Tip #77: Copyright dates in the 260 field

If the copyright date is used in the 260 field, it must be preceded by a ‘c’.

Don’t assume a publication date just because the copyright date is the current year. Unless there is truly a publication date on the item, put a ‘c’ before the date to indicate the copyright date is being used.

Remember the copyright date is only given in the 260 field if the publication date does not appear on the item. The publication date can be on the title page, near the publisher name (The History Press 2010), part of the edition statement (1st American edition 2009) or on the t.p. verso in a publication statement (Published 2011).
Never use the printing date in the 260 unless there is no copyright date or publication date.

Examples:

260 __ |a New York : |b Grove Press, |c c2008. (copyright date – use if there is no publication date)
260 __ |a New York : |b Harper, |c 2010. (publication date- always the first choice)
260 __ |a Charleston, SC : |b History Press, |c [2011] (printing date, always in brackets, use only if there are no other dates on the item)

See Tip of the Week #9 (10-23-09) for another explanation of the date to use in the 260 field.
Originally published on March 25, 2011.


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