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copyright or printed date – which is important


This topic contains 5 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  David C 1 year, 6 months ago.

  • Author
  • #136783

    David C

    I’m going through our paperwork of accessioned books. We have at least 2000 books. All our data is on index cards (except for the original accession paperwork). To make searching for a book easier and to help with inventorying, I’m in the process of putting book data into a spreadsheet. Someday I hope we have accessioning software.

    Some books will say, for example, “Copyright 1975” and elsewhere on the title page it will list the various printing dates such as “2nd printing 1979, 3rd printing 1985, 4th printing 1992”.

    It would be best to keep track of the date most useful to us in the future, but which date would be most useful? The Copyright date, or the latest print date? I’m leaning towards the Copyright date.

    David Cranston, Curator
    Hadley-Lake Luzerne Historical Society
    52 Main St
    PO Box 275
    Lake Luzerne, NY 12846

  • #136795

    Annabelle Fichtner

    Hello, David. I believe that noting the publishing date is more crucial, considering that is what would be put in a citation for the book, according to the Chicago style, as well as the JAIC style guide. However, if you are entering this information into a spreadsheet, would it be worth while to have data field for both publishing and copyright dates?

  • #136797

    David C

    I’ve been debating whether to have both a publishing and a copyright field. I was thinking a copyright field would be better should we need to look the book up on the internet.

    Very rarely do we cite any passages from our books. When we do, we look in the book for the publishing date.

    I agree a publishing date might be good to have. A copyright could be from 1850 but the book might have been re-printed in 1970. If something ever happened to the book we would know the book was recently printed.

  • #136799

    Annabelle Fichtner

    I think it’d be best to keep track of both then

  • #137378


    As a collections I would think that the publishing date is more important as that is the date the book was created. I have over 2000 books to take care of and I stopped cataloguing them as museum pieces. I just note the bibliographic references. There is a source called which lists almost every book published and it’s different publication dates.

  • #137474

    David C

    I’ve started to use the most recent Copyright date, which is usually the publication date. Some books will mention it has an updated index or an appendix that was not included in the original Copyrighted book.

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