DATE: December 1, 1995

NAME: Definition of Existing Bibliographic Data Elements in the Community Information Format

SOURCE: NWOET Foundation; Queens Borough Public Library

SUMMARY: This proposal suggests defining field 658 (Index Term-- Curriculum Objective) and field 856 (Electronic Location and Access) in the USMARC Community Information Format. It also recommends a new procedure for the across-format adoptions of data elements when no changes to the elements are required.

KEYWORDS: Across-Format Adoption Procedure; Curriculum Objective; Electronic Location and Access; Field 658 (Community Information); Field 856 (Community Information)



12/1/95 - Forwarded to the USMARC Advisory Group for discussion at the January 1996 MARBI meetings.

1/21/96 - Results of USMARC Advisory Group discussion - Approved.
The procedure for incorporating an existing field exactly as is in one format into another is:

  1. Receive proposal
  2. Issue a notice of intent to propagate on USMARC list
  3. Allow six weeks for responses
  4. If any changes to the field are needed, proposal prepared for next MARBI meeting
  5. If no changes are needed, a technical notice is issued with 90 days until implementation
  6. New field is published with next format update.

2/15/96 - Results of final LC review - Agreed with the MARBI decisions.

PROPOSAL NO. 96-6: Definition of Existing Bibliographic Data Elements


Primarily, this proposal suggests defining two fields in the
USMARC Format for Community Information exactly as they are
already defined in the USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data.  It
follows by just two years the definition of these data elements
in the Bibliographic format.  As the adoption of new data
elements from one format to another within a short span of time
becomes commonplace, this proposal also suggests a new procedure
by which the definition of new data elements by adoption could
avoid the delays of the MARBI discussion paper and proposal


The USMARC Format for Community Information (CIF) has been used
for three years after having been published as a provisional
format in 1992.  As with any of the USMARC formats, use has
revealed a few problems, some of which have already been dealt
with in other proposals (e.g., 95-7 Change of tag 301 to 307 in
the USMARC Format for Community Information).  One of the
shortcoming brought to MARBI's attention by CIF users recently
was the failure to define field 658 (Index TermūCurriculum
Objective) and field 856 (Electronic Location and Access) in the
CIF at the same time they were defined in the USMARC
Bibliographic format.  The USMARC Bibliographic and Community
Information formats have always had a lot in common.  Initial
drafts of the CIF treated community information records as
falling within the scope of the bibliographic format since many
of the bibliographic data elements were needed.  It was only late
in the process of defining new data elements specifically for
community information records that MARBI recommended that the CIF
be developed as a separate format.  At that time a decision was
made to carry over intact as many USMARC bibliographic data
elements as were needed.  This was done primarily at the field
level.  A principle was thereby reaffirmed that when different
formats share data elements, those data elements should be
defined the same, as much as is possible.  The principle already
had precedents in the other USMARC formats.

Field 658

The need for field 658 in the CIF results from the recent growth
in community information control in school systems.  Events,
programs, and services have played an important role in the
learning process.  Librarians in many states are now creating
community information records to provide educators with
information about resources available to support various
curricula.  It is the desire to record curriculum objectives in
community information records that resulted in several written
requests to have field 658 defined in CIF as well.  The
requirements for CIF records are the same as those for the
bibliographic format users.  In most cases, the same thesauri can
even be used.  A request to validate existing USMARC source codes
for use in the CIF for thesauri identified in field 658 should be
considered part of this proposal.  Although treated as different
record types, CIF users consider bibliographic and community
information resources to work together in terms of their support
for educators.  They are still investigating whether there are
other bibliographic data elements which they need to use in CIF

Field 856

The growth of the Internet and the provision of high-tech
documentation such as World Wide Web home pages has also led to
the need to define field 856 in the CIF.  Although electronic
location and access information in CIF records does not have the
exact same relationship to information in field 245 as field 856
data has to items identified in the bibliographic field 245, the
Universal Resource Locator (URL) related electronic access
information have become part of community information too. 
Investigation into the requirements for electronic location and
access information in CIF records has revealed the need to record
essentially the same pieces of information as is done in records
for bibliographic items.  Even though some field 856 data
elements appear to be slightly redundant (for example, the CIF
already uses field 307 (Hours) which could be confused with the
use of subfield $v (Hours access method available) in field 856),
there seems to be justification for defining all field 856 data
elements in the CIF.

New Across-Format Adoption Procedure

For the moment, with the exception of the new data element
described in proposal 96-05 (Enhancements to field 007 in the
Community Information Format), no additional data elements are
needed in the CIF.  It is likely, however, that other data
elements from the Bibliographic format will be needed in the
future.  Bibliographic field 655 (Index TermūGenre/Form) could
easily be the next data element needed if in the future CIF users
wish to record genre/form terms applicable to events, programs,
and services.  In light of that and similar possibilities, it
would be useful to simplify the adoption process.

The process of preliminary discussion, consensus building, and
approval of MARC Advisory Group proposals for entirely new data
elements is very valuable.  During this process various options
are considered for meeting the needs of USMARC format users.  The
optimum "MARC" technique for dealing with data encoding
requirements is found and the result is often a new USMARC data
element.  New data elements are then implemented in thousands of
systems.  A procedure to simplify the processing of "adoption"
changes with respect for existing data elements would be very
limited.  It would only apply to cases where a data element could
be "adopted" by a different format with out changes to the tag,
indicators, subfield codes, or other encoding-related aspects. 
Any changes to these (such as the addition of a new subfield)
would require the normal MARC Advisory Group process.  "Adopted"
data elements would still be required to be published in an
update to the affected format(s) before being implemented; that
is, implementation would still be government by the usual process
of a 90-day period after official notice before implementation
and use by anyone.  The avantages of this are twofold.  MARC
Advisory Group would be spared the time-consuming and mechanical
process of approving data element adoptions between the growing
family of USMARC formats.  Secondly, the definition of existing
data elements in other formats would be delayed only by the
publication schedule of format updates and official notices of


The following is presented for consideration:

     --    Define field 658 (Index TermūCurriculum Objective) in
           the USMARC Format for Community Information exactly as
           it is defined in the USMARC Format for Bibliographic
           Data.  Also validate USMARC codes defined for use in
           the Bibliographic format for use in the CIF.

3.  PROPOSED CHANGES (continued)

     --    Define field 856 (Electronic Location and Access) in
           the USMARC Format for Community Information exactly as
           it is defined in the USMARC Format for Bibliographic

     --    Establish the principle to be used in maintaining the
           USMARC formats whereby the definition of an existing
           USMARC data element in a different format can be done
           with notification and not require a discussion paper or
           proposal, providing the data element is not changed in
           anyway from the way it is defined in the format from
           which it is taken and no other negative impact would

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