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Quality Books P-CIP Application Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is P-CIP?

A: P-CIP - The Basics
CIP is not unlike the nutritional guidelines on a package of breakfast cereal. Basically, it is a block of information that contains the technical specifications; including ISBN, LC subject headings, Dewey and LC classification numbers, etc.; prepared by professional catalogers (just as every doctor is not a pathologist, every librarian is not a cataloger). The information follows a very specific set of guidelines and conventions, for use by reference librarians and the library's technical services staff.

Click on the following image to see a sample MARC record provided by QBI.

Subject Classifications
Obviously, publishers and authors would like to specify the subject categories for their work. But, while "Pop Psychology", for example, may be an excellent subject category for promotional literature or even the back cover of your book, THERE IS NOT SUCH SUBJECT CLASSIFICATION in the Library of Congress lexicon. Therefore, such a subject listing would not be appropriate WITHIN THE CIP BLOCK for use by librarians. On the other hand, there may be (and are) a half dozen subject classifications within the "controlled vocabulary" used by the Library of Congress for the same title. While the distinctions between these and "Pop Psychology" may escape you and me, they are very important to librarians, many of whom will be making the purchasing decision regarding your book for their library.

Want to Produce Your Own CIP?
If you are a publisher who is attempting to produce your own CIP block by trying to copy the information from similar titles, asking your local librarian to help you, or hiring a professional organization such as Quality Books Inc. to produce your CIP for you, you may not use the heading: "Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data" at the top of your CIP block. This indicates to librarians that the cataloging was done by the Library of Congress. Instead, you should use the heading: "Publishers Cataloging In Publication".
When we perform the cataloging, we follow the P-CIP heading with: (Prepared By Quality Books Inc.). This imprint attests to the reliability of the P-CIP information and assures librarians that the data was prepared professionally by an organization that is widely recognized throughout the library industry for its expertise in preparing P-CIP data.
                                                                                                        What's Not Appropriate
Once the CIP has been prepared by a professional cataloger, it is not appropriate for a publisher to recreate, alter, or in any way contaminate it. If the publisher feels compelled to change anything in the CIP block, whether it is as much as a subject heading or as little as capitalization of the author's first name, any attribution to the professional cataloger who prepared it, such as the (Prepared By Quality Books Inc.) heading and the Quality Books Inc. number at the bottom of the information block, MUST BE REMOVED.
CIP is intended to be used EXCLUSIVELY by librarians. It should be prepared by either the Library of Congress or a professional cataloger who understands the "controlled vocabulary" used in the library world. It is not meant to be used as a marketing tool to attract reviews, to assure that it is merchandised with other titles that may or may not be similar, or to secure premier display space in a retail environment. And, when the data is prepared by a professional cataloger, it is not appropriate to change the information in the CIP block without removing the attribution to that cataloger.

Brief Descriptions

Library of Congress classification - Quality Books Inc. provides an appropriate Library of Congress classification in P-CIP records. This is the library's call number and reflects the subject of a work. A library can add an author, code, date, copy number, etc. to the classification number to create a unique call number for each title. In the P-CIP sample, BF575.H27 is the LC classification number. (NOTE: This is not the same as an LC control number or card number.)

Dewey Decimal classification number - Quality Books Inc. provides an appropriate Dewey Decimal classification number in P-CIP records. As with the LC classification number, this number reflects the subject of a work and specific item information may be added to create a unique call number. In the P-CIP sample, 158.1 is the DDC number.

Descriptive cataloging - This is the portion of the P-CIP record that describes physical attributes of the work. Descriptive cataloging includes title, an edition statement (if one is provided), ISBN, series, and notes that describe important features of the work, such as the presence of a bibliography or index. Because a P-CIP record is prepared before a work is published, publishing information and physical details such as number of pages are omitted.

Main entry - The entity (person, group, government agency, etc.) responsible for the content of the work. This is usually a personal author. If responsibility is too widely shared, the title may also be the main entry. Smith, Rob (Robert Bobbie Bob), 1966- is the main entry in the sample P-CIP.

Added entries - Other access points that can be used to locate a work. Joint authors, illustrators, performers, etc., may be added entries. Series titles and variations of the title may also be added entries.

Subject headings - Terms and phrases that describe the subject of the work. Quality Books Inc. provides subject headings from lists created and maintained by the Library of Congress. Happiness, Libraries--Psychological aspects, and Telephone--Directories--Psychological aspects are subject headings in the sample record.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                       Standard Library Cataloging Rules

All QBI P-CIP records are prepared following standard library cataloging rules set forth in the latest update of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd edition (AACR2) and Library of Congress Rule Interpretations (LCRI). Main entries, added entries, subject headings, and series titles are checked against the Library of Congress/NACO authority files for the correct format. They are prepared by MLS degreed librarians and NACO approved. (The name headings in the sample above are made up and do not exist in the authority file.)

Q: Why do I need a P-CIP block? Why is P-CIP beneficial? Why should I have P-CIP done for my book or audiovisual material?

A: A properly formatted P-CIP datablock will make your book or audiovisual product more attractive to libraries. Few libraries have the resources to catalog many accessions. A reliable datablock relieves them of much of the burden which would otherwise be required to process a title for inclusion in the collection.

Q: Do I have to submit my application online? Can I submit print copies of my information?

A: QBI now requires all applications to be submitted online. Please visit the P-CIP Form Introduction page to fill out an application. All required documentation must be submitted electronically, in plain text format.

Q: How does QBI's P-CIP differ from the Library of Congress' CIP?

A: QBI prepares P-CIP according to the same cataloging rules and procedures employed by the Library of Congress. The main difference between LC CIP and P-CIP is that the Library of Congress, with its much larger staff and deeper research resources is the definitive creator of cataloging, including cataloging in publication. Our P-CIP is intended for those authors and publishers who don't qualify for inclusion in LC's CIP program or prefer not to work with LC. Other differences are that we will catalog many materials not allowed in LC's CIP program, like self-published and subsidy published materials, gift books, and various other materials.

Q: Where on my book should the P-CIP block be printed?

A: The P-CIP datablock is usually printed on the verso of the title page. It may be provided as an insert to an audiovisual product, or printed on the packaging.

Q: May I call my P-CIP block "Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data"?

A: No. P-CIP is cataloging which has been prepared by an agency of the publisher. Only cataloging which has actually been prepared by the Library of Congress may be called "Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data."

Q: Do I have to print the P-CIP block exactly as it appears? Must I use the statement "(Provided by Quality Books, Inc.)" in my P-CIP block?

A: No. We feel we have an excellent reputation in the library community, and we will allow you to include this statement if you are reproducing your P-CIP block exactly as you received it from us, but you are not obligated to do so. If you decide to make any changes to the P-CIP block without our consent, however, you are obligated to remove our name and QBI number from the datablock.

Q: Can I reformat the spacing or indentation?

A: Please print the P-CIP block exactly as it was supplied to you. You may, however remove or reduce the size of the margins, provided that the overall indentation of the lines remains the same.

Q: What if we decide to change the title, author's name, or other features of the book after receiving the P-CIP block and before going to print?

A: Changes in any part of the datablock may affect other parts of the datablock. We would be happy to advise you about any changes you may want to make, and there is no charge for this service within six months of your original application. After six months there will be a $75 update fee.

Q: What do I need to submit with my application?

A: The title page, in plain text format, is absolutely required. In addition, for children's materials, you must submit a 25-word or less plot summary and the complete storyline. For other materials, please submit a first and/or last chapter, table of contents, introduction, preface, or other materials that will help the cataloger determine the appropriate subject headings and classification for the work. All materials must be submitted as attachments to the application form and must be in plain text format.

Q: What is a title page and why is it important?

A: Adapted from LC's Electronic CIP Publisher's Manual, Section 13.1: QBI adheres to the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, Second Edition (AACR2), which defines a title page as "A page at the beginning of the item bearing the title proper and usually, though not necessarily, the statement of responsibility and data related to publication." [1]. AACR2 states that the title page (or its substitute, for example, the front cover) is the chief source of information for bibliographic information. The title page determines the form of name to be used for authors new to the catalog and is the primary authority for the transcription of the title and subtitle, statement of authorship, function of other contributors, etc. If your forthcoming book does not have a formal title page (for example, the front cover serves as the title page), provide the front cover information. Without a title page (or its substitute), P-CIP data cannot be provided.

Q: What is a "plain text" or ASCII document?

A: This is a file that contains only the text of the document, readable by most text editors and word processors. It is the native format of programs such as NotePad, SimpleText, etc. It may not contain graphics. Diacritics (e.g. é) are allowed, but may not display correctly on different operating systems. If your title page contains diacritics or other special characters, please convert them to the html-code equivalent based on the table at: http://www.w3c.org/TR/html40/sgml/entities.html#iso-88591. This will allow QBI's catalogers to correctly determine what the character should be. Otherwise, HTML and other marked-up files are technically in ASCII format, but these are not considered plain text files for QBI's purposes. You may, however, tag the text file as described in section 5.2.2 of LC's Electronic CIP Publisher's Manual

Q: How do I create a "plain text" or ASCII document or convert an existing document into plain text?

A: Please see Quality Books eP-CIP File Conversion Instructions page. Most word processing applications should have an option to Save as text, and copying and pasting into such a word processor may be an option.

Q: Do I need an LCCN? Why?

A: An LCCN may be obtained through the Library of Congress' Preassigned Control Number (PCN) Program, or as part of an LC Cataloging in Publication (CIP) Program block. See LC's pages for more information.

Q: May I apply for P-CIP before I have my LCCN, PCN, or ISBN?

A: Yes. You may e-mail or fax us this information when it arrives.

Q: What is the difference between a PCN and an LCCN?

A: See the Library of Congress' FAQ.

Q: Do I need a new copyright or ISBN for a new edition?

A: For information about copyright, visit the U.S. Copyright Office, including their FAQ question How much do I have to change in my own work to make a new claim of copyright?. ISBN questions should be addressed to the U.S. ISBN Agency. See also their FAQ page. In general, it is wise to use a new ISBN number for each new edition.

Q: Do I submit both the 10 and 13 digit ISBNs?

A: QBI will be following the Library of Congress' guidelines, as set forth in the Library of Congress Plan to Accommodate 13-digit ISBN. Until January 2007, please include both the 10 and 13 digit ISBNs on your application.

Q: When I submitted my application, I got an error message. What do I do now?

A: Examine the error message, read the instructions page, and try resubmitting the application. Some fields of the application have space limitations, so please be brief whenever possible. If you receive the same error message follow the instructions below, provided that you are using Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook on a Windows machine. Unfortunately we are unable to offer support to users of other browsers and e-mail applications.

  • 1. In Outlook, create a new mail message, addressed to pcipemail@quality-books.com
  • 2. Set the Format of the message to HTML.
  • 3. In Internet Explorer, select the entire page of the error message.
  • 4. Copy the page and paste into the e-mail message. The e-mail body should now look identical to the error message page.
  • 5. Go to the bottom of the e-mail message and press the Enter key a few times to create space following the error message.
  • 6. Repeat steps 3-5, but this time copy and paste the filled-out application form, as it appeared when you clicked the "submit" button.
  • 7. Once both the error message and the application form have been pasted into the body of the e-mail message, and look just as they did when you submitted the application, send the e-mail to us. We will attempt to determine the cause of the problem and get back to you.

Q: Will QBI's catalogers use the subject heading suggestions I have given them?

A: Your suggestions can be very helpful, but QBI's catalogers assign subject headings from the current Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and apply the current rules and practices of the profession. Subject headings tend to be more specific than the BISAC sales categories which you may have seen on back covers. If you feel that the QBI cataloger has misunderstood the subject of your book, please feel free to contact us.

Q: Why aren't all the words in the title capitalized in my P-CIP block?

A: The punctuation and capitalization of a P-CIP block do not resemble those of a bibliography. According to library cataloging rules, only the first word of the title and all proper nouns and proper adjectives are capitalized in the title.


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