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Metadata Policy: Separate Records

Policy Area

  • Bibliographic Metadata in the Institutional and Network Zone 


  • This policy applies to new metadata work in Alma and does not apply retroactively to migrated data or projects before this policy was approved. 


  • “Separate records” is the practice of creating a separate record for each carrier type (or format).  If a journal is published in print and in electronic versions, there will be two bibliographic records, one for the physical print version and one for the electronic version. Similarly with print and microform, there will be two bibliographic records, one for the physical print version, and one for the microfilm or microfiche version. 
  • The separate records practice is the current standard for institutions that have adopted RDA. It is also the current policy of the Program for Cooperative Cataloging. 
  • The use of separate records also makes it possible to use automated processing for the management of large sets of MARC records. In a batch-loading environment, it is more straightforward and efficient to use separate records.

Exceptions to this Policy

  • Migrated metadata from Sirsi to Alma 
  • Metadata projects conducted before the approval of this metadata policy 
  • Digital metadata projects assessed on a case-by-case basis 

Policy Statement: 

  • Follow OCUL Collaborative Futures Separate Records Policy 
  • Create separate bibliographic records for different formats of the same work. 

Anticipated Impacts

  • Digital Scholarship and Infrastructure Department 
  • Clara Thomas Archives and Special Collections 
  • Map Library 

Policy Review Information

  • First Draft of Policy Created: January 19, 2022  
  • Responsibility: Metadata Policy Working Group