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“CIP data" is the bibliographic record created by the Library of Congress for a book prior to its publication. It appears printed on the verso (reverse side) of the book's title page.

It is an abbreviated version of the machine-readable cataloging (or MARC) record that resides in the Library's database and which is distributed to libraries and book vendors.

The full MARC version contains additional information such as codes that indicate the language in which the book is written, the date when the book was cataloged, etc.

The CIP program was established thirty-six years ago to serve the nation's libraries by cataloging, in advance of publication, books widely acquired by the nation's libraries.

If the CIP program can catalog these works early in their life cycle and can make the catalog records broadly available, many libraries can benefit. Instead of individual libraries cataloging the same work repeatedly, the work is cataloged once, and literally thousands of libraries -- school libraries in particular – can use the resulting record and can redirect resources consumed by cataloging these works to other uses.

The catalog records created by the program provide bibliographic control of books in libraries so readers can readily access the books that meet their needs. Because these bibliographic records are also distributed in machine-readable form prior to the book's publication, they also support acquisition, book selection, and book purchasing activities. Many booksellers and large libraries worldwide obtain these records via the Library's MARC Distribution Service and they in turn distribute them in various products and services that alert libraries, book stores, and readers to forthcoming titles. In many instances, these parties place orders for these titles. In this way CIP also serves as a marketing tool for publishers.

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