Annex 2. Supplementary criteria for determining whether a publication should receive full level cataloguing treatment

We are currently updating this Policy and some of the information on this site is not up to date. If you have questions about Library and Archives Canada’s current cataloguing practices, please contact

As defined in Library and Archives Canada's (LAC) Collection Development Framework [PDF 84.5 KB], publications are considered to be of "heritage value" if they reveal typically Canadian experiences or stories; document events or trends (cultural, political, economic, social, demographic, scientific and religious) with a national scope; provide valuable insights into the activities of a diverse and developing society; or are of a rarity and importance that allows them to be considered national treasures.

The particular areas of emphasis in terms of Canada's published heritage are: Aboriginals; multicultural communities; Canadian literature; Canadian music; and the Historical Approach to the Development of Canadian society (HADOCS). The latter category, HADOCS, includes all aspects of Aboriginal culture including the impact of European contact, the exploration and settlement of Canada, economic development; political systems; Canada's foreign and international relations; social and cultural life and atlases of Canada.

Apart from publications intended for most LAC's special collections, full-level cataloguing treatment should be reserved for publications that are of heritage value within the areas of emphasis. The decision that a publication falls within an area of emphasis and is of heritage value is usually made at the point of acquisition. The level of cataloguing treatment, however, may be adjusted by the cataloguer based on factors such as the publication's currency or national significance, and taking into account the operational resources to meet the objective of cataloguing all new acquisitions within established turnaround times.

Full level cataloguing treatment should be limited to publications of heritage value that meet two or more of the following criteria:

  1. publications in which a significant portion (usually more than 30 percent) of the content is about Canada or by Canadians
  2. publications that are necessary for long-term research and/or heritage interest, rather than general interest;
    Example: A culinary history of Canada (vs. a general interest cookbook); an ecclesiastical history of Newfoundland (vs. a tourist guide to Newfoundland)
  3. publications of highly specialized Canadian research or reference value that are unlikely to be widely available in public collections;
    Examples: A history of rare Canadian horse breeds; a reference guide to the cap badges and insignia of Canadian regiments
  4. publications that present an in-depth or significant treatment of a subject;
    Example: The work is an exhaustive compilation or survey of the state of knowledge in a subject fied; the author is recognized nationally as an authority on the subject
  5. government publications that are of national or multi-jurisdictional interest to Canadians and that have a broad impact on policy development or other research;
    Examples: Statistics Canada studies of the Canadian labour market; an Agriculture Canada report on the future of Canada's agri-food policy; a Fisheries and Oceans study on the state of Canadian freshwater fish habitats; a Department of Canadian Heritage report on cultural sovereignty
  6. multicultural publications reflecting the Canadian experience
    Examples:  A provincial government report on wellness models for Chinese-Canadian seniors would be catalogued at the full level.  A federal CMHC publication on solar panels published in Chinese would not be catalogued at the full level
  7. publications for which cataloguing copy is not likely to be readily available elsewhere for Canadian libraries.
    Example: If the acquisitions record is derived from a union catalogue record that indicates that cataloguing copy will be readily available elsewhere
Date modified: