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MARC DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 2013-DP02

DATE: December 20, 2012
REVISED:

NAME: Defining Subfields for Qualifiers to Standard Identifiers in the MARC 21 Bibliographic, Authority, and Holdings Formats

SOURCE: Library of Congress (LC), Canadian Committee on MARC (CCM)

SUMMARY: This paper discusses the addition of subfield $q (Qualifying information) to field 020 (International Standard Book Number), field 022 (International Standard Serial Number), field 024 (Other Standard Identifier) and field 027 (Standard Technical Report Number) to accommodate qualifiers to the standard identifiers recorded in those fields. 

KEYWORDS: Field 020 (BD, AD, HD); International Standard Book Number (BD, AD, HD); Field 022 (BD, AD, HD); International Standard Serial Number (BD, AD, HD); Field 024 (BD, AD, HD); Other Standard Identifier (BD, AD, HD); Field 027 (BD, HD); Standard Technical Report Number (BD, HD); Identifiers (BD, AD, HD)

RELATED: 2012-06

STATUS/COMMENTS:
12/20/12 - Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

01/26/13 – Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: 1) Due to a lack of consensus from various voices on the Committee and within the MARC community about how/if field 022 should incorporate qualifying information and whether it should be repeatable, the decision was made to drop 022 from the discussion. A possible paper solely focusing on 022 may be revisited in the future if the community feels there is a need for it. 2) Include field 015 in the list of standard identifiers to be considered. 3) Bring back this paper as a proposal for ALA Annual 2013 to define a subfield $q in fields that contain non-separate subfielding for qualifying information: 015, 020, 024, and 027.


Discussion Paper No. 2013-DP02: Defining Subfields for Qualifiers to Standard Identifiers

1. BACKGROUND

In June 2012 MARBI approved Proposal 2012-06, which defined subfield $q (Qualifying information) in Field 028 (Publisher Number) in the MARC Bibliographic format.  Subfield $q was approved to enable recording qualifications for the identifiers in $a when the resource bears more than one identifier of the same type or when identifiers for parts of the resource are recorded. At the time of the decision there was consensus that other identifier fields be analyzed to see if separate subfielding would be equally useful for them.  Identifiers for manifestations covered by the RDA instructions include: International Standard Book Numbers (ISBN), which are encoded in field 020; International Standard Serial Numbers (ISSN), which are encoded in field 022; and other standard identifiers (e.g. Uniform Resource Number (URN), International Standard Music Number (ISMN), etc.), which are encoded in field 024 of the MARC Bibliographic, Authority, and Holdings Formats.  Though existing subfields in fields 020 and 024 contain language that allows recording parenthetical qualifying information (even if those subfields were not solely defined for that purpose), fields 022 (ISSN) and 027 (Standard Technical Report Number) contain no such content designation for that allowance. Field 027 was added to the analysis as another field that may benefit from adding subfield $q.

2. DISCUSSION

2.1. Field 020 is currently defined in the Bibliographic Format as follows:

Existing content designation does not support recording qualification such as paperback, hardcover, microfiche, etc. in a separate subfield in field 020. Current practice is to include any parenthetical qualifying information in subfield $a, which is currently defined as follows:

$a - International Standard Book Number (NR)
Valid ISBN and any parenthetical qualifying information [emphasis added], such as the             publisher/distributor, binding/format, and volume numbers. ISBN and the embedded hyphens may be generated for display.

Current practice allows for adding parenthetical qualifying information after the ISBN number in subfield $a.  Machine matching of ISBNs is currently challenging because subfield $a could contain both numerical and textual information. Machine matching could be improved and be simpler to implement if the actual standard number is encoded separately from the qualifying information. Validation of the ISBN would also be easier to program. It would be more efficient if a subfield were defined for the purpose of recording qualification.

In addition, the improved granularity this offers is consistent with the desire to provide explicit coding for data elements defined independently in RDA.

The following examples show the differences in approach:

Example 1:

Current Practice:

020 ## $a0394502884 (Random House) :$c$12.50
020 ## $a0394170660 (Random House : pbk.) :$c$4.95

Proposed Practice:

020 ## $a0394502884$q(Random House)$c$12.50
020 ## $a0394170660$q(Random House : pbk.)$c$4.95

Example 2:

Current Practice:

020 ## $a0456789012 (reel 1)
020 ## $z0567890123 (reel 2)

Proposed Practice:

020 ##$a0456789012$q(reel 1)
020 ##$z0567890123$q(reel 2)

Example 3:

Current Practice:

020 ##$a0491001304
020 ##$a9780060723804 (acid-free paper)
020 ##$a9780060799748 (trade)
020 ##$a0717941728 (folded) :$c$0.45
020 ##$a0914378260 (pbk. : v. 1) :$c$5.00
020 ##$a0394502884 (Random House) :$c$12.50

Proposed Practice:

020 ##$a0491001304
020 ##$a9780060723804$q(acid-free paper)
020 ##$a9780060799748$q(trade)
020 ##$a0717941728$q(folded)$c$0.45
020 ##$a0914378260$q(pbk. : v. 1)$c$5.00
020 ##$a0394502884$q(Random House)$c$12.50

2.2. Field 022 is currently defined in the Bibliographic Format as follows:

Although field 022 is repeatable in the MARC format, it has been long-standing CONSER practice to not repeat the field.  In general, only one ISSN is appropriate for the resource described in each bibliographic record and any needed format qualification is done in the field 222 $b, the qualifier added to the key title to make it unique. However, the instruction in RDA 2.15 to record multiple identifiers borne by the resource and distinguish them with qualifiers has led to questions about how to record the multiple ISSNs that resources increasingly bear.

Current practice is to record identifiers for formats other than the one described on the record in 022 $y, (Incorrect ISSN).  Any qualifiers for the $y ISSN would need to follow the ISSN in the same $y, perhaps parenthetically as is done in the 020 (ISBN) field.  Field 022 $y is also currently used as  a catch-all subfield to provide access for variety of correct ISSNs such as those for other formats of the resource or for an entirely different resource, and for incorrect ISSNs such as ISSNs with incorrect check digits or incorrect number of digits.  Another current use of 022 $y is to contain an ISSN that a non-U.S. ISSN center has assigned to what a CONSER library has regarded as a minor change of title, so no new record was required.

Repeating field 022 with the addition of a qualifier in $q might provide potential benefits.  In the above case of a minor change of title, being able to repeat field 022 and add a date or date span qualifier in $q to indicate the part of the resource to which the ISSN applies would provide for better recording and access via ISSN of the ISSN appropriate to the resource.   It would also allow for recording and qualifying the multiple manifestation identifiers instructed in RDA 2.15.  It would allow any correct ISSN now recorded in 022 $y to be recorded in $a of a repeating 022 with its qualifier.

However, repeating field 022 also has significant potential downsides, chief among them great potential for confusion and misuse.  It is crucial for records used to document ISSN assignments—as is the case for serial records in many national libraries—to be as clear and unambiguous as possible concerning which ISSN is correct for the resource described on the record.  Field 022 can already be difficult to interpret, containing as it now does multiple subfields each with different types of ISSN (ISSN, ISSN-L, canceled ISSN-L, incorrect ISSN, canceled ISSN).  If $q were to be added to field 022 and the field was made repeatable in CONSER records, an indicator value would be needed to signify whether the ISSN in $a was for the resource described on the record or for another version of the resource so users, including the ISSN International Centre, could easily identify which ISSN was the correct ISSN for the resource described.  Additionally, there would be a need to be clearly defined circumstances under which the field could be repeated and the appropriate qualifiers to use in various circumstances.

2.3. Field 024 is currently defined in the Bibliographic Format as follows:

Existing content designation does not support recording qualification such as volume, part, score, etc. in a separate subfield in field 024. Current practice is to include any parenthetical qualifying information in subfield $c which is currently defined as follows:

$c - Terms of availability
Price or a brief statement of availability and any parenthetical qualifying information [emphasis added] pertaining to an item associated with a number being recorded in the field. Information is only recorded in this subfield when a number is present in subfield $a.

Subfield $c, however, also allows for the recording of price and/or a statement of availability.    For reasons similar to adding $q to field 020 (ISBN), it could be more efficient and improve granularity if the two types of additional information (obtaining and defining) were separated and a subfield were defined for the sole purpose of recording qualification.  The following example shows the difference in approach (illustrating a record with two ISMNs):

Current Practice:

024 2# $aM570406203$c(score : sewn) : EUR28.50
024 2# $aM570406210$c(parts : sewn)

Proposed Practice:

024 2#  $aM570406203$q(score : sewn)$cEUR28.50
024 2#  $aM570406210$q(parts : sewn)

2.4. Field 027 is currently defined in the Bibliographic Format as follows:

There is currently no content designation in field 027 that allows recording parenthetical qualifying information.  For reasons outlined above concerning fields 020 (ISBN) and 024 (Other Standard Identifier), defining a subfield ($q) in 027 for the sole purpose of recording qualification may improve efficiency and granularity.

3. QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

3.1.  What are the advantages of defining a new subfield for qualifying information (subfield $q) in field 020 (International Standard Book Number), field 022 (International Standard Serial Number), field 024 (Other Standard Identifier), and 027 (Standard Technical Report Number)?   What are the disadvantages?

3.2. If defined, would the subfield repeat for multiple qualifications to one number:  e.g. $q(parts : sewn) or $q(parts :$qsewn)?   (All of the above examples use only one $q.)

3.3. Would ISBD or RDA or other display punctuation or symbols be dropped: e.g. $a M570406210 $qparts $qsewn?  (All of the above examples include the display punctuation.)  Note that the punctuation was kept in the format examples using subfield $q when it was approved for field 028 (Publisher Number) in 2012.


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