Tip #133: Dashes in the Title Proper (245 field)

Dashes are used in the 245 field to replace punctuation that could be confused with punctuation required by cataloging rules, such as colons and ellipsis. Whether or not you leave a space before or after a dash depends on what punctuation the dash is replacing.

If your title contains a colon that does NOT mean that what follows is a subtitle, replace the colon with either a dash or a comma. When using dashes to replace a colon, there are no spaces before or after the dash.


The title page reads: “Wanted: Dead or Alive”.
245 10 |a Wanted–dead or alive / |c Susan Lagrange. OR
245 10 |a Wanted, dead or alive / |c Susan Lagrange.

If your title contains an ellipsis that is not associated with the “.et al.” phrase, also replace this with a dash. In this case, leave a space after the dash but not before it unless the ellipsis is at the beginning of the title.


Title page reads: “How to Do the Right Thing… and Live with the Consequences”.
245 10 |a How to do the right thing– and live with the consequences / |c by Robert Longwatch.

Title page reads: “…And So It Goes”
245 10 |a –and so it goes / |c Margaret Storm. (Note that the first word isn’t capitalized.)

Originally published on May 18, 2012.

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MARC Fields