May 19, 2022

Cataloging and Metadata: Library of Congress Introduces New Cataloging in Publication Data Block

Here’s a portion of a nearly 2,000 word overview article about changes to the LC Cataloging-in-Publication Data Block written by Karl E. Debus-López, Chief, U.S. Programs, Law, and Literature Division, Library of Congress and first shared on Library of Congress Cataloging Newsline discussion list.

Most of you probably know what the CIP [Cataloging in Publication] data block is, even if you do not realize it. A Cataloging in Publication record (aka CIP data) is a bibliographic record prepared by the Library of Congress for a book that has not yet been published. When the book is published, the publisher includes the CIP data on the copyright page (usually the verso of the title page of print books), thereby facilitating book processing for libraries and book dealers. The information that appears in the books is referred to as the “CIP data block.” Approximately, 50,000 U.S.-published books per year are processed through the Cataloging in Publication Program. For a publisher to be eligible for the CIP Program, it must publish books that are commonly acquired by the nation’s libraries. Over 5,000 publishers participate in the program, representing the complete range of presses – from children’s books to the most scholarly works – in the United States.

Since the CIP data block has worked so well over the last 44 years, you may ask, “Why change it?” At the 2013 meeting of the Cataloging in Publication Advisory Group (CAG) at the Annual Conference of the American Library Association, CAG members recommended a thorough review of the CIP data block. Specifically, CAG thought that the CIP data block should be evaluated to see if RDA: Resource Description & Access bibliographic elements should be added; if data elements for electronic books should be included with the elements for print books; if the card catalog layout continued to have relevance or should be changed; and, if current or new data elements should be included or excluded from the CIP data block. A committee was formed with key staff from the Library of Congress and external partners representing constituencies including school, public, and academic libraries to investigate these questions.

Between September 2013 and June 2015, I chaired the CIP Data Block Committee that met biweekly to complete its work. Each data element included within the CIP data block was evaluated for inclusion in the new layout. The committee assessed next whether any new data elements should be added. Throughout the discussions, the committee kept in mind the needs of the principal users of the CIP data block – most frequently, smaller libraries with limited cataloging staff expertise – and the interests of the publishing community which would need to alter the data block in published materials to meet the new Library of Congress requirements.


The new layout includes labels for the data elements clearly indicating each category to the user of the data block. The labels are: Names, Title, Other Titles, Description, Identifiers, Subjects, and Classification. Additionally, the layout also combines print and electronic resource data elements into one CIP data block. This allows the viewer of the data block to know of all formats available for the title. The survey results showed that users want this information combined into one single data block.

The layout may also include a URL Permalink that can connect a user to the Library of Congress catalog where a bibliographic record for the title can be selected and electronically sent to the user in various formats. A permalink is a URL that remains unchanged and that when selected goes to a specific item on a web page. The permalink will only appear when a title that has received CIP data has been selected for the Library of Congress’ permanent collections. The survey of the user community indicated that 99% of the respondents had access to the Internet. Because of this, the committee decided that the presence of a permalink would be very helpful to users of the CIP data block. Instead of manually typing the CIP data block elements into their catalogs, users could go to the Library of Congress site and download or e-mail a complete bibliographic record for their use. This would reduce time spent on creating bibliographic records from the CIP data block and reduce errors that may arise when manually inputting a record from the print CIP data block. Finally, the CIP data block now includes clear acronyms (e.g. BISAC, MESH, LCC, DDC) to identify thesauri or classification systems, which allows users to know immediately the origin of the information that appears in the CIP data block for controlled subject terms.

The revised layout will also include new data elements. Survey respondents indicated that they wanted the Publisher Name, Publisher Place, and Publication Date included as part of the Description of the title. American Mathematical Society subject headings, BISAC headings, and Genre/Form terms will be included within the Subjects section of the CIP data block layout, and the Classification section will now include Government Document Classification (SUDOC). In general, the survey respondents supported more access by subject and classification. The Library of Congress will continue to assess whether additional thesauri or classification schema should be added in the spirit of providing more access to the titles profiled through the CIP Program.

Three data elements included in the former version of the CIP data block layout will be removed. They are: Preferred (Uniform) Title – Collective Title; Author Affiliations; and Physical Description (i.e. “pages cm”). The survey respondents overwhelmingly agreed that the Preferred (Uniform) title – Collective Title (e.g. “Poems. Selections”) provided very little value to the user, and was often confusing. Author affiliations (e.g. an author’s professional title or where the author works) were often lengthy and outdated. The respondents to the survey also felt that the affiliations bring little value to the user of the CIP data block and supported their removal. Finally, since “pages cm” does not provide any information to the user of the data block – other than to indicate that the title has not yet been published – and it takes a full line of the block, it was agreed that it could be removed as well.

Below are two examples of what the new CIP data block will look like. The first, I met a dinosaur, is for a children’s literature title that is available in both print and electronic formats. The labels clearly identify each category of data element, and the viewer can see the identifiers and classifications for the print and electronic versions. The Children’s and Young Adults’ Cataloging subject headings are presented in the Subjects section with the acronym “CYAC.” The Library of Congress and Dewey Decimal classifications also appear with the initials “LCC” and “DDC,” respectively. Finally, the last line of the data block includes the permalink, which can be used to retrieve an electronic record of the book in MARC and other formats directly from the Library of Congress catalog.

Names: Wahl, Jan. | Sheban, Chris, illustrator.
Title: I met a dinosaur / by Jan Wahl ; illustrated by Chris Sheban.

Description: Mankato, MN : Creative Editions, 2015. | “Previously published in 1997.” | Summary: After a visit to a museum of natural history, a young girl begins to see dinosaurs everywhere.

Identifiers: LCCN 2014022590 (print) | LCCN 2014026315 (ebook) | ISBN 978-1-56846-233-2 (hardcover : alk. paper) | ISBN 978-1-56660-508-3 (epub)
Subjects: CYAC: Stories in rhyme. | Dinosaurs–Fiction. | Imagination–Fiction.
Classification: LCC PZ8.3.W133 Iae 2015 (print) | LCC PZ8.3.W133 (ebook) | DDC [E]–dc22
LC record available at

The second example, Mrs. Bennet has her say, is for a title that was published only in print. One can see all of the new data elements previously mentioned. This title also has Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), Book Industry Standards and Communications (BISAC) subject headings, and Guidelines on Subject Access to Individual Works of Fiction (GSAFD) also known as “Genre/Form” terms.

Names: Juska, Jane. | Austen, Jane, 1775-1817. Pride and prejudice.
Title: Mrs. Bennet has her say / Jane Juska.
Description: Berkley trade paperback edition. | New York : Berkley Books, 2015.
Identifiers: LCCN 2014048297 | ISBN 978-0-425-27843-7 (softcover)
Subjects: LCSH: Young women–England–Fiction. | England–Social life and customs–18th century–Fiction. | BISAC: FICTION / Historical. | FICTION / Romance / General. | GSAFD: Regency fiction. | Humorous fiction. | Satire.
Classification: LCC PS3610.U875 M77 2015 | DDC 813/.6–dc23
LC record available at

You can expect to begin seeing the new CIP data block layout in print and electronic books in Fall 2015. However, since most titles receive CIP pre-publication metadata from the Library of Congress weeks if not months prior to publication, many titles will be published with the previous version of the layout after September 30, 2015. Over time, fewer books will be published with the former version until eventually all books processed through the CIP Program will have the CIP data block in the new layout.

More information on the changes to the layout of the CIP data block can be found on the Cataloging in Publication page on the Library of Congress web site at:

A Frequently Asked Questions page will be available to assist users of the CIP data block to interpret the new features and data elements, particularly for those who continue to use the data block as a resource for cataloging. If you have additional questions, you are also welcome to contact me at

Direct to FAQ

See Also: Library of Congress Preparing to Implement Changes to Cataloging in Publication (CIP) Data Block (April 24, 2015)

See Also: Harvard Library Joins the Library of Congress Electronic Cataloging in Publication Program (September 21, 2015)

Direct to CIP Program Web Page

Direct to Library of Congress Cataloging Newsline Archive

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.