DATE: February 2, 1995
NAME: Changes to the form of the Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN)
SOURCE: Library of Congress
SUMMARY: This paper discusses the change being planned by the Library of Congress to change the LCCN to avoid duplication of numbers in 1998 and future years.
KEYWORDS: Field 010 (Library of Congress Control Number)
2/95 - Sent to USMARC for comment. Copies taken to the USMARC Advisory Group meeting February 4 for distribution and comment.
DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 84: Changes to the Form of LCCNs INTRODUCTION This paper discussions options that the Library of Congress is considering to handle uniqueness of LCCNs as they enter their 2nd century of numbers. LCCNs are the control numbers used for bibliographic and authority records distributed by LC. LCCNs were first known as Library of Congress Card Numbers and were used to identify and control cards, which were first printed in 1898 and first distributed in 1901. The earliest card numbers date from 1898. With the inception of the development of the MARC format and the first distribution of machine-readable records for book materials in the late 1960s, the meaning of LCCN was changed to Library of Congress Control Number. CURRENT FORM OF LCCN Currently, the LCCN is structured as follows: Alphabetic prefix 3 00-02 Year 2 03-04 Serial number 6 05-10 Supplement number 1 11 The uniqueness of the LCCN is currently determined by the first 11 digits. The Library of Congress has never implemented the Supplement number concept; this position is always blank. Upon distribution, LCCNs, may also include a variable length alphanumeris suffix. The suffix information does not affect the uniqueness of the LCCN. Examples: ###94089743# ###75003456#/AC/r76 ###78604692#//r81 fi#68003409# PROBLEM With the occurrence of the year 1998, there is a need to avoid duplication of numbers assigned in 1898. Within the Library of Congress various technical solution are being considered that will avoid duplication of any numbers within the current databases. LC is considering several approaches to the external view of the LCCN so that it will continue to be useful to agencies that load LC records. OPTIONS UNDER CONSIDERATION 1. Avoid numbers already used. Internally the Library may simply avoid duplication by checking new numbers against the ones already in the file for the year prefix (e,g, for 98, 99, 00, etc.) and assign a number that has not been used. This will avoid duplicates within the scope of the Library's databases. The Library is currently considering whether the scope of this technical approach is enough, since it could be that some of the early LCCNs are not represented in the current LC database. If this technical solution is followed internally, the structure of the number could remain the same, at least for a large number of years. The century associated with the number will not be apparent with this approach. 2. Expand year. Expand the length of the LCCN by expanding the two-digit year to a four-digit year. Under this approach, the new LCCN structure would be: Alphabetic prefix 3 00-02 Year 4 03-06 Serial number 6 07-12 Supplement number 1 13 3. Use position 11. Redesign the use of the Supplement number position to be a Century designation which would use a letter of the alphabet to denote the first two-digits of a four-digit year. Under this approach, the new LCCN structure would be: Alphabetic prefix 3 00-02 Year 2 03-04 Serial number 6 05-10 Century designation 1 11 Current thinking suggests that the Century designation would be an alphabetic, perhaps defined as follows: # = 18 or 19 (i.e., as now) c = 20 COMMENTS While the LCCN is a local data element, it is known to be widely used. It is certain that the Library will need to change its internal processing to handle the 2nd century of assignments of this number. To assist the Library in determining which is the best option to pursue, LC would be interested in comments on the user impacts of the various options. Please send comments to [email protected] or to [email protected]