ALCTS - Association of Library Collections & Technical Services

CC:DA/MARBI Rep/2004/1

February 5, 2003

Committee on Cataloging: Description and Access

Report of the MARBI Representative to CC:DA
Midwinter Meeting 2004

Provided below are summaries of the proposals and discussion papers considered by MARBI at the ALA 2004 Midwinter Conference in San Diego. 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. 2004-01: Making Subfields $e, $f, and $g Repeatable in Field 260 of the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

Source: ACRL Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, Bibliographic Standards Committee

Summary: Recording multiple places, names, and dates of manufacture in field 260 is sometimes needed in rare book cataloging. Since subfields $e (Place of manufacture), $f (Manufacturer) and $g (Date of manufacture) are currently not repeatable in field 260, catalogers must either decide to record only one set of manufacture information or give the information in a note. This paper proposes making these subfields repeatable in field 260.

Related MARBI Documents: None.

MARBI action taken: Proposal accepted as written.

Proposal No. 2004-02: Defining New Field Link Type Codes for Subfield $8 (Field link and sequence number) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Holdings Formats

Source: RLG

Summary: This paper proposes defining new link type codes "a" (action) and "x" (general sequencing) in subfield $8. This will facilitate linking between field 583 (Action note) and specific note fields 541 (Immediate Source of Acquisition Note) and 561 (Ownership and Custodial History).

Related MARBI Documents: Proposal 95-6 (December, 1994); Proposal 98-2 (November, 1997); Discussion Paper DP101 (May, 1997)


This RLG proposal stems from plans for migration of the RLIN database. The current RLIN system uses an archival control segment integrating action information (e.g. received, processed, available for use) and source of acquisition information (e.g. donor, seller). As these data elements reside in at least two separate MARC fields (541 and 583), a linking and sequencing device is needed to maintain their relationship. Subfield $8 is used elsewhere within the format for this sort of linking. As some systems reorder fields, a code was also proposed for general sequencing. There was extensive discussion of the need for systems that do not rearrange certain fields or groups of fields, while at the same time recognizing that some systems do. Fields may also be further rearranged during data migration(s). A sequencing device would ensure field order as well as relationships existing between fields.

John Attig raised questions about defining the “action” code in such a field-specific manner. Perhaps MARBI should simply define that it relates to the more generic “other field.”

MARBI action taken: Proposal accepted, but with the provision that the “link type code” for “action” will be generalized to provide linking/sequencing from one 583 field (Action Note) to another field.

Proposal No. 2004-03: Designating the Privacy of Fields 541, 561 and 583 in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Holdings Formats

Source: RLG

Summary: This paper proposes defining an indicator for privacy and possibly note control for the 541, 561 and 583.

Related MARBI Documents: None.


When an institution has both public and private information within these fields, the appropriate field(s) should be repeated. The indicators approved below will determine those fields that display to the public.

Rich Greene of OCLC proposed that MARBI add an additional indicator value with the result:

	# - No indication/No information provided
	0  Private
	1  Not private

OCLC currently regards information in each of the fields as private, so they will likely convert all current indicator values to 0 Private.

Uncertainty remains about the ability of ILS vendors to mask information encoded as “private” in both MARC and OPAC displays.

MARBI action taken: Proposal accepted with the following provisions:

  1. Indicator values:
    		# - No indication/No information provided
    		0  Private
    		1  Not private
  2. With the new indicator value added, additional examples will be provided within the documentation.

  3. An explanation of “privacy” as regards each of these fields will be provided within the field definitions.

Discussion Paper 2004-DP03: Changing the Mapping for the Double-Wide Diacritics from MARC8 to Unicode/UCS from the Unicode/UCS Half Diacritic Characters to the Unicode/UCS Double-Wide Diacritic Characters

Source: RLG

Summary: The double-wide tilde of Tagalog and the ligature used in Cyrillic romanization are encoded as half diacritic characters in ANSEL, and are mapped to equivalent half diacritic characters in Unicode/UCS. Another way to represent the double-width tilde and the ligature in Unicode is to use single diacritic characters that span two alphabetic characters: the combining double tilde and combining double inverted breve. The Unicode Consortia and implementors are preferring the double-width characters to the halves. This discussion paper gives a number of reasons why the use of the single double-wide diacritics may be preferable to using the two half diacritic characters, and suggests that the MARC 21 community change the official encoding in Unicode/UCS to the double-wide diacritics.

Related MARBI Documents: Proposal 96-10 (July 1996)


Gary Smith of OCLC expressed concern on the part of OCLC programmers — an examination of the OCLC database found ca. 23,000 mismatched diacritic pairs.

RLG expressed their desire to move prospectively so that libraries that have already converted to Unicode will not be forced to undergo a second conversion.

The double-wide diacritic is not a Romanization issue, and some raised the concern that the double-wide tilde has not been widely used since 1898.

However, Gary Strawn of Northwestern mentioned that in a cursory examination of the Northwestern database, he encountered multiple occurrences of the diacritic not only in the legacy bibliographic files, but also in authority headings and authority records.

MARBI action taken: MARBI moved that RLG submit a formal proposal. The discussion indicated general support for a proposal including the double-wide character, and possibly others within the Unicode character set.

Report: Assessment of options for handling full-Unicode character encodings in MARC21 : a study for the Library of Congress / Jack Cain

The report was posted to the MARC site late. Consequently, the report will be added to the agenda of the MARBI meetings at ALA Annual in Orlando to facilitate more complete discussion.

Jim Agenbroad raised several concerns with the report, and urged MARBI to receive a proposal to accept the full Unicode repertoire.

Karen Coyle pointed out that the report needs to clarify references to importing records. Does this refer to importing records into one’s local ILS?

RLG expressed concern that the report’s recommendation of Option 4 (e.g., Replace the character with “[U+nnnn]” in ASCII) may not actually be the best choice.

Discussions with developers demonstrate ongoing efforts to expand the characters within these repertoires. Nonetheless, there is a very strict vocabulary used within the Unicode community. This is quite sensible, but it can also be formidable.

MARBI action taken: MARBI will revisit the report, along with any supplemental reports posted between now and then, at the Annual Conference in Orlando.

Proposal No. 2004-04: Definition of Field 258 (Philatelic Issue Data) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

Source: National Archives of Canada

Summary: This paper proposes defining Field 258 (Philatelic Issue Data) in the MARC 21 bibliographic format to record data relating to the issuing jurisdiction and denomination for philatelic material.

Related MARBI Documents: None.


Paul Weiss wondered if the need for this field was confined to philatelic materials? For example, what about coins and currency?

There was discussion of the relationship with other cataloging codes, including RAD (Rules for Archival Description) and ISAD (International Standard Archival Description), and their relationships to AACR and MARC.

MARBI action taken: An initial vote was not accepted (4-1).

Much of the opposition focused on the narrowly-defined audience and scope of the proposal. There was also the concern that there are a limited number of 25X fields available.

There was no question as to the validity of the proposal, but some wondered if this data could find a home elsewhere within the format?

Following further discussion and a successful vote to remove the earlier MARBI motion, the Proposal was accepted as written, unanimously.

Discussion Paper 2004-DP02: Applying Field 752 (Added Entry Hierarchical Place Name) for Different Purposes in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

Source: ALA MAGERT Cataloging and Classification Committee

Summary: This paper explores the variety of current usage of the MARC 21 field 752 (Added Entry Hierarchical Place Name), and the ways that some online systems index the field. It suggests the need of some institutions to index the different uses differently, and presents a possible way to facilitate such capability by either adding an indicator to show whether the place name designates place of publication or subject or defining a new field in the subject range for subject use.

Related MARBI Documents: None.


The LC Geography and Map Division uses the 752 as a reverse-hierarchical access point to the area a map covers. They use authorized forms, and if they need an unestablished heading, LC establishes one.

There was clear understanding that MARBI should not sanction the use of subject content in the 7XX block – subject tracings need to be restricted to the 6XX fields.

There does though seem to be a need for both a subject access field (6XX), as well as an added entry (7XX) for the authorized form of geographic names.

A straw poll of the room showed an almost equal split between those in favor of the two optional solutions outlined in the paper (e.g., defining a first indicator value for the 752 field, or defining a new 6XX field).

There was agreement by MARBI that levels need to be added above the country level and below the city level and quite possibly to designate regional geographic features such as mountain ranges and deserts.

MARBI action taken: The discussion paper will be resubmitted as a formal proposal. Both solution options presented in the Discussion Paper will be explored.

Additions will be suggested for broader and narrower headings within hierarchical term strings, as well as any necessary revisions to enable the corresponding use of the field within the authority format. Finally, the proposal will reconsider the current subfield names to eliminate their focus upon U.S. governmental entities.

Discussion Paper 2004-DP01: Changes Needed to Accommodate RISM Data – Music Incipits

Source: RISM Zentralredaktion (RISM), Music Library Association (MLA)

Summary: This paper proposes defining field 031 in the authority and bibliographic formats to contain information needed for encoding RISM incipits.

Related MARBI Documents: None.


Support for this data appears clear, though it is presently too early to know all possible users and user-communities.

Need to consider the proper approach for $r. Should this subfield be repeatable, or does it need to be variable length in order to accommodate multiple codes.

Much of this data is item-specific, so how appropriate it would be in the authority format will require consideration.

Paul Weiss noted that many of the proposed subfield names and contents suggested within this Discussion Paper are presently used within the MARC format. The effort should be made to coordinate the practices suggested here with existing MARC precedent. (e.g., the Discussion Paper presently suggests $q for a general note, and $z for a Language of text note. To parallel existing practice, the general note should be $z, and the Language note should be $l.)

MARBI action taken: The paper will be resubmitted as a formal proposal with the suggested revisions.

Everett Allgood,
MARBI Representative to CC:DA