What is PCIP data?

PCIP stands for Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication data. PCIP data is a block of specialized information that appears on the copyright page of a book. It’s modeled after the Library of Congress’s Cataloging-in-Publication program, which provides bibliographic records (aka cataloging data) for books prior to publication. Publishers and authors not eligible for LC’s CIP program may obtain PCIP data for their books from non-LC vendors.

A bibliographic record is like the driver’s license for your book. It provides the vital statistics that identify and describe your book to help librarians catalog it, which helps readers find your book in a library catalog. The bibliographic record for a book includes data such as the title and subtitle, author’s name, ISBN(s), multiple types of subject headings, LC and Dewey Decimal call numbers, and more.

CIP data is a bibliographic record created before a book is published, and PCIP refers to any CIP data not created by the Library of Congress.

What does PCIP data do for me?

PCIP data helps librarians catalog books faster, which gets your books on library shelves faster. For a more detailed explanation read the articles “Why CIP Data Is Important” and “5 Ways to Screw up Your CIP Data

How long will it take to get my PCIP data?

When we receive both your payment and your Cataloging Order Form submission, we will provide a guaranteed delivery date for your PCIP data. We schedule all orders within 5-10 business days, excluding large bulk orders.

If you absolutely must have your PCIP by a specific date, please contact us first to make sure we can accommodate your schedule. Please don’t place an order if you need it on a specific date, unless you’ve already received the go-ahead from us. Though we don’t provide expedited service, we do our very best to accommodate our clients’ needs.

Will I be able to review my PCIP data after it’s finished?

Yes. You will have two business days after receipt of your PCIP data to review it and request error corrections. We will gladly fix any errors made on our part; however, an additional fee may be incurred if you ask us to correct any other errors or if you want us to research questions about the subject headings and/or call numbers chosen for your book. In either case, completing the work may require extra time to complete, as we must fit the work into our existing schedule.

Should I send you my whole book?

No, it’s not necessary. To provide the fastest possible service, we catalog your book using the information you provide on our PCIP order form. We rely on you to transcribe the title, subtitle, and author information exactly as it appears on your book’s title page so that the information in the PCIP data will match the information found on the title page, per cataloging guidelines.

Because we don’t examine the entire book, the description you provide to us is vital for ensuring accurate cataloging. We’re not looking for marketing copy or the description found on the back cover of your book. What we need is a brief explanation of the book’s content, including significant concepts or plot elements. This information remains confidential and is used only to aid in proper cataloging of your book.

Will my PCIP data be identical to Library of Congress CIP data?

Yes and no. At Five Rainbows, we format your PCIP data according to all current standards and Library of Congress guidelines. However, cataloging is more art than science and each cataloger will have a different opinion about what subject headings and call numbers best represent a book’s content. While sometimes only a single option is available, most often a cataloger must choose between several alternatives. For this reason, our PCIP data may include slightly different subject headings and call numbers than LC catalogers would choose.

For each and every book we catalog, we conduct extensive research into how LC has cataloged similar recent books. However, we don’t simply cut-and-paste data from LC records. We apply our own knowledge and expert judgment to decide what subject headings and call numbers are best for your book. This is why the accuracy of the information you provide to us is so important. Please bear in mind that the subject headings and call numbers chosen for books similar to yours may not always be appropriate for your book; we understand the subtle differences and how they affect the cataloging of your book.

We format our PCIP data blocks according LC’s latest formatting guidelines, which means when you receive your data block it’s preformatted to have the lines in the right order and the appropriate indention for each line. As long as you maintain the same relative spacing, your PCIP data will look just like LC CIP data. The only real difference is the heading at the top: It will say “Publisher’s Cataloging-in-Publication Data” rather than “Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data.”

Will my PCIP data include a summary?

Summaries are included only for juvenile and young adult books, and in those cases, the summary is brief (usually one sentence). This is in accordance with Library of Congress guidelines.

If you purchase a MARC record, we offer you the option of including a longer summary; however, the summary is only for the MARC record and will not be included your PCIP data. The brief summary mentioned above, for juvenile and young adult books, is a separate entity.

My book has already been published. Can I still get PCIP data?

If you are updating your book’s interior, you may order PCIP data and add it to your book’s copyright page. If you’re not updating the book, we suggest you order one of our MARC record packages instead, which gets your book into WorldCat and SkyRiver.

Can you create PCIP data for my book if I don’t have an LCCN yet?

Absolutely. We will insert [LCCN] in the appropriate position as a placeholder. It’s then up to you to replace that with your actual LCCN when you receive it. Please note that we can’t assign an LCCN to your book; only the Library of Congress may do that.

What's the difference between an LCCN, a PCN, and a Library of Congress call number?

An LCCN is a ten-digit control number assigned by the Library of Congress to identify your book in their system. You must apply for an LCCN through LC’s Preassigned Control Number (PCN) program. An LCCN and a PCN are the same thing.

A Library of Congress call number is assigned by a cataloger during the PCIP creation process. A call number is an alphanumeric code that identifies your book on library shelves.

May I change the capitalization/punctuation in my PCIP data?

No, please do not alter the punctuation or capitalization, or delete any blank spaces in your PCIP data. If you alter the punctuation and/or spacing in your PCIP block, it will no longer be valid cataloging data. The PCIP blocks we create adhere to all current standards. We provide your PCIP to you in the appropriate format with the requisite punctuation and capitalization already in place.

May I change the line indents in my PCIP data?

No, please do not alter the relative indenting in your PCIP data. We provide your PCIP data to you already formatted according the current format prescribed by the Library of Congress. You may change the typeface and font size, but please don’t change the punctuation, capitalization, spacing, or relative indention.

MARC Records

What is a MARC record?

MARC records are computer files (MARC stands for MAchine-Readable Cataloging). A MARC record is cataloging data presented in a specific electronic format designed for library computer systems. Each record contains the same data found in a PCIP block, plus additional information not found in PCIP blocks. Some of the data is there strictly for computers to read, but most of it provides information to help librarians and readers alike.

A MARC record includes the data found in a PCIP block, but it also incorporates additional information. The extra data includes list prices, types of illustrations, fiction genres, target audiences, summaries, and more.

Because MARC records are designed to be read by computers, not humans, they look like gobbledygook to most people. Every MARC record must be coded in accordance with the Library of Congress’s MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data (over 700 pages long), OCLC’s specific requirements for WorldCat records, and the brand-new Resource Description & Access standard (over 1100 pages long). For ebook MARC records, we follow LC’s special guidelines for electronic resource records, known as the Provider-Neutral E-Monograph MARC Record Guide.

Much of the coding in a MARC record exists strictly for use by library computers; it contains alphanumeric codes that mean nothing to anyone who has never hand-coded a MARC record. Fortunately, at Five Rainbows we speak MARC-ese fluently — so you don’t have to!

What is WorldCat?

WorldCat is the largest online library catalog in the world. Librarians can download the records to their local library catalog or use the information to decide whether to buy the book for their library’s collection.

Readers may also view the records in WorldCat and click links to find the book in a library or buy it from online retailers like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. WorldCat listings also include Goodreads reviews, if available. Click here to view a WorldCat record and see the “Find a Copy in the Library” and “Buy It” links. (You may need to enter a zip code to see the library links.)

Only authorized vendors may upload MARC records to WorldCat.

What is SkyRiver?

SkyRiver is a catalog similar to WorldCat, though unlike WorldCat, SkyRiver has no public website. Librarians can download SkyRiver records to their local library catalog or use the information to decide whether to buy the book for their library’s collection.

Only authorized vendors may upload MARC records to SkyRiver.

How do I check if my book is already listed in WorldCat?

Visit WorldCat.org and look for the big, blue search box near the top of the page. To find your specific book, and the specific edition of it you’re ordering cataloging data for, type in the search box bn:ISBN (replace “ISBN” with the actual number for your book). You may enter the ISBN with or without hyphens. Click “search everything” and, if your book isn’t displayed, then it’s either not listed in WorldCat or not listed under the ISBN you entered.

If you’re ordering cataloging data for multiple versions of the book (e.g., paperback, hardcover, and ebook), then you’ll need to search for each version separately in WorldCat.

The image below shows an example.

Is there a difference between a WorldCat/SkyRiver record and a MARC record?

No. The records uploaded to WorldCat and SkyRiver are MARC records; there’s no difference. We upload the exact same records to each catalog.

Will you send me the MARC record after it’s finished?

No. You need special software to view a MARC record, and unless you have the specialized knowledge required to interpret a MARC record, it will make very little sense to you anyway. Seeing the record would likely raise more questions than it would answer. Your MARC record will include the same basic information as your PCIP data. Most of the additional information required for a WorldCat record is computer code, not plain English.

How do I know if I need both print and e-book MARC records?

The decision is entirely up to you. Read all the MARC record information on our website and then decide whether two records are best for your book, or if a single combined record will suffice. We can’t make this decision for you — it’s completely at your discretion.

How is a MARC record different from PCIP data?

PCIP data is a block of specially formatted text that appears on your book’s copyright page. MARC records are specially formatted computer files that look like gobbledygook to the average human eye. A MARC record is simply not designed for you or your readers to understand; it’s made for library computer systems, to provide all your book’s information in a format that only specialized software can decipher. The software will then interpret the data and present it in whatever format it’s programmed to use.

It all boils down to this: PCIP data is meant for humans to read, and MARC records are meant for computers to read.

What's the difference between MARC records for print books and ebooks?

There are several differences, including the description of the item and the coding of several other fields. For instance, an ebook record is coded as an electronic resource rather than a monograph (book). We also offer you the option of including in your ebook record up to four URLs, which should lead to websites that offer information about your book’s content and/or how to buy the ebook.

How often do you upload records to WorldCat and SkyRiver?

We upload MARC records in weekly batches. If you ordered PCIP Data for the book, we’ll upload your MARC records no less than two business days following your guaranteed delivery date; if you ordered standalone MARC records, we’ll upload them on the next available delivery day after we complete your order. It may take a few days for your record to show up on WorldCat.org, barring any system glitches. If it’s been longer a week and your book still isn’t showing up in WorldCat, please contact us and we’ll look into the matter. SkyRiver has no public interface.

Can my MARC record be updated after its initial upload?

Only in special cases do we attempt to update MARC records. Though we’re happy to discuss the possibility with you, we can’t guarantee we’ll update your record.

General Cataloging Topics

Why do you ask for the author's birth year?

This information is often needed to differentiate two authors with the same first and last names. PCIP data, and especially MARC records, require name authority headings — a line that spells out the full name of the main author. Name authority headings should be unique in the Library of Congress catalog, which is where the overwhelming majority of libraries get their authority headings. If two authors have the same name, it’s standard cataloging practice to add the middle name/initial or birth year to the name authority heading. We’ve settled on author’s birth year as the simplest solution.

I found a perfect subject heading in a book similar to mine. Will you use it?

When you fill out the PCIP order form, you are offered the chance to provide keywords/phrases to help us catalog your book. If you enter a subject heading you saw in another book as one of your keywords (provided it was used in recent book on a similar topic), we will consider it. However, we cannot promise to use a particular subject heading. When we catalog a book, we strive to choose the most appropriate subject headings based on our cataloging expertise and experience, as well as current Library of Congress practices.

Why does the capitalization/punctuation in my cataloging data look strange?

Bibliographic records do not follow conventional rules for grammar and punctuation. At Five Rainbows, we follow the guidelines found in the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd Edition, the bible for library cataloging. We also incorporate information from the newer Resource Description & Access guidelines. The punctuation and capitalization may look strange, but it’s 100% valid in the world of library cataloging.

The subject headings in my cataloging data don't match the keywords I provided.

We ask for keywords/phrases in our order form, but these serve only as guides to aide our cataloging. All subject headings must be chosen from set lists, known as thesauruses. We cannot create new subject headings; only the agency that devised the thesaurus may do that. Our cataloging data now includes headings from multiple thesauruses, including the Library of Congress Subject Headings, BISAC subject headings, Medical Subject Headings (MESH), and American Mathematical Society headings.

If your book deals with a discipline that employs unique jargon, we may not always be able to find a subject heading exactly like the phrases you provide to us. If the terms you give us are specialized, please explain them briefly in the “Book Description” section of our order form. Also, if your’e using a common term in a different way, please give us an explanation of that as well. Doing so will reduce the chances of our misunderstanding your usage of the terms and help ensure accurate cataloging.

Order & Payments

Do you offer expedited service?

Unfortunately, we’re unable to offer expedited service. We ask all our clients not to place an order unless they’re willing to accept the delivery date we assign, which doesn’t happen until after both payment and Cataloging Order Form data have been submitted. If you absolutely must have your order on a specific date, please contact us first to find out if we can accommodate you. We regret we can’t offer any exceptions to this rule.

Can you guarantee I'll receive my order on a specific date?

Unfortunately, no. If you must have your order by a specific date, please contact us first to find out if we can accommodate you. Do not pay for your order before asking us. We regret we can’t offer any exceptions to this rule.

I paid, but I didn't see the order form.

You should be redirected to it automatically after submitting your payment, but if you weren’t, we’ll contact you with the link to the order form within one business day of receiving your payment.

I paid for my order, but I've changed my mind. Can I cancel?

Yes, you may cancel; however, please be aware a cancellation fee may apply, depending on what stage your order has reached in our process. If no work has been done on the order, you may qualify for a full refund. If we’ve already begun work, the cancellation fee may be at least $10, or more if we’ve done significant work.

We strongly encourage our clients to make certain they’re ready to place an order, and that they can accept whatever date we assign them, before submitting payment. However, we do understand sometimes circumstances beyond your control will cause you to cancel your order, so if you have a question about the cancellation fee, please contact us.

I didn't receive a confirmation of my order after paying.

The number one reason for this is the use of spam filters. Some email service providers, particular Gmail, automatically apply a spam filter to every message coming through their system. We’ve also become aware that some web hosting companies, particular GoDaddy, delete messages they deem to be spam before they ever reach your inbox. Some ISPs may also do the same. We recommend the following to ensure you will receive our emails:

  1. If you purposely use a spam filter, please whitelist our primary email address (you’ll see it in our order form).
  2. If you don’t intentionally use a spam filter, please double check your email provider isn’t automatically filtering messages.
  3. If neither of the above work, please contact your ISP or web hosting provider to ensure they are not filtering your emails.
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to get access to exclusive sales and discounts, and to learn about website improvements and other important updates. We recommend all our clients sign up.

You have successfully subscribed. Thank you!