Library of Congress

Preassigned Control Number Program

The Library of Congress > Preassigned Control Number Program > Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Preassigned Control Number (PCN) program relate to Copyright?

There is no relationship between the PCN program and Copyright registration. The principal intention of copyright records is to document the intellectual or creative ownership of a work. The principal intention of the PCN program is to assign Library of Congress Control Numbers (LCCNs) in advance of publication to those titles that the Library may add to its collections. When printed in the book, the LCCN facilitates access to the bibliographic record for that book and thereby expedites book processing by libraries and book dealers who obtain copies of the book.

For more information concerning the Copyright Office, go to
http://www.copyright.gov/. To search copyright records, go to
http://www.copyright.gov/records/. The mailing address is:

Library of Congress
Copyright Office
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20559
Phone: (202) 707-3000
Email: [email protected]

How much does it cost to obtain a Preassigned Control Number (PCN)?

There is no charge for a Preassigned Control Number (PCN). However, participating publishers are obligated to send a complimentary copy of all books for which a Preassigned Control Number (PCN) was provided immediately upon publication. Publishers failing to meet this obligation may be suspended from the program. Please note that all books submitted to the Library of Congress in compliance with the PCN Program are property of the Library of Congress and therefore are not returnable.

Where do I send a copy of the book for which a Preassigned Control Number (PCN) was provided?

Library of Congress
US & Publisher Liaison Division
Cataloging in Publication Program
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4283

How can I get cataloging for a book which is already published?

All works submitted to the Copyright Office to meet copyright obligations are also reviewed by Library of Congress selection librarians. Works selected for addition to the Library's collections are assigned a cataloging priority and cataloged according to that priority. The Library does not provide current status reports for individual works processed in this manner. The Library of Congress database, however, is available via the Internet (http://catalog.loc.gov) and can be searched for works that the Library has cataloged. Publishers should also consider working with a professional librarian at a local library to obtain cataloging.

What is the difference between the Cataloging in Publication (CIP) Program and the PCN program?

The Cataloging in Publication program creates bibliographic records for forthcoming books most likely to be widely acquired by U.S. libraries. The bibliographic record (also known as CIP data) is sent to the publisher and printed on the verso of the title page. A machine-readable version of the record is also distributed to libraries, book dealers, and bibliographic networks worldwide via the Library's Cataloging Distribution Service (CDS).

The Preassigned Control Number (PCN) program assigns a Library of Congress Control Number (aka Library of Congress Card Number) to titles most likely to be acquired by the Library of Congress as well as some other categories of books. The publisher prints the control number in the book and thereby facilitates cataloging and other book processing activities for libraries and book sellers who obtain copies of the book. An initial bibliographic record is also created for many of these works when the number is assigned. This record is not distributed and is not printed in the book. The CIP program and PCN program are mutually exclusive. Titles processed in one program are not processed in the other program.

What is the difference between a Library of Congress Card Number, a Library of Congress Control Number, and a Preassigned Control Number?

There is no difference between a Library of Congress Card Number and a Library of Congress Control Number. They mean the same thing - a unique number assigned to each Library of Congress catalog record.. The Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) is the number associated with the bibliographic record created by the Library of Congress or another library for a given book. Strictly speaking the LCCN is the control number for the bibliographic record, not the book. In the past, the printed card in a card catalog was the most popular format for displaying the bibliographic record and consequently the number associated with the record was commonly referred to as the Library of Congress Card Number. Other formats, however, were also used to display and distribute catalog records such as: book catalogs, microform catalogs, and online catalogs. As the most popular format for displaying and distributing bibliographic records is now the online automated system, it is more accurate to use the term "Library of Congress Control Number" rather than "Library of Congress Card Number".

A Preasigned Control Number (PCN) is a Library of Congress Control Number which has been "preassigned" to a given work prior to the work's publication. The publisher of an eligible work may may obtain a PCN by way of the EPCN program, assuming, of course, that the work has not yet been published. Published works are otherwise assigned a LCCN during the cataloging process, if they have been selected for addition to the Library of Congress' collections.

Are Library of Congress catalog records created for all books submitted to the Library of Congress as part of the Preassigned Control Number Program?

No. Many PCN books receive such cataloging but it is not automatic. First, the book is reviewed by Library of Congress selection librarians. If the book is selected for retention in the Library's collections, then a bibliographic record will be created and this record will appear in the Library's online catalog. If the book is not selected for retention, the Library of Congress will not create a catalog record for the book.

How long does it take to obtain an account number and password?

Most applications to participate in the Preassigned Control Number (PCN) program are processed in one to two weeks depending on current workloads.

How long does it take to obtain a Library of Congress Control Number?

Most applications are processed in one to two weeks. Publishers should submit applications well in advance of publication, however, to allow for periods of heavy work load that prolong processing time.

What is an International Standard Book Number (ISBN)?

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a number that uniquely identifies books and book like products published internationally. The hardcover version should have a different ISBN than the softcover. A corrected printing should have a different ISBN than the original. An audio version should likewise have a different number. ISBNs are in no way related to Library of Congress Control Numbers and are only related to Preassigned Control Number (PCN) data to the extent that if an initial bibliographic control record is created for the book to which the PCN assigned, the initial bibliographic control record will include an ISBN(s) if the publisher has provided this information when requesting the PCN.

How do I get an International Standard Book Number (ISBN)?

The U.S. ISBN Agency (not the Library of Congress) is responsible for the assignment of ISBNs to publishers resident in the U.S. and who publish titles in the U.S. The U.S. ISBN agency address is:

R. R. Bowker (U.S. ISBN Agency)
630 Central Ave.
New Providence, NJ 07974-1154
Phone: (877) 310-7333
Email: [email protected]
http://www.isbn.org/standards/home/isbn/us/index.asp External Link

What is an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)?

The International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) is a standard 8-digit number that uniquely identifies any serial publication independently of place of publication, language, frequency, or medium. ISSNs are in no way related to Preassigned Control Numbers (PCN).

How do I get an International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)?

The U.S. ISSN agency is the National Serials Data Program (NSDP) is responsible for assigning ISSNs to serials issued by publishers resident in the U.S. who publish serials in the U.S. NSDP is located at the Library of Congress and can be contacted at the following address:

Library of Congress
ISSN Program
U.S. Publisher Liaison Division
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4160
Phone: (202) 707-6452
http://www.loc.gov/issn/