What is a MARC Record and Why is it Important

By Lorraine Black,2014-06-10 20:32
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What is a MARC Record and Why is it Important

    What is a MARC Record and Why is it Important?

MARC stands for Machine-Readable Cataloging. The MARC format is a way to put the

    information that used to be on a catalog card, into a library’s online catalog. Everything that used to be on a catalog card has a place in a MARC record. In order for MARC records to properly function in an online catalog, there must be a consistency in the way they are coded.

    Unique information appears at the beginning the of MARC record

    Leader: The leader is the first 24 characters of the record. Each space has an assigned meaning, but most of the information in the leader is for the processing of the record.

    Directory: The directory tells the computer system which tags are in the record, their length, and starting location.

    Variable Control Fields: These fields are identified by a tag in the directory but have no indicator positions or subfields. There are two kinds of Variable Control Fields (00X).

Variable Control Fields:

    001 Control number (usually system generated)

    003 Whose system control number is in 001

     005 Date and time of last transaction (usually system generated) Sixteen characters that

    indicate the date and time of the latest record transaction and serve as a version

    identifier for the record.

Fixed Field Data Elements: The fixed field data elements of MARC records have

    specific fields and values depending on the format of the piece being cataloged. The field may contain a single data element or a series of fixed length elements, which are identified by position. These fixed length fields are:

    006 Fixed-Length Data Elements-Additional Materials

    007 Physical Description-Fixed Fields

    008 Fixed-Length Data Elements

    Commonly Used MARC Fields (Variable Data Fields)

    These fields vary in length. They contain bibliographic information and are the component of the MARC record that will interest librarians since they contain the actual bibliographic information that formerly appeared on catalog cards. The variable fields have content designators consisting of:

Tag - three-digit code that identifies the kind of data in the field.

    Indicator - a number from 0-9 (or blank), which immediately follows the tag and further defines the field. Each tag (except the 00X tags) has two indicator positions. e.g. A first indicator of “1” after the 245 tag specifies a title added entry (the proper indicator when an author is entered; the most common situation). A second indicator of “2” after the 245 tag specifies 2 nonfiling characters as in a title which begins with a single

    letter article followed by a space. ”A Painted House”

    Subfield - a lower-case letter (sometimes a number), which identifies a subfield and indicates the type of data to follow.

    Delimiter - a symbol, which precedes a subfield identifier. MultiLIS uses the dollar sign ($) as a delimiter. Other systems may use ?, _, #, etc. as delimiter marks.

Terminator - a symbol, which marks the end of a field or a record.

    e.g. 24504$a

    Tag 1st indicator 2nd indicator delimiter subfield code

     245 0 4 $ a

    Commonly Used Fields

    010 LCCN (Library of Congress Card Number) (NR)

     Both indicators are blank.

     Subfield used most often:

     a LCCN

    Example: 010 $a98-46370

    020 ISBN (International Standard Book Number) (R)

    Both indicators are blank.

     Subfields used:

     a ISBN

     c Terms of Availability (usually cost)

     z Cancelled or invalid ISBN

    Examples: 020 $a0439064864

     020 $a0440945151 (pbk.)

    020 $a038550120X$c27.95

    022 ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) (R)

     Indicator 1 is usually blank.

     Indicator 2 is blank.

     Subfield used most often:

     a ISSN

    Example: 022 $a0028-9604

040 Cataloging Source (NR)

     Both indicators are blank.

     Subfield used:

     a Original cataloging agency

    DLC is Library of Congress, IMchF-DB is Follett

     c Transcribing agency

     d Modifying agency

     Example: 040 $aDLC$cDLC$dIMchF-DB

     Library of Congress cataloged the original item, and translated it

     into USMARC format. Follett modified the item by adding

     subject headings.

100 Personal name main entry (primary author) (NR)

     1st Indicator: Type of personal name

    0 is Forename only

     1 is Single Surname (most common)

     3 is Name of Family

     2nd Indicator is blank.

     Subfields used most often:

     a Personal name

     b Numeration

     c Titles and other words associated with the name

     d Dates (of birth - and death if deceased)

     q Qualification of a name (fuller form)

     Examples: 1001 $aShakespeare, William,$d1564-1616.

    1001 $aChurchill, Winston,$cSir,$d1874-1965.

245 Title Statement (NR)

     1st Indicator: Should the title be indexed as a title added entry?

     0 No title added entry (indicates that no author or 1XX is present)

    1 Title added entry (the proper indicator when an author or 1XX is


    2nd Indicator: Number of nonfiling characters

    0-9 The number of nonfiling character, including spaces; usually set at


    unless a title begins with an article (a, and, or the)

     Subfields used most often:

     a The title

     h GMD (General Material Designation; often used for media)

     b Remainder of title (subtitles)

     c Statement of Responsibility

    Examples: 24510$aHarry Potter and the goblet of fire /$cby J.K. Rowling.

     24512$aA painted house :$ba novel /$cby John Grisham.

    24504$aThe World Book encyclopedia of people and

    places$h[electronic resource].

250 Edition Statement (NR)

    Both indicators are blank.

     Subfield used most often:

     a Edition Statement

    Example: 250 $a14th ed.

    260 Publication, Distribution, etc. (NR)

     Both indicators are blank.

     Subfields used most often:

     a Place of publication

     b Publisher

     c Date of Publication

     Example: 260 $aNew York :$bScholastic Books,$cc1998.