the record for the digital surrogate.  Note use of the 856 field for an online resource and the source of the digital surrogate. It also identifies the print version in the 776 field.

See CRL Online Catalog. (n.d.). Retrieved June 3, 2019, from http://catalog.crl.edu/record=b2861719~S1

Example from the MAC proposal 2019-01

Printed Resource, Enriched by Information About Electronic Versions in Field 856 Subfields $e and $7


See Congress Network Development and MARC Standards Office. (2018, December 12). MARC PROPOSAL NO. 2019-01. Retrieved June 3, 2019, from http://www.loc.gov/marc/mac/2019/2019-01.html

Example GPO Records


Online record at OCLC #604660376 with GoogleBook, HathiTrust, and GPO links and a 776 for the print record.

Print record at OCLC #46804073 with multiple GPO links and two 776 to online records . The presence of the two 776s in the print record and the divergence in the links between the records illustrate some of the record maintenance issues that occur.