Cataloging in Publication

by Anna Lingerfelt

What is CIP?

The CIP program began in 1971 as a grant-funded special project. Now, over forty-years later, it is fully funded by the Library of Congress ("30th anniversary," 2001).According to the Library of Congress website, Cataloging in Publication (CIP) not only helps librarians "expedite and reduce the cost of cataloging," it also provides a "marketing tool for publishers." With the CIP program, the Library of Congress catalogs books before they are published to enable easier integration to library collections.

Libraries, book vendors, and other networks receive machine-readable versions of the CIP. Only publishers whose books will be acquired by libraries across the country are eligible for the CIP program.

How does it work?

According to the Library of Congress website (2013), publishers will apply to the Library of Congress with information about the upcoming book. Catalogers assign Library of congress control and classification numbers, as well as Dewey decimal classification numbers. The Library of Congress will takes an abbreviated version of the machine-readable cataloging (MARC) and sends it to the publisher. The publisher will print this CIP data on the inside of the book, opposite the title page, during publication.

For Young Adult and Children's Literature, the Library of Congress will also provide a short summary and subject headers to the CIP data.

Pros and Cons

Obviously, the CIP program is a wonderful time-saver for librarians, providing essential information from the get-go. Because the Library of Congress catalogs books before publication, librarians may find that information has changed and will, therefore, be incorrect. The publication date, pagination, and illustration information must always be added to complete the catalog. Regardless of these additions, a book's CIP is a wonderful starting point for a library's classification and cataloging and has even been described as, "one of the greatest boons to media specialists" (Williams, 2008).

Other cons are the limitations set on eligibility, excluding self-publishers.


(2001). Cataloging in Publication celebrates 30th anniversary. Library of Congress Information Bulletin, 60 (5).

"Cataloging in Publication Program." Library of Congress. n.d. Web. 2 Sept 2013. <>

Friedlander, J. (2010). CIP: What it means, how to read it, who should get it. <>

Newlan, R. R. (1991). The Power of CIP. Library Journal, July 1991, 38-42.

Williams, S.Q. (2008). Cataloging 101: Cataloging Made (Almost) Easy. American Association of School Librarians, May/June 2008. Web. 2 Sept 2013. <>

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