ALCTS - Association of Library Collections & Technical Services

CC:DA/MARBI Rep/2003/2

July 17, 2003

Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access

Report of the MARBI Representative to CC:DA
Annual Conference 2003

Provided below are summaries of the proposals and discussion papers considered by MARBI at the ALA 2003 Annual Conference in Toronto. This report contains discussions which took place at the meetings regarding the MARBI proposals and discussion papers which may be of particular interest to CC:DA.*

Complete text of the MARBI proposals and discussion papers summarized below is available from the MARC Advisory Committee web page:

Proposal No. 2003-04: Definition of Field 024 (Other standard identifier) to the MARC21 Authority Format

Source: OCLC

Summary: This paper proposes adding Field 024 (Other standard identifier) to the MARC21 Authority Format to allow for recording standard identifiers relevant to the entity described in the authority record. The identifier would represent the heading in the 1XX field, not the entire authority record.

Related MARBI Documents: 2003-DP03


MARBI was not particularly pleased that the standard that inspired the proposal (ISTC) is not only still a draft, but is a closed draft that MARBI cannot see. The committee is also aware that there may not be a good one-to-one relationship between ISTCs and AACR2-based authority headings. Furthermore, no constituencies have displayed any interest in encoding the other standard numbers cited in authority records.

However, when the ISTC standard is approved, publishers will be assigning these numbers, and it was agreed there needs to be a field coded for them in authority records. It also appears that OCLC is committed to using 024 in authority records to link to the ISTC records when they exist. Consequently, MARBI approved the proposal.

MARBI action taken: Approved.

Discussion Paper 2003-DP04: Defining subfield $2 in fields 155, 455 and 555 of the MARC 21 Authority Format

Source: Bibliographic Standards Committee, RBMS/ACRL

Summary: This paper considers the definition of subfield $2 (Source) in fields 155, 455 and 555 of the MARC 21 authority format to allow for greater flexibility and consistency with field 655 in the bibliographic format. This may result in better ability for machine validation of headings if the source were in the same subfield in both formats.

Related MARBI Documents: 2002-07 (January 2002); 95-11 (June 1995)


There appeared to be little interest in this proposed change either in the considerable discussion this paper generated on the list before the conference, or at the meeting. As the source of the term is identified at the record level (008/11 and 040$f in this case), it was felt that any difficulties that this caused were system-implementation issues and MARBI was not interested in pursuing this approach to thesaurus management.

MARBI action taken: None.

Proposal No. 2003-03: Definition of Data Elements for Article Level Description

Source: California Digital Library

Summary: This paper proposes additional data elements in the MARC 21 bibliographic format that contain parsed citation information for the description of journal articles. This will facilitate translation of non-MARC citation data into the MARC format and linking to citation-related services. Options are: 1) Definition of a subfield in field 773; and 2) Definition of a new field 363.

Related MARBI Documents: Discussion paper 2003-DP01 (January 2003)


There was some discussion about non-consecutive and ending page numbers. The committee response was that the proposed data element is for linking purposes and is not intended to be a complete citation to the article page numbering. The MARC Standards Office will investigate if the SICI syntax allows for complete pagination citations.

A straw poll between the two options clearly preferred Option 1 to define subfield $q (currently called “Enumeration and first page”) in field 773. Defining a new subfield will ensure that parsed information is securely linked with host item information.

MARBI action taken: Option 1 approved.

Proposal No. 2002-14/9R: Definition of Fields 365 (Trade Price) and 366 (Trade Information) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

Source: British Library

Summary: This proposal adds fields 365 and 366 to the bibliographic format to carry information needed by book trade agencies.

Related MARBI Documents: Discussion paper 2002-DP07 (January 2002); 2002-14/09 (June 2002)


Though there is not much precedent for providing acquisitions information in the bibliographic format, the proposal was accepted as it fulfills a basic need of the British constituency.

MARBI action taken: Approved with the following change:
1) the name of the 366 field will be “Availability Information” rather than “Trade information”

Proposal No. 2003-05: Changes to Field 352 (Digital Graphic Representation) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

Source: Anglo-American Cataloguing Committee for Cartographic Materials

Summary: This paper proposes adding subfield $q to field 352 (Digital Graphic Representation) to the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format in order to be able to record the format in which the digital image is stored and making subfield $g obsolete (VPF topology level).

The paper actually offers four options: 1) define subfield $q in field 352; 2) use a 5XX note field for format name; 3) define a textual note subfield in field 352; or, 4) explore the definition of a new field for file format information.

Related MARBI Documents: None.


Though some appeared reluctant to approve a proposal needed to support provisions in AACR, the proposal was approved. MARBI was convinced that this particular instance of file format was defined by AACR as a sub-element of Digital Graphic Representation (352) and should therefore be coded in that field.

Though directed specifically at cartographic materials, extension of this proposal to other digital graphics was discussed and will need to be investigated.

MARBI action taken: Option 1 approved, to define subfield $q (Format of the digital image) in field 352.

Jennifer Bowen, Chair of the JSC Format Variation Working Group updated MARBI on her group’s current activities. [Report available at:]

Discussion on the FVWG report:

  • Uniform titles: There was concern about the use of uniform titles being historically more a matter of local than national cataloging and how the increased use of uniform titles might affect the degree of difference between local records and shared resource records. John Attig noted that FRBR and the desire to identify Works and Expressions provides an additional motivation for catalogers to use uniform titles and that their use may indeed become more widespread.

  • Sally McCallum raised a very interesting question: Looking at the breakdown by language of text in uniform titles for Expressions, she asked whether it wasn’t true that all current authority records were actually for Expressions and that the absence of a language in the uniform title simply meant that the authority record was for the Expression in the original language. Pat Riva and Jennifer B. admitted that they had not thought of it in these terms, but that this is certainly a valid interpretation.

  • General material designations (GMD): There was some discussion of the alternatives of textual vs. coded representation of material types. Attig noted that the first step in either case was to come up with a list or taxonomy of categories; the FVWG was wished good luck (with only a modest amount of sarcasm).

    Attig also pointed out that the difficulties that the Format Variation Working Group has encountered in deconstructing the GMD are the same difficulties MARBI encounters whenever they have to deal with the codes in LDR/06.

Business meeting
  • LC report: LC and ILS vendor Endeavor will implement Unicode in 2004, a delay of some months.

  • LC has updated the pamphlet Understanding MARC Bibliographic and has just issued a new Understanding MARC Authority Records. They will probably do one on MARC Holdings records as well.

  • New on the MARC page!!
    Guidelines for the Non-Sorting Control Character Technique
    Field 856 (Electronic Location and Access) Guidelines have been revised
    (See the “MARC Notebook” section of the “MARC formats” page)

  • Some basic FRBR software has been posted on a new FRBR and MARC page. This is a “toolkit” which allows users to experiment with converting existing catalog records into a FRBR syntax environment. Using this software, users may take a file of MARC bibliographic records and apply Tom Delsey’s FRBR/MARC mappings to extract labels for Works and Expressions, more or less like the examples that accompany Delsey’s MARC 21 model.

    On other FRBR-related news, MARBI will be a co-sponsor of the FRBR program to be held at the 2004 Annual meeting in Orlando.

Everett Allgood,
MARBI Representative to CC:DA

* Sincere thanks to John Attig, Sherman Clarke and Matthew Wise for sharing notes and recollections of the MARBI meeting proceedings in Toronto.