The Library of Congress >> Especially for Librarians and Archivists >> Standards

MARC Standards

HOME >> MARC Development >> Proposals List


DATE: June 1, 2016

NAME: Designation of a Definition in the MARC 21 Authority format

SOURCE: German National Library

SUMMARY: This paper proposes a way of giving a definition in a MARC Authority record.

KEYWORDS: Definition (AD); Field 677 (AD)

RELATED: 2016-DP13

06/01/16 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

06/26/16 – Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: Approved, with the following amendments: 1) The definition of field 677 (Definition) will be amended to read: "The field contains a formal definition of the entity described in the record"; 2) The definition of subfield $a (Definition) will be: "A formal definition of the entity."; 3) Subfield $u (Uniform Resource Identifier) will be added.

08/10/16 - Results of MARC Steering Group review - Agreed with the MAC decision.

Proposal No. 2016-12: Designation of a Definition in the Authority Format


When four large authority files used in German speaking countries were merged into one "Integrated Authority File" ("Gemeinsame Normdatei" or "GND") in 2012, MARC 21 was chosen as the format for cataloging, with some additions and modifications, based on cataloging traditions in German speaking countries. On the level of the exchange format, librarians have encountered the use of several local fields and subfields. After three years of consolidation, these elements were evaluated to determine their potential appeal as part of the MARC 21 communication standard. The German National Library presented a series of discussion papers during the meetings of the MARC Advisory Committee in January 2016. Based on the valuable discussion, this proposal has been written and is now presented to the MARC Advisory Committee.


In MARC Authority records of the GND there is often information about the entity described by giving a brief definition, in the style of the first section of an article in a dictionary. This brief description is intended to be displayed to the end user, e.g. in a discovery system, so that a quick and easy way to identify the entity is available. Also in terms of Linked Library Data a brief definition of an entity is important.

Following the URIs in the fields 024 (with $2 "uri") of the example records, a catalog display of the DNB provided by the Permalink Resolver is visible which gives an impression of the style of display. The label "Erläuterungen", meaning explanation, is followed by the sublabel "Definition", as opposed to other types of notes.

An analysis of the fields in the 667-68X region of the MARC 21 Authority Format had shown that none of the fields there seemed to cover this type of information, at least not on the level of specificity that is kept in the GND. Field 680 (Public General Note) "[...] provides general information about a 1XX heading for which a specialized note field has not been defined [...]", sometimes containing usage instructions. Field 678 (Biographical or Historical Data) was analyzed as well, but seemed to be too narrow in scope, as not each of the GND definitions is biographical or historical.

During the discussion in the meeting of the MARC Advisory Committee in January 2016 it was noted that if a new field were designed, field number 677 was favored (668, as originally proposed in the Discussion Paper, could not be used because it had been defined earlier as "Note - Characters in Nonroman Alphabets", and was made obsolete later). The new field then should include additional subfields: $5 for "Institution to which field applies" and a subfield for the source of information, possibly $z.

Furthermore, the mentioned alternative means for inputting the definition data were discussed. Comments centered mainly on the suggestion that 680 (Public General Note) subfield $i (Explanatory text) could be used, or the 678 (Biographical or Historical Data) field, whose "Field Definition and Scope" says that 678 covers a "Summary of the essential biographical, historical, or other information about the 1XX heading [...]."

Exploring these alternative solutions, we studied the norm ISO 25964, "Thesauri and interoperability with other vocabularies", Part 1 "Thesauri for information retrieval". Here a specific element is designated for a definition. In section 6.2.3 "Definitions" ISO 25964-1 states:

"A full definition is not usually required to clarify the way in which a preferred term should be used. However, if a definition is required for another reason, a separate note field should be established for the definitions so that they do not become confused with any scope notes. The source of each definition should be recorded alongside the definition itself.



DEF      The style of pictorial art in which only the light and shade
              are represented (OED)

NOTE    "OED" refers to the Oxford English Dictionary ( Any such acronyms in thesaurus definitions or scope notes should be explained in the introduction to the thesaurus (see 13.4)."

The Definition element is visible in the data model provided by NISO, online at (in the lower right-hand corner), and in the XML schema, online at . Here, the element is named "Definition", itself defined as "A note giving definitions of a term, not necessarily limited to the scope of the concept labelled by the term in this thesaurus".

Further investigation shows that in the GND there are records already containing a combination of 678 and information in the form of a definition, or a combination of 680 and information in the form of a definition. It is the estimation that this level of specificity, based on ISO 25964, has to be kept in the GND, both in terms of the internal format and of the communication format MARC 21 Authority.

Regarding the suggested additional subfields, $5 may look like a valuable extension. It may contain information that an institution has provided definition information, according to its rules and policies.

For the subfield containing the source of information, either $z (as defined in fields 640 and 641) or $v (as defined in fields 046, 368, 371-376, 378 and 381) may be chosen. We prefer $v, as it is more widely used, in fields more recently defined. This suggestion reflects the ISO 25964-1 example given above, with its "(OED)" part.

It should be mentioned that as of now, neither of these two subfields are based on use cases in the GND context.

Thus, a new field is proposed here:

Field number:  677 - Definition (R)

Definition: The field contains information about the entity described in the record in form of a definition, e.g. according to ISO 25964-1.

First Indicator: # - Undefined

Second Indicator: # - Undefined

Subfield Codes:

$a - Definition (R)
A definition, a brief description of the entity

$v - Source of definition (R)
The source of the definition, i.e. a reference to the source from which the definition is quoted

$5 - Institution to which field applies (NR)
See description of this subfield in Appendix A: Control Subfields.



001 1100930477
024 7# $a$2uri
040 ## $aCH-IDSGNDS$9r:CH-IDSGNDS$bger$d9999
043 ## $cXE-PG
079 ## $ag$bs$c1$qs$uw$vsie
083 04 $z5$a9912$9t:2016-05-24$222/ger
150 ## $aKewa
450 ## $aKewapi
450 ## $aKewabe
670 ## $aLoC
677 ## $aVolk in Papua-Neuguinea


001 968633374
024 7# $a$2uri
040 ## $aDE-101$9r:DE-101$bger$d1250
079 ## $ag$bs$c1$qs$uw$vsaz
083 04 $a929.81$9d:2$9t:2012-05-31$222/ger
150 ## $aTrophäe
667 ## $aKein sinnvoller OB möglich
670 ## $aB 1996
677 ## $aAllgemein Zeichen des Erfolgs, des Sieges
680 ## $aFür Zeichen des Sieges in einem Krieg verwende Trophäe <Siegeszeichen>


001 1033885983
024 7# $a$2uri
040 ## $aDE-101$9r:DE-101$bger$d1250
079 ## $ag$bs$c1$qs$vsaz
150 ## $aPatristiker
450 ## $aPatrologe
550 ## $0(uri) $aTheologe$94:obge$wr$iOberbegriff generisch
550 ## $0(uri) $aPatristik$94:vbal$wr$iVerwandter Begriff
550 ## $0(uri) $aPatristikerin$94:vbal$wr$iVerwandter Begriff
670 ## $aTRE unter Patristik
677 ## $aErforscher der christlichen Theologie und Philosophie des Altertums
680 ## $aNicht für die christlichen Theologen des Altertums selbst; für diese verwende Kirchenväter bzw. Kirchenschriftsteller


001 040229300
024 7# $a$2uri
040 ## $aDE-101$9r:DE-101$bger$d8999
079 ## $ag$bs$c1$qs$uw$uz$uo$vsaz
083 04 $a235.2$9d:2$9t:2011-05-28$222/ger
150 ## $aHagiografie
450 ## $aHagiographie
450 ## $aHagiologie
550 ## $0(uri) $aHeiligenvita$94:vbal$wr$iVerwandter Begriff
550 ## $0(uri) $aHagiograf$94:vbal$wr$iVerwandter Begriff
550 ## $0(uri) $aHagiografin$94:vbal$wr$iVerwandter Begriff
667 ## $aRechtschreibkorrektur gemäß Duden-Empfehlung (Juni 2015)
670 ## $aB 1986
670 ## $aLThK
670 ## $aWilpert
677 ## $aErbauliche Beschreibung des Lebens von (nicht nur christl.) Heiligen sowie die wissenschaftl. Beschäftigung damit
680 ## $aJe nach Sachverhalt mit Geographikum oder Sprache zu kombinieren
750 #7 $aHagiography$0(DLC)sh 85058266 $0(uri)$2lcsh$9v:MACS-Mapping. Bitte keine Änderungen vornehmen.
750 #7 $aHagiographie$0(FrPBN)FRBNF119481068 $0(uri)$2ram$9v:MACS-Mapping. Bitte keine Änderungen vornehmen.
750 #7 $aChristian hagiography$0(DLC)sh 85025092 $0(uri)$2lcsh$9v:MACS-Mapping. Bitte keine Änderungen vornehmen.
750 #7 $aHagiographie chrétienne$0(FrPBN)FRBNF119345812 $0(uri)$2ram$9v:MACS-Mapping. Bitte keine Änderungen vornehmen.


001 975384422
024 7# $a$2uri
040 ## $aDE-101$9r:DE-101$bger$d9002
079 ## $ag$bs$c1$qs$uw
083 04 $a006.3$9d:2$9t:2007-01-01$222/ger
083 04 $a511.35$9d:3$9t:2007-01-01$222/ger
150 ## $aAutomat$gAutomatentheorie
450 ## $aAutomaton$gMathematics
450 ## $aAutomat$xMathematisches Modell
550 ## $0(uri) $aAutomatentheorie$94:vbal$wr$iVerwandter Begriff
667 ## $aDiese SW wurde nach Zustimmung der Verbundpartner im Juni 2005 eingeführt, um technische von abstrakten Automaten trennen zu können. (dbfwd, 22.6.05)
670 ## $aLex. Informatik
677 ## $a1. Abstrakte Modelle von Maschinen. Sie dienen in der Theoretischen Informatik als Konstrukt, um gewisse Eigenschaften von Problemen und Algorithmen zu analysieren und zu beweisen (Wikipedia). 2. An automaton is a general term for any formal model of computation (PlanetMath).
680 ## $aNur für Automaten in der Theoretischen Informatik/Mathematik verwenden. In allen anderen (bzw. nicht eindeutig zuordenbaren) Fällen verwende  Automat oder engere bzw. verwandte Schlagwörte.
750 #7 $aMachine theory$0(DLC)sh 85079341 $0(uri)$2lcsh$9v:MACS-Mapping. Bitte keine Änderungen vornehmen.
750 #7 $aAutomates$0(FrPBN)FRBNF119369133 $0(uri)$2ram$9v:MACS-Mapping. Bitte keine Änderungen vornehmen.


001 944466036
024 7# $a$2uri
040 ## $aDE-386$9r:DE-576$bger$d1400
043 ## $cXA-AT-3$cXA-FR
079 ## $ag$bs$c1$qs$uw$vsih
150 ## $aSchlacht bei Wagram
548 ## $a1809$94:dats$wr$iErstellungszeit
550 ## $0(uri) $aSchlacht$94:obin$wr$iOberbegriff instantiell
550 ## $0(uri)$aÖsterreichisch-Französischer Krieg$g1809$94:obpa$wr$iOberbegriff partitiv
551 ## $0(uri)$aDeutsch-Wagram$94:orta$wr$iOrt
551 ## $0(uri) $aÖsterreich$94:bete$wr$iBeteiligte
551 ## $0(uri) $aFrankreich$94:bete$wr$iBeteiligte
667 ## $aVPe
670 ## $aB 1986
677 ## $aSieg Napoleons über die Österreicher unter Erzherzog Karl
678 ## $b5./6. Juli 1809


001 1042513643
024 7# $a$2uri
040 ## $aCH-000001-5$9r:CH-000001-5$bger$d1600
043 ## $cXA-CH
079 ## $ag$bs$c1$qs$vsiz
083 04 $a807.9494$9d:2$9t:2014-03-17$222/ger
150 ## $aSchweizer Literaturpreise
450 ## $aPrix suisses de littérature
450 ## $aPremi svizzeri di letteratura
450 ## $aPremis svizzers da litteratura
450 ## $aEidgenössische Literaturpreise$9v:Name 2012-12013
450 ## $aPrix Fédéraux de Littérature$9v:Name 2012-12013
450 ## $aPremi Federali di Letteratura$9v:Name 2012-12013
450 ## $aPremis Federals da Litteratura$9v:Name 2012-12013
510 2# $0(uri) $aSchweiz$bBundesamt für Kultur$94:stif$wr$iStifter$eStifter
548 ## $a2012-$94:datb$wr$iZeitraum
550 ## $0(uri) $aLiteraturpreis$94:obin$wr$iOberbegriff instantiell
551 ## $0(uri) $aSchweiz$94:geow$wr$iWirkungsraum
670 ## $aHomepage$bStand: 02.10.2013$u
677 ## $aEs werden literarische Werke ausgezeichnet, die das laufende Jahr geprägt haben; der Wettbewerb wird öffentl. ausgeschrieben.
678 ## $bErstmalige Verleihung 2012


Impact would be on MADSRDF. An additional note type might be added.


In the MARC 21 Authority format, define a new field as follows:

HOME >> MARC Development >> Proposals List

The Library of Congress >> Especially for Librarians and Archivists >> Standards
( 09/02/2016 )
Legal | External Link Disclaimer Contact Us