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Update Forum Minutes – LC Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative

A forum to update the progress of the Library of Congress Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative was held on January 22nd at the American Library Association Mid-Winter Meeting in Dallas, Texas. There were about 110 people in attendance including folks from the Deutsche Nationalbibliothek, Biblioteca Nacional de España, and our own Library and Archives Canada.

In his introductory remarks Beacher Wiggins said that this forum aimed to “learn how the Library of Congress could engage the community in the Bibliographic Framework Transition project and to foster dialogue about community concerns.”

Deanna Marcum, who now heads up the strategic consulting service Ithaka S+R, spoke about the need for a new bibliographic framework a question that has been on her mind for some time. She indicated that two recent reports were catalysts toward this initiative: the first was the final report of the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control; and, the second was the report from the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee of LC, NAL, and NLM which stated in part that there should be “credible progress toward a replacement for MARC” as one of the recommendations leading to a successful implementation of RDA.

Marcum also asked her then Library of Congress colleagues: “[what would Henriette D. Avram] have done in the age of Google. All agreed that Avram would not have viewed MARC as the final answer, but would have overseen an evolution of MARC to meet contemporary needs.”

Sally McCallum then provided an overview of and a synopsis of responses to initial Transition plan released on October 31, 2011. She noted that “several national libraries abroad had submitted statements of support for the Transition Initiative.”

In her remarks she stated that the Framework would:

… most likely be based on Linked Data principles and use the Resource Description Framework (RDF), a World Wide Web Consortium specification, as its basic data model. The new framework will support many more options for data storage and retrieval than is the case now.

McCallum also looked to the development of RDF ontologies as part of the new bibliographic framework and “stressed the need for community collaboration.”

If you haven’t yet done so one way you can participate in this initiative is by joining the BIBFRAME electronic discussion list.

The minutes for this meeting are now available.

PCC Guidelines on Punctuation Used in $3 and $x in 260, 490, 8XX Fields

The PCC Guidelines on Punctuation Used in $3 and $x in 260, 490, 8XX Fields were recently posted.

These guidelines are in response to a number of questions raised with regard to the use of punctuation in $3 (Materials specified) newly defined for 260, 490, and 8XX fields, and the use of $x (International Standard Serial Number) in 8XX fields. The practices have been reviewed by the PCC Standing Committee on Standards, and will be reflected in the appropriate guidelines, LCRIs, and other program documents as time allows.

Update No. 10 to MARC 21

As reported by George Praeger on the AALL TS-SIS discussion list:

Esteemed colleagues,
MARC 21 Update No. 10 (October 2009) has recently been integrated into the documentation for each of the Online Full and Concise formats that are maintained on the MARC website ( Changes to the documentation resulted mainly from MARBI proposals that were approved at the ALA Midwinter and ALA Annual Meetings in 2009. These changes are indicated in red in the Online Full version of the formats.

Each format also has an appendix, “Format Changes for Update No. 10 (October 2009)” that lists all the fields with changes that are part of the update.

Some major changes to the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format are:
1. New fields 336 (Content Type), 337 (Media Type), and 338 (Carrier Type). These will replace the GMD used in field 245 if/when RDA is implemented.

2. New field 588 (Source of Description Note), which will replace the general 500 note for information such as Source of title, and Description based on notes.

3. Subfield $x (ISSN) in series statement in 490 has been made repeatable, so that ISSNs may be given for both main series and subseries in the same 490 field.

4. Field 787 has been renamed from “Other Relationship Entry” to “Nonspecific Relationship Entry.”

Some major changes to the Authority Format:
New fields: 046 (Special Coded Dates), 336 (Content Type), and a block of fields 370-377 for various new elements in authority records relating to Group 2 FRBR entities.

In the United States, the new fields in the MARC 21 Bibliographic & Authority Formats will usually not be used until the changes are implemented by OCLC, LC, and the PCC.

For more on any of these fields, refer to the MARC 21 formats, the relevant MARBI Discussion papers and Proposals, and/or my last MARBI report, available at:


Creation and Distribution of MARC Records in US and Canadian Libraries

As part of the recommendations of the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control a project to look at the “economics of current practices” of MARC record creation has been initiated. Deanna Marcum, Associate Librarian for Library Services at the Library of Congress, will be working with the R2Consulting who will be carrying out the investigation and describing the “current ‘marketplace’ for MARC cataloging records.”

Here’s an excerpt from the press release:

The Library has recognized that its role as a producer of bibliographic data is changing and that other libraries have options as they consider sources for cataloging records. The conclusions outlined in a report issued last year, “On the Record: Report of the Library of Congress Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control,” indicate that cataloging activity must be shared more broadly and equitably among all libraries. Before the Library considers any changes to its cataloging commitments or priorities, however, it is vital to understand the extent to which other libraries rely on its contributions.

In an effort to reach out to the cataloguing community and other interested parties R2Consulting have set up a social networking site to facilitate discussion and communication and you are encouraged to join the group.

They hope to have a final report submitted to LC before the annual ALA meeting.

Petition for OCLC to Collaboratively Re-write Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records

There is an online petition circulating asking that OCLC involve member libraries and others in the re-writing of the the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat Records.

For those of you who believe OCLC should not implement the policy/FAQ as written, and who perhaps have difficulty in figuring out (and letting OCLC know) exactly how they should be re-written, this petition provides a vehicle for your consideration and support.

More information on the petition is available here.

OCLC has provided this Summary of the Policy for Use and Transfer of WorldCat® Records.

And you’ll find more information on the controversy over this OCLC policy change, including numerous blog posts, available at this code4lib wiki: OCLC Policy Change.

MARC Records for US DOE Office of Scientific and Technical Information Research

“The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) offers librarians and the library community the opportunity to download records of DOE Scientific and Technical Information (STI) in MARC format. By using OSTI’s MARC download, librarians can now easily expand access to a variety of scientific research straight from their catalogs. This is a free public service provided by OSTI.”

As seen recently on Catalogablog.

Making 440 obsolete in MARC 21

From the recent round of MARBI proposals, no. 2008-07 proposes to simplify the series statment.

SUMMARY: This paper proposes making field 440 obsolete in favor of using 490 (Series Statement) and the 8XX Series added entry fields for traced series. This simplifies practices and the need for systems to look multiple places in the records for the authorized series heading. The paper also proposes changes to the first indicator value 1 definition in field 490.

OCLC-MARC Format Update 2008

Technical Bulletin 255, “OCLC-MARC Format Update 2008,” describes the changes to OCLC-MARC records based on update 7.

Some new subfields, e.g. relator codes for X11 fields, and a couple of new indexes have been created. 047 Form of Musical Composition Code has been updated a bit allowing for IAML musical composition codes to be used and indexed. They’ll all be ready for use in June 2008.

Full Version of MARC Now Freely Available

The Library of Congress is now providing access to the full version of the MARC standards alongside of the concise version that has been available for a number of years.  I haven’t seen an official announcement but it seems to have taken place at some point over the past week.  With the full descriptions of the MARC codes freely available this will contribute to the consistent application of MARC in cataloguing practice.