Some material excerpted from “Summary Notes for Catalog Records”, by OLAC Cataloging Policy Committee Summary/Abstracts Task Force, 2002. The complete document may be found on the OLAC website.
MARC tag 520 (Summary note) is used for a brief description of the scope and content of a work. It is useful for patrons and staff when browsing an online catalog.
Local edits for new records brought into Polaris
- Add a summary note to all new records brought in for fiction works of any format (i.e. books, audiobooks, videos, graphic novels, etc). This includes adult, juvenile, and young adult material
- It’s optional, but highly recommended, to add a summary note to records for non-fiction works, especially if the subject is not easily discernable from the title.
- Summary notes should be brief and objective, providing essential details about the contents of the work. Avoid interpretation or evaluation
- If using a description from the item or another source, remove promotional or emotional language
- Keep keyword searching in mind. Include names of people or characters, as well as geographical area and/or time period, if known
- It is not necessary to provide the source of the summary, i.e., Publisher
- If a record contains more than one summary note for the same content, retain the briefest and most objective—edit as needed
- If a description is copied and pasted from a web site, make sure the punctuation marks or special characters display correctly in Polaris