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A collection-level record can be used to give provisional or permanent access to material which would otherwise be hidden from users as well as staff. Collection-level cataloging is used frequently in the John Milton and Ruth Neils Ward Collection, where it is a tool for inventory control over portions of a large backlog.

A Projects List (file:///H:\\HOUGHTON\\Technical%20Services\\Books\\Projects\\Project%20Lists\\Projects.xls) of candidates for collection-level records is maintained by the Head of the Rare Books Team, who may be consulted concerning potential additions.

Before embarking on a collection-level record, consider whether the material already falls into an organic arrangement, or whether it can be sorted artificially to highlight shared features. This can help lead to a summary-level description in a 520 field, lending focus and value to an otherwise disparate amalgam of material. Consider also the lifecycle of the record at this stage: will it be a provisional record or a permanent one?

If creating a collection-level record for manuscript material, refer to Describing Archives: A Content Standard (DACS).