With the ALA Annual Conference taking place in Chicago this year, this is a great opportunity to talk about Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) and your library’s collection.
According to our Levels of Cataloging policy, advance or uncorrected proof copies of books are only to be added to generic (GEN) records in the catalog, not to a BSE or a regular full bibliographic record. This is because these items often change substantially between advance publication as an uncorrected proof, and full publication of the finished product. ARCs are also courtesy copies of the title, and adding an ARC should not take the place of collecting the item once it is officially published.
In order to clarify an unwritten policy, the Circulation Services Committee and the Collection Maintenance Committee are recommending a policy that states that libraries should not circulate items, advance or official, before their official publication release date, or “street date”. There is a level of trust between libraries and publishers; they send us materials ahead of the street date so we can process them and make them available on the street date. They do not want us to release items early.
A number of you may be planning to attend ALA with the idea of collecting ARCs for your staff and enthusiastic patrons. The conference is a perfect opportunity to learn more about what is coming out in the near future from your favorite publishing houses and authors, and we want to encourage picking up ARCs that pertain to your community’s interests. However, if you choose to add any ARCs, only add these items to GEN browse records and not to regular bib records. Finally, do not add them to your generic records before the official book is released.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.