UCL RDA Exhibition Catalogues

By Karen Wallace and Toby Reynolds

Definition of catalogue

An exhibition catalogue for the purposes of this guide can be any book published as a result of an exhibition, not necessarily in the form of a formal catalogue. This guide is more particularly aimed at art exhibition publications, although some aspects of it will have wider application.


Catalogue an exhibition catalogue using RDA and MARC21 as for a normal book with the following additional guidelines.

Choice of access points

When determining the main access point, consider art to be the “Work” unless text is presented as predominant. (Bodleian)

Follow these guidelines in order of precedence.

Corporate body (110/111) if:

    •   The catalogue is a result of a recurring exhibition; or,
    •   It is a catalogue of works owned by one museum (LC-PCC PS; Bodleian); or,

    •   It is the work of two or more artists acting as a corporate body (, and it fulfils the criteria for artist below

Artist (100/700) if:

    •   The content consists mainly of (reproductions of) a single artist’s work (Bodleian) (; or,

    •   The content consists mainly of (reproductions of) work produced by a group of artists working collaboratively (Bodleian) (

Author (100/700) if:

    •   The content is predominantly textual and is by one person, or is a textual collaboration between multiple people (Bodleian;,


If none of the criteria above apply, the resource is a compilation and should be entered under the title (see the UCL Workflow on Compilations and Collaborations for how to deal with compilations).

Additional access points (700/710)

  •   Give access points for key contributors (see Statements of responsibility)
  •   Give access points for institutions hosting an exhibition
  •   Do not create access points for non-recurring exhibitions

Analytical access point

If the resource includes reproductions of one artist’s works, but they do not form a substantial part of the resource, give an analytical access point with conventional collective title (Bodleian).

Title and statement of responsibility (245/246)

Artist’s name as title or author

If present, always treat the artist’s name as a title element, not a statement of responsibility, unless the book is also an artist’s book or the concept of the catalogue was the artist’s rather than a curator’s, gallery’s, or editor’s. In these cases it may be more appropriate to include it as a statement of responsibility.

Order of elements

For a title page with the name of an exhibition and an artist on it, use the following guidelines to help ascertain which order to record them in this order of preference:

  1.   Follow the typography/layout if this clearly favours one element. Often, this is confused, e.g. an artist’s name in small type is placed above an exhibition name in large type. In these cases of doubt:
  2.   Follow exhibition usage, if this is easy to find out.
  3.   Put the artist first.

Added title

Add a 246 field with the elements reversed if entered under title; if entered under artist, add a 246 with the subtitle only.

Conventional collective title (240)

Use only to differentiate between works when the full title consists of the name of a single artist only and the artist is the main access point.

Artists in the title

  •   Transcribe all artists in the title unless this would create a confusing title entry (say, more than 5). If there are more than 5, give the artists in a quoted 500 note.
  •   Abridge a long title only if it can be abridged without loss of essential information. Use the mark of omission (...) to indicate such an omission.

Statements of responsibility

  •   Clarify a named author’s role wherever possible when judged not to have a primary role in creating content (
  •   Always include information about the following in a statement of responsibility if available. If they are not mentioned anywhere on the resource except the table of contents, include them in a note instead.
  1.   Editors (as distinct from copy editors associated with publisher)
  2.   Authors of significant text /essays
  3.   Curators
  •   Give access points for all contributors named in a statement of responsibility or a note, unless the statement of responsibility is abridged. In this case, do not provide access points.

Relationship designators

  •   Do not provide relationship designators for corporate bodies in the 110 and 111 fields, except for artists working as a corporate body.
  •   If an artist is the main access point (the art is considered the “Work”), do not use “author” for contributors of text – use “writer of added commentary”.
  •   The following list is not intended to be exhaustive, but is included to provide useful examples and distinctions particular to art catalogues:


  •   artist – prefer this when the resource consists mainly of (reproductions of) works of art, regardless of the art form.
  •   author – use this when the resource consists mainly of text by one person or multiple people working collaboratively.
  •   photographer (prefer “artist” when resource consists of reproductions of artistic photography)
  •   architect


  •   editor
  •   organizer – use this for curators of exhibitions. Curator is not an appropriate term as it is only valid at item level.
  •   writer of added commentary – use this when the resource contains substantial essays, but the text is not considered to be the main content.
  •   host institution – use this for institutions hosting an exhibition
  •   issuing body – use this for bodies who organise an exhibition and publish the catalogue. This can be used in addition to 'host institution'.
  •   illustrator - where illustrations in a resource are distinct from works of art
  •   interviewer  
  •   interviewee  

336 - Content 

  •   Give “still image” in the 336 field (as well as or instead of "text") if images are a significant part of the resource.

Exhibition note

  •   If exhibition details are correct in a downloaded record, do not change them.
  •   If the exhibition note is lacking or incorrect, replace with the text “Published to accompany an exhibition held at [gallery], [day month year-day month year].” If the exhibition tours to more than four locations, enter the first venue and dates followed by the text: “and [x] other venues [year]-[year].”
  •   Transcribe an exhibition note from anywhere in the item, and give as a quoted note, if this is considered more informative.
  •   If exhibition details appear with the title on the chief source of information, give them as a quoted note, unless they are considered necessary to clarify a short or misleading title.