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DATE: May 17, 2010

NAME: Addition of Subfield $u to Field 561 (Ownership and Custodial History) to the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Holdings Formats


SUMMARY: This paper proposes the addition of subfield $u (Uniform Resource Identifier) in field 561 to link to information about the provenance (ownership and custodial history) of a resource.

KEYWORDS: Field 561 (BD, HD); Ownership and Custodial History (BD, HD); Subfield $u, in field 561 (BD, HD); Uniform Resource Identifier (BD, HD)


5/17/10 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

6/26/10 – Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: Approved. Subfield $u will be repeatable.

08/26/10 - Results of LC/LAC/BL review - Agreed with the MARBI decision.

Proposal No. 2010-09: Addition of Subfield $u to Field 561


Over the years the MARC Advisory Committee has added subfield $u to a number of fields in the formats to link to outside sources available online. URI subfields have been defined when records can be enhanced by making an outside link to a web resource that includes data appropriate to a defined MARC field. Using subfield $u facilitates maintaining current information (it is more efficient to update the linked data than numerous bibliographic records) and it helps control the size of the record. In the note fields of the bibliographic format, for instance, the following fields contain a subfield $u for a URI:

OCLC has an immediate need for the subfield to accommodate data in the Heritage of the Printed Book database that now resides at OCLC.


Field 561 contains information concerning the ownership and custodial history of the described materials from the time of their creation to the time of their accessioning, including the time at which individual items or groups of items were first brought together in their current arrangement or collation.

The field is defined as follows:

Provenance information about a resource, such as information about names and addresses of prior ownership, original locations of ownership, etc. may be quite extensive. The information may be available electronically outside of the resource itself. Thus, it is appropriate to provide a link to an external source and subfield $u has been defined in many other fields for this purpose. Field 561 is available in both the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Holdings Formats.


In the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Holdings formats in field 561 (Ownership and Custodial History Note):

Define $u (Uniform Resource Identifier) as follows:
Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), for example a URL or URN, which provides electronic access data in a standard syntax. The data that is accessed by the URI contains additional information about ownership and custodial history.

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