Different carriers constitute different manifestations, warranting separate
records.  As Mac Elrod responded, the physical descriptions would be

The single-record/multi-version approach had an appeal at one point,
primarily to avoid presenting patrons with multiple records for a single
title (particularly for serials).  When serial records were handled
one-by-one, there was a certain labor saving aspect to appending a
different format to the existing print record, particularly for a card
catalog environment but sufficiently so even in early ILSes.

As digital formats emerged and subscription packages proliferated, the
original labor saving aspect was overtaken by the ability to download
record sets for a package.  Multiple records have been the norm for some
time.  Resolving matches to existing titles in the database has become less
efficient than allowing records to live side-by-side.  Multiple records
allow easier management of records when holdings in either format are
dropped.  The development of ebook packages have only magnified this
dynamic, as a single ebook package may constitute several years worth of
monographic cataloging if performed on a one-by-one basis (which could
allow single-record treatment).  Just as the labor saving benefits of the
old approach were overtaken by new efficiencies obtained by using multiple
records, so too was the perceived convenience of the patron under the old
approach offset by new benefits of multiple records.  Multiple records
offer cleaner filtering of results when limiting by format.  The expedited
ability to transfer records into the database is far preferable to
significant delays to providing access at all.

John Myers, Catalog Librarian
Schaffer Library, Union College
Schenectady NY 12308


On Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 4:04 PM, Audrey Williams <
awilli...@regent-college.edu> wrote:

> How does RDA treat alternative formats in the same database (intellectual
> content identical, but the content is delivered on different physical
> carriers).  Specifically, I would like to know best practices for the
> following:
> if a print edition of an E-book is already in the database, is it better
> to add a link to the E-book on the bibliographical record of the print
> expression or add a new bibliographical record for the electronic version?
> What are the implications of each?
> Thank you

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