Tip #134: Where to find the correct title for a book

The chief source of information for the title of a book is the title page.

Always locate the title page and copy the title exactly as it appears there.

What is the title page? It’s a page at the beginning of the book that contains the title proper and usually the statement of responsibility (author, illustrator) and the name of the publisher. Some books contain not only a title page but some other pages that look almost like a title page.

Don’t be fooled! Always look first for a page that has both the title and publication information on it.
The title on the cover of a book sometimes differs from the title on the title page. Don’t get in a hurry and copy the title from the cover. This is not the chief source of information.

Sometimes there’s title information on the t.p. verso. Never copy title information from this page, either. The title on the t.p. verso may or may not match the title page because this information is CIP(Cataloging In Publication) data and the title may have changed by the time the book was actually published. (The t.p. verso is the page usually opposite the title page containing other information about the book such as the ISBNs, printing dates, Dewey numbers and subject headings.)

Sometimes publishers get fancy and stretch the title page into two pages.

You’ll see the title and publisher info on the right-hand page and the author and maybe a picture on the left. Together this is still the title page.

What happens if you’ve looked and looked and there really is no title page?

Sometimes, but not often, a book does not have a title page. In this case you have to locate the substitute title page, the page of the book that contains the most complete information. This can be the cover of the book, a caption, or the colophon. A colophon is a block of information at the end of a book that includes the title, author, and publication data. A caption is title information that appears on the first page of the text.

If there is no title page and you must copy the title proper from someplace else, add a 500 note stating the source of the title.


245 10 |a Spot goes to the beach / |c Eric Hill.
500 __ |a Cover title.

Originally published on May 25, 2012.

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MARC Fields