PROPOSAL NO.: 2001-04

DATE: May 7, 2001

NAME: Making Field 260 Repeatable in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: Cooperative Online Serials Program (CONSER); ISSN International Centre

SUMMARY: This paper proposes that Field 260 "Publication, Distribution, etc. (Imprint)" be made repeatable to accommodate both current and historical publishing information and to provide better access to this information for database managers and library system users. It also proposes definition of subfield $3 "Materials specified."

KEYWORDS: Field 260 (BD); Publication, Distribution, Etc. (Imprint) (BD)

RELATED: DP114 (June 1999), DP119 (May 2000)


05/07/01 - Made available to the MARC 21 community for discussion.

06/16/01 - Results of the MARC Advisory Committee discussion - Approved as amended.
Participants agreed to change the order of the first indicator values to: # (Not applicable/No information provided/Earliest available publisher); 2 (Intervening publisher); 3 (Current/latest publisher) so that display may be chronological. They also felt that the name of the first indicator, value 3 should be changed to "Current/latest publisher" to account for both monographic and serial dates. Participants agreed that there should only be one field 260 with subfield $c data and only one with value # in the first indicator position.

08/07/01 - Results of LC/NLC review - Agreed with the MARBI decisions.

PROPOSAL NO. 2001-04: Making field 260 repeatable


Field 260 is currently defined as not repeatable. This proposal would make field 260 repeatable for resources that change over time so that both earliest, current, and, if desired, intervening publishing information could be included in the record. Resources that change over time include multipart monographs, serials, and the newly-defined AACR category of integrating resources. An integrating resource is a bibliographic resource that is added to or changed by means of updates that do not remain discrete and are integrated into the whole. Integrating resources include databases, Web sites, and updating loose-leafs. Repeatability of field 260 is not intended for multiple versions of a work published by different publishers.

The publishing statement is particularly important for resources that change over time. The earliest place and publisher is important both for resource identification and for record identification because other data in records for continuing resources–including the title–is subject to change. The presence of stable data is critical for machine matching, duplicate detection, and union listing in shared catalogs. However, the current place and publisher are important to acquisitions librarians for ordering and claiming serials and to reference librarians dealing with citations to current articles. At present, current place and publisher for serials and multiparts are provided only in unstructured notes, making display and retrieval of current publishing information problematic at best. Because of the ISSN's role in identification, ISSN records require the current publisher in field 260. This has been impossible for the U.S. ISSN center to provide because current publisher information cannot be reliably retrieved from general 500 notes.

During discussions preceding the recently-completed revision of rules for continuing resources, it became apparent that there was a need to provide both the earliest and the most current publishing information. Certain communities (those cataloging rare serials and updating loose-leafs) also wanted the ability to provide intervening publishers as well. It is recognized that some communities will want or need more data than others and this proposal attempts to accommodate differing user needs.

AACR2 calls for the earliest place and publisher to be given in the publishing statement for serials and multipart monographs. Forthcoming AACR rules for describing integrating resources will call for the most current place and publisher to be given in the publishing statement. One of the challenges of this proposal has been to accommodate the fact that these different types of continuing resources have opposite rules for recording publishing information. While there has been much discussion about the need for both earliest and current data, attempts to add provisions for multiple publisher statements to AACR failed because of the complexities of representing multiple places, publishers and dates over time within AACR's body of the description. The Joint Steering Committee for the Revision of AACR suggested that a solution might be for MARC 21 to define a repeatable 260 field.

Discussion papers 114 and 119 discussed the use of a repeatable 260 field. The discussions raised issues of how the fields would display for monographs and loose-leafs, whether this information would replace a note or display as a block of publishing information, and how the proposal would fit with the cataloging code. This paper proposes solutions for those concerns, covering all types of continuing resources as well as multipart monographs.

At present, all records contain only a single 260 field. This field contains the earliest publishing data in records for serials and multipart monographs; it contains the most current publishing data in records for integrating resources.



Both indicator values are currently undefined but both were previously defined. Prior to format integration, the first indicator was coded to indicate whether the publisher, distributor, etc. was present in the record (in books, maps, music, and serials formats). Indicator values of 0 and 1 were used in the past and are now obsolete and therefore, cannot be reused. This proposal defines a first indicator, redefines code blank, and adds values 2-3 as follows:

3.1. First indicator Sequence of publishers, distributors, etc.

# - No information provided/Earliest publisher, distributor, etc.
2 - Current publisher
3 - Intervening publisher

# - No information provided/Earliest publisher, distributor, etc. - Value blank (#) is used when a resource is first cataloged. Information given in value # is not changed (unless incorrect or earlier issues of a serial are later available with differing publishing information). For monographic works that are complete as first issued, value # would be used and defined as "no information provided."

2 - Current publisher - When the publisher changes, or when the place of publication associated with the earliest publisher changes, the current publishing statement may be added with first indicator value 2. Data given in a subsequent publishing statement can be changed to reflect the current information when only the earliest and most current data is needed.

3 - Intervening publisher - When the publisher changes, or when the place of publication changes, additional publishing statements between the earliest and latest may be recorded with first indicator value 3.

3.2. Discussion

This proposal attempts to find the simplest solution to the challenges posed by the cataloging rules, user needs for both earliest and most current publishing information, and the desire for flexibility in how much information to record. Under this proposal, those creating the data have the option of giving complete publishing information in multiple statements, or updating the publisher information to reflect current data. In this way, the earliest data remains constant and can always be identified by the first indicator value blank. This proposal has also attempted to provide the simplest solution to providing computer access and display to both earliest and most current publishing information: in records where there are no subsequent 260 fields, a determination can be made that the information in the single 260 is both the earliest publisher and the current publisher. If there are intervening statements, the field with the first indicator value 2 is the current publisher.

No wholesale conversion of legacy records would be necessary. But some problems of record interpretation will occur with legacy records. When a record contains a single 260 field, according to this proposal, the data would be interpreted to represent both the earliest and the current publishing data. However, in legacy records for serials and multiparts, a single 260 field will provide the earliest publishing statement. Subsequent publishing information might be in a 500 note. In records for integrating resources, a single 260 field represents information about the current publisher. If this proposal is implemented, catalogers would have the ability to add the current publisher of serials and multi-parts into a subsequent 260 field when the record is handled again by a cataloger. For integrating resources, there may be no need to add the earlier publisher, as the current is most important. While code blank is defined as the earliest publisher, the lack of a subsequent 260 field with a higher value in legacy records for integrating resources would indicate that this information is also the most current.

Because resources such as serials may be published over many years with multiple changes of publisher and place, it may not be desirable or feasible to give every publisher. Thus, use of intervening publisher statements should be optional. However, certain communities of users could decide to give complete publishing statements in their records. For example, the rare book community might decide to give all publishing statements, while CONSER could opt to give only the earliest and current data. In the latter case, the 260 field with first indicator value 2 could be changed, as there is no requirement that this data remain stable.


4.1. Place of publication, distribution, etc. (subfield $a)

Subfield $a is currently defined as repeatable. The place is where the offices of the publisher are located. Subfield $a is currently repeated when a publisher is located in two or more places that are recorded in the record, or when there is a distributor statement that contains a different place from the place of publication.

The place of publication is an important identifying element for many resources and it is often used in qualifiers of uniform titles for serials. For that reason, the first place of publication must be retained in the record. The current place is also useful for identification and acquisitions needs but because multiple places in a single 260 field can be given for reasons other than change of place over time, the use of a subsequent 260 field for the first change of place seems a better approach.

If the place of publication changes, but the publisher does not, give a subsequent publishing statement.

260 ## $a Paris ; $a New York : $b Vogue, $c 1964-
260 2# $3 1980- $a London : $b Vogue
260 ## $a Beltsville, MD : $b National Agriculture Library ; $a Washington, D.C. : $b For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O., $c 1989-
260 2# $3 1998- $a Washington, D.C. : $b National Agriculture Library : $b For sale by the Supt. of Docs., U.S. G.P.O.

If the publisher later changes, a third statement may be added, or the second publishing statement may be changed, depending on desired practice.

260 ## $a Paris ; $a New York : $b Vogue, $c 1964-
260 3# $3 1980-May 1993 $a London : $b Vogue
260 2# $3 June 1993- $a London : $b Elle
260 ## $a Paris ; $a New York : $b Vogue, $c 1964-
260 2# $3 June 1993- $a London : $b Elle

4.2. Dates (subfields $c and $3)

The earliest date of publication and the final date of publication (when the resource has ceased) are given in subfield $c. Making field 260 repeatable raises the question of whether each publishing statement should have its own subfield $c, or whether there should continue to be a single inclusive set of dates. This proposal prefers the latter solution and proposes that subfield $3 (Materials specified) be used to differentiate the multiple statements. This decision was made for the following reasons:

  1. No single statement of beginning/ending dates of publication. If the publishing dates associated with each publisher are given with that publisher statement, there will be no single statement of the first and last date, as currently exists, except in the fixed field. (Current practice for serials, however, is to use the dates of coverage in the fixed fields, not the dates of publication. This is a matter for further discussion.)
  2. Dates are not given/not known. The date(s) of publication is transcribed from the item, according to AACR2. Thus, for serials, the date of publication is not given when the cataloging is not based on the first or last issue according to current CONSER practice (and in the future, according to AACR2).

    260 ## $a Washington, D.C. : $b Bureau of the Census,

  3. Intervening publishers are not given. A further problem would be encountered if intervening publishers are omitted from the record, along with their associated dates. This would result in gaps in the dates of publication. Displays which lack intervening publishers will be confusing to users because the dates will not make sense.

    260 ## $a Paris ; $a New York : $b Vogue, $c 1964-1984
    260 2# $a London : $b Elle, $c 1991-

4.3. Proposal: Define subfield $3 (Materials specified) to be used in field 260

Use of subfield $3 is preferable because it is not based on transcription, has the same appearance as notes, and eliminates problems associated with intervening publishers.

260 ## $a Paris : $b Gauthier-Villars ; $a Chicago : $b University of Chicago Press, $c 1955-2002.
260 2# $3 2000?-2002 $a New York : $b Columbia University Press


This proposal allows flexibility in how library systems display the data. They could opt to display all publishing data, or only a part of it. It would also be possible to display data according to AACR2 rules if a new bibliographic level code is defined for integrating resources (see Proposal No. 2001-05).

Additionally, all publishing statements could display in a block of publishing data or subsequent publishing statement could display as a note. This would keep new and legacy records displaying in a similar fashion. This would work nicely for serials and multiparts, but not as well for integrating, where the current publisher is supposed to display in the publishing statement, with earlier publishers given in the note. For integrating resources, it would be better to display all information in a block of publishing data.

Examples of displays:
[Note: the following examples could be serials, multiparts, or integrating resources]

  1. Intervening publishers given, all publishing statements displayed:

    Publisher: London : Hudson, 1988-2002
      1999-2000: London : Watson Bros.
      2001- 2002: Bristol, Eng. : Thomas and Sons, Ltd.

  2. Intervening publishers not given

    Publisher: New York : Columbia University Press, 1997-
    2001- New York : New York University Press

  3. Subsequent publishers display as note

    Publisher: Washington, D.C. : Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Census, Statistics Branch, 1977-
    Publishing note: 1980?-1992: Washington, D.C. : Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Statistical Reporting Division ; 1993- Washington, D.C. : Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Reports Branch.


In field 260 (Publication, Distribution, Etc. (Imprint) of the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format:

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