Original Content

Cataloging Board Games

Since September, I have been immersed in the world of games and learning.  I co-wrote a successful grant application to create a library-based Center for Games and Learning.


The project is being  funded through a Sparks Ignition! Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

One of our first challenges has been to decide how to catalog the games.  I located this presentation on SlideShare.  We have decided to catalog the games as Three Dimensional Objects (Artifact) and use the following MARC fields:

  • MARC 245  Title Statement
  • MARC 260  Publication, Distribution, Etc.
  • MARC 300  Physical Description
  • MARC 500  General Note
  • MARC 508  Creation/Production Credits
  • MARC 520  Summary, Etc.
  • MARC 521  Target Audience
  • MARC 650  Topical Term
  • MARC 655  Index Term—Genre/Form

There are many other fields that we could use, but we decided to keep it as simple as possible.  We decided not to interfile the games and instead, create a separate collection for the Center for Games and Learning.  Due to this, we will not be assigning a Library of Congress Classification to them, but will instead by shelving the games in alphabetical order.  We also created a material type of “board games.”

For the Center for Games and Learning we are also working on a website that will be live in the next few months.  The project is still in its infancy and I will be sharing more about this project in upcoming blog posts.

Do any LITA blog readers have board games in your libraries? If, so what MARC fields do you use to catalog the games?


  1. Christopher Harris

    At the Genesee Valley Educational Partnership in Western NY we have run a board game library for our 22 rural school districts for about 8 years. My colleague, Brian Mayer (also a board game designer) and I did some initial work on MARC records for board games a few years back. You can see our work at http://gvlibraries.org/gaming or our additional work on gaming in libraries at http://playplaylearn.com.

    Even more important that figuring out MARC fields is determining priorities for information sources. For example, with board games the most authoritative source for title, authors, etc. is not the box, but rather the rules contained in the box. The box is designed and printed quite early while the rules are usually the last piece to be finalized.

    I would recommend focusing on the author of the games. We are trying to switch over to using the term author even to follow the German style of showcasing the full authorship that goes into a game as opposed to the term designer. Game authors have followings like book authors with titles that will be published from multiple sources. Shelving by author as opposed to title allows a single author’s body of work to be considered as a whole for comparisons and as a source of next-play recommendations. Authors tend to have a certain style to their games that players often grow to like. http://www.spieleautorenzunft.de/ for more on this.

    Great to hear about more movement in board games world! Would love to talk further…

    1. Lauren Hays


      Thank you for your reply; it is very helpful! I would also enjoy talking further about this. I will e-mail after the Thanksgiving holiday and bring the co-project director into the discussion.


  2. Sarah R.

    We are collecting and cataloguing games at our library, the Graduate Resource Centre, at the Faculty of Information Studies (FIMS), where we have an MLIS program. Our games are being catalogued in our special collections using Omeka, which is Dublin Core-based. Here is a link to our collection! https://fimsgrc.omeka.net/collections/show/7

Comments are closed.