COMMON MARC FIELDS
J. McRee (Mac) Elrod 21 July 2008
MARC21 Concise version is available online:
Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC) records are the bibliographic (now
used to refer to all library resources, not just books) information,
coded for manipulation by a computer. Perhaps their most common use
is to create Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) displays, although
they have been used to print catalogue cards, produce fiche
catalogues, and print book catalogues. They are also used for
acquisitions, circulation, and to print spine labels.
MARC records are composed of "fixed fields" in which certain
information (such as date and place of publication) is coded in a
consistent spot (designed in the 1960s when it was more difficult to
search electronic information), and "variable fields" in which the
information called for by the International Bibliographic Description
(ISBD) is coded using numbered field tags. Some fields also have
indicators, numbers between the tag and data, which indicates such
things as how many spaces to skip in filing, e.g., "4" for "The " (the
initial article plus one space). Variable fields have subfields,
e.g., 245$aTitle proper :$bsubtitle /$cstatement of responsibility,
with ISBD punctuation.
The fields are numbered in 100s by type. 0XX include standard numbers
and classification numbers, such as 020 International Standard
Bibliogrpahic Number (ISBN), 050 Library of Congress Classification
(LCC), 082 Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC); 1XX are main entries,
such as 100 Author, 130 Uniform title; 2XX is the main descriptive
paragraph, e.g., 245 title, 250 edition 260 imprint; 300 is collation,
440 series, and 5XX notes; 6XX are subject entries, and 7XX added
entries, e.g., 700 for a joint author.
The clever paragraph numberig is beginning to break down, for example,
246 is now used for some added title entries, and series as not on the
item or not entered by title are in 8XX; 810 series under corporate
body was originally 410.
You can study MARC online at:
For a complete list see: http://www.loc.gov/marc/
Common MARC fields:
LDR: Leader, and 006 through 008, are known as fixed fields. That means
the information is coded in a predetermined position and order.
Information about the item being described which was implicit for a unit
catalogue card is here made explicit for a computer. LDR/06, for
example, codes the type of material:
a = language material
g = visual material (see 008/33 for further breakdown)
i = non musical sound recording
j = musical sound recording
m = computer file, i.e., program or game (text in electronic form is
o = kit
001: RSN, record sequence number or control number (at least the last six
numbers of the SLC control number should be used as control number in an
SLC supported OPAC to insure overwriting for corrected and changed
006 & 007 are used when there are additional characteristics which need
to be recorded in fixed fields, e.g., LDR is coded text, but that text
is in micro or electronic form, or there is accompanying material
in a differing form. 008 type information is coded in 006, while
physical characteristics, e.g, the sound recording is a cassette, is
recorded in 007. In 006/00 a computer file is "m", and in 007/00 a
computer file is "c". The positions in 006, 007, and 008 vary with type
of material (LDR/06, 006/00, 007/00).
The LDR and MARC field 008 are broken up into separate fixed fields with
abbreviated names in most systems. PC based OPACs make little use of
most. Different systems give them in different orders, e.g., the order
in the record, or alphabetically. The more common ones are:
Type (LDR/06) type of material, see above.
Bib lvl (LDR/07) bibliographic level, e.g., m = monograph, s = serial
Dat tp (008/06) type of date, e.g, s = single, m = multiple
Date 1 (008/07-10) date one (if possible, the result set of subject
searches should display in reverse order by this date, e.g., newest title
Date 2 (008/11-14) date two (9999 for an open entry)
Ctry (008/15-17) country code, e.g, nyu = New York, United States; onc =
Frequn (008/18) frequency of serial, e.g., a = annual, m = monthly, q =
Cont (008/24-27) particular nature of contents, e.g., r = directory
Govt Pub (008/28) government publication, e.g., f = federal, s = state or
Conf pub (008/29) conference, i.e., 1 = conference publication
Type mat (008/33) type of visual material, e.g., f = filmstrip, g =
game, m = motion picture, v = video recording
Lang (008/35-37) language code, e.g., eng = English
Common variable fields include the following. Not all libraries map all
fields, e.g., a library might not map classification numbers other than
their own in their OPAC.
050: LC classification number
055: Canadian classification number used with LC numbers
082: DC classification number
090: $alocal call number (SLC uses $blocation, $ccopies, $dvolumes)
[Systems vary. OCLC uses this only for LC local call number, and 092
for DDC local call numbers. Some systems use a different field
100: Author main entry
110: Corporate main entry
111: Conference main entry
130: Uniform title as a main entry, e.g., Bible
240: Uniform title after 1XX main entry, e.g, Symphony ...
245: $aTitle proper $h[general material designation] :$bsubtitle
/$cstatement of responsibility; also =$bTitle in another language
246: Title added entry representing whole work, e.g., a distinctive
subtitle [2nd indicator may indicate source and create note, e.g., 4 =
cover, 5 = added title page, 6 = caption, 7 = running, 8 = spine; some
other phrase, e.g., At head of title, is coded 246 1 $i]
247: Previous title of an integrating resource.
260: $aPlace :$bPublisher,$cyear.
300: Collation (may include specific material designation, e.g.,
videocassette, when 245$h is [videorecording])
440: Series as on item and traced in older records
490: Series as on item. Cf. 830
500: General notes
501: With note
502: Thesis note
503: Bibliographic history note (SLC continues to use even though not in
current source records)
504: Bibliography note
505: Contents note.
508: Production/credits for motion picture; prefer to 245/$c
511: Participants note, e.g., performers, speakers at a conference
518: Date and place, e.g., of a performance or conference
520: Summary (Most often used with AV material)
546: Language of text, e.g., Text in English and French on inverted
600: Person as a subject
610: Corporate body as a subject
611: Corporate body as subject
630: Title as a subject
655: Genre, e.g., Feature film
695: Used by SLC for titles and authors of papers given at law symposia,
for entering on QL.
700: Person as an added entry
710: Corporate body as an added entry
711: Conference as an added entry
730: Uniform title as an added entry
740: Analytic or related title added entry (For a part of the work, or
for a related work mentioned in a note.)
780/785: Earlier/later title for a serial
830: Series as traced; may be same as or different from 490.
Subfield coding and ISBD punctuation is used in MARC fields. The "--"
between fields in the same paragraph are supplied by the system rather
than being in the records.
100 $aAuthor Surname, Given Names,$ddates.
245 14* $aThe title$h[general material designation]** :$bsubtitle
/$cstatement of responsibility ; other responsibility.
246 30 $aAlternate title
260 $aPlace, Jurisdiction :$bPublisher,$cyear.
300 $apaging, volumes, or other extent :$bill. ;$csize. +$eitem
440 $aSeries ;$vno.
650 0 $aTopic$xTopic subdivision$zPlace subdivision$yPeriod
700 1 $aAdditional Author Surname, Given Names.
740 0 $aTitle of related work or part.
* Some MARC fields have indicators. Here "1" means make a title added
entry; if there were no 1XX, the 1st indicator would be "0". The 2nd "4"
indicator means skip 4 spaces in filing, in this case T, h, e & space.
If the title had not begun without "A", "An", or "The" the 2nd indicator
would have been "0".
**The general material designation is used for nonbook material, e.g.,
Judith Hopkins has written:
"I think it important to distinguish between the MARC formats (and there
are more than one; in addition to the Bibliographic Format which is the
one we usually think of when we say MARC there is also the Authority
Format, the Holdings Format, the Classification Format, and the Community
Information Format) and the bibliographic data that we put into the MARC
Bibliographic format and the Authority format. The data and how it is
formulated is based on the various ISBDs, cataloging codes (usually
AACR2r in the English-speaking world), classification systems such as LCC
and Dewey, subject heading authority lists such as LCSH, MeSH, etc. We
had catalogs (in book form, card form, microform, etc.) based on these
systems and codes long before we had MARC. The MARC formats are holders
into which we place the data.
"Also, in addition to the various MARC formats listed above there are
national, regional, and vendor-specific MARC formats. Earlier responses
to the list have already referred to some of these. There are USMARC,
CANMARC (now united in MARC 21), UKMARC, South African MARC, Australian
MARC, UNIMARC, OCLC MARC, RLIN-MARC. While each of these is somewhat
different from the others they all have the following in common: their
structure is based on international standards: ANSI Z39.2 and ISO 2709.
"While the various MARCs were designed as communication structures many
(most?) organizations and vendors use modifications of MARC as internal
"Be careful to distinguish among the various online catalog functions
that the MARC formats make possible: indexing, searching, display. For
example, a title index in one library may index 130, 240, 245, 246, x40,
x30 fields and within fields perhaps subfields a, b, n, and p. Another
library may not include the 130 field and might include different
subfields. What is important is that the choices are made in terms of
the MARC structure; as an earlier respondent pointed out, the MARC
content tags serve as a convenient shorthand to represent various
bibliographic elements and/or combinations of elements.
"Whatever fields and subfields are included in the title index,
different subfields (e.g., all defined for the relevant fields) may be
displayed in the output. How the display looks on the screen (MARC
order, card format, labelled, etc.) is irrelevant; all three displays
are based on the same MARC record. So, if you like/dislike a particular
library's output display of records that has nothing to do with liking
or disliking MARC. What MARC provides is the shorthand way of defining
what is displayed (e.g., a personal name field consists of the contents
of the x00 fields and, usually, all the subfields they contain.); the
Title Proper and Statement of Responsibility Area consists of the 245
field and subfields a,b,and c in that order).