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MARC DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 2006-DP06

DATE: May 31, 2006
REVISED:

NAME: Defining separate subfields for language codes of Summaries/Abstracts and Subtitles/Captions in field 041 of the MARC 21 Bibliographic format

SOURCE: Online Audiovisual Catalogers, Inc (OLAC)

SUMMARY: Currently, the language codes of summaries, abstracts, subtitles and captions are all contained in subfield $b of field 041 (Language code) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic format. At the June 2005 MARBI meeting, however, it was pointed out that coding the language of summaries and abstracts in the same subfield as the language of subtitles and captions provided ambiguous language information.

KEYWORDS: Field 041 (BD), Subfield $b, in field 041 (BD), Language codes (BD), Summaries (BD), Abstracts (BD), Subtitles (BD), Captions (BD)

RELATED: Proposal No. 2005-07 (June 2005)

STATUS/COMMENTS:

05/31/06 - Made available to the MARC 21 community for discussion.

06/24/06 - Results of the MARC Advisory Committee discussion - The participants agreed that a change to the definition of field 041 subfield $b needs to be made to differentiate summaries and abstracts from subtitles and captions. They favored redefining subfield $b as "Language code of summary or abstract" and defining a new subfield for "Language code of subtitle or caption" because the vast majority of MARC records contain language codes for summaries and abstracts.


Discussion Paper 2006-DP06: Defining subfields for languages of summaries, abstracts, subtitles and captions

1. BACKGROUND

Proposal No. 2005-07 (June 2005) proposed changing the coding convention of field 041 (Language code) subfield $b (Language code of summary or abstract/overprinted title or subtitle) for audiovisual materials by removing the specification that it was only used if the subtitles were different from the language of the soundtrack (which was specified in 008/35-37). It also proposed changing the description of subtitles to clarify that captions are also covered in the definition of subfield $b. The paper was approved and subfield $b was renamed, "Language code of summary, abstract, or subtitles."

During the discussion of Proposal No. 2005-07 (June 2005), it was noted, however, that coding the language of summaries and abstracts in the same subfield as the language of subtitles and captions provided ambiguous language information. For example, it was not clear whether the language in 041 $b for a moving image item referred to the subtitles/captions or to the language of a summary that might appear on the container or elsewhere on the item.

Prior to format integration, field 041 $b had been coded for language of summary or abstract in the Books, Music, Serials, and Machine-Readable Data Files formats and for language of subtitles in the Visual Materials format. At the time of format integration, it was decided that the different format definitions of field 041 subfield $b were compatible and thus, the decision was made to leave them in 041 $b after format integration.

2. DISCUSSION

During the discussion of Proposal No. 2005-07 (June 2005), several participants maintained that because captions and subtitles serve different purposes than summaries and abstracts, captions and subtitles should be coded in a new subfield. Doing this would eliminate coding ambiguity, thus, making the data more useful for processing and searching. It would also be easier for catalogers to understand how to code language information.

It was, however, noted that retrospective records would continue to contain both summaries and captions in the same subfield since it would not be possible to ensure that all relevant records are updated to move the subtitle/caption language designations to a new subfield. The most likely manipulation of the data in subfield $b for subtitles/captions would be to simply take all instances of subfield $b in moving image records, presume that they are for subtitles/captions, and transfer them to the new subfield. However, field 041 $b may continue to have a mixture of caption and summary information for moving image material.

OLAC would also like to consider making subfield $b obsolete and then define two new subfields in field 041 (Language code): one for "Language code of summary or abstract" and one for "Language code of subtitle or caption."

3. QUESTIONS

1.) Does a change to the definition of field 041 subfield $b need to be made?

2.) Does coding the language of summaries and abstracts in the same subfield as the language of subtitles and captions provide ambiguous language information?

3.) Is it costly for library systems to redefine field 041 subfield $b as "Language code of summary or abstract" and define a new subfield for "Language code of subtitle or caption"? Would doing this also improve record retrieval possibilities?

4.) Would the best solution be to make field 041 subfield $b obsolete and define two new subfields in field 041? Would doing this be costly?


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