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DATE: December 9, 2015
NAME: Recording Distributor Number for Music and Moving Image Materials in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format
SOURCE: Music Library Association (MLA), Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC)
SUMMARY: This paper examines the need to distinguish music and videorecording distributor numbers from music and videorecording publisher numbers recorded in MARC field 028 (Publisher Number) and suggests defining a new first indicator 6 for Distributor number to accomplish this. The paper also suggests minor clarifying changes to MARC field 037 (Source of Acquisition) regarding the numbers to be recorded there.
KEYWORDS: Field 028 (BD); Field 037 (BD); Publisher Number (BD); Source of Acquisition (BD); Distributor Numbers (BD); Printed Music (BD); Sound Recordings (BD); Videorecordings (BD)
12/09/15 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.
01/10/16 – Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: Discussion mainly focused on this change’s potential to complicate video catalogers’ work, since the boundary between publisher and distributor is oftentimes not clearly defined with videos. However, with music, distributors tend to be explicitly designated as such. There was overall support for the change. The paper will return as a proposal.
The MARC 028 field (Publisher Number) contains vital data elements for the discovery of music and visual materials. Like the ISBN, the numbers in field 028 are often the first search keys used, especially in large databases such as OCLC.
The 028 field has developed from being a repository strictly for numbers associated with scores and sound recordings, to including numbers associated with videorecordings and most recently, numbers found in books that function like publisher’s numbers for music—for example, the BSS-prefixed numbers in books published by Schott, which fall in the same sequence as those published in scores. All of these numbers fall under the rubric of “publisher’s numbers.”
Distributors are becoming increasingly important entities for printed music and sound recordings, and not infrequently assign their own numbers for resources they distribute. Those distributors who also act as publishers often assign publisher’s numbers whose format is similar to or indistinguishable from their distributor’s numbers. The music community would like these distributor’s numbers to be accessible and to be indexed in the same fashion as publisher’s numbers. Further, it is desirable to provide a means of labeling a distributor’s number as such, to reduce the need for making an explicit note to specify that function.
The current Field Definition and Scope of MARC 028 is as follows (note all emphases in bold italics throughout this document are ours):
Formatted number used for sound recordings, videorecordings, printed music, and other music-related material. Publisher's numbers that are given in an unformatted form are recorded in field 500 (General Note). A print constant identifying the kind of publisher number may be generated based on the value in the first indicator position.
Numbers that are identified as stock numbers are recorded in field 037 (Source of Acquisition). In case of doubt as to whether a number is a publisher’s number, record the number in field 500 or 037. Repeatable for multiple numbers associated with an item.
In practice, however, music and media catalogers record distributor’s numbers, as well as publisher’s numbers, in the MARC 028 field. In some cases, they may also record these numbers in a MARC 500 field note. The contents of such notes are not generally amenable to machine processing, making a dedicated field such as MARC 028 a better choice in terms of the display, indexing, and retrieval of these numbers and the materials they represent.
In the case of videorecordings, the distributor is often the de facto publisher. In this regard, OLAC’s Best Practices for Cataloging DVD-Video and Blu-ray Discs Using RDA and MARC21, Version 1.0 states:
Determining the name of the publisher can be difficult because there may be many names present in the sources of information for the resource. These names might include the name of the production company of the original film or television program, the name of a subsidiary of the production company who could be the publisher, or the name of the distributor, who could also function as a publisher. If there is doubt as to whether a person, corporate body or family is functioning as a publisher or distributor, treat the name as a publisher (page 87).
In the case of (especially notated) music, distribution is often one of a music publisher’s activities. Nevertheless, the difficulties encountered in distributing music, especially outside of a publisher’s country or region of origin, have long led even large music publishers to establish or otherwise work with cooperative agencies, including other music publishers, to facilitate distribution of their product. As such, the Music Library Association’s Best Practices for Music Cataloging Using RDA and MARC21, version 1.0.1, in the section “Publisher’s Number for Music,” contains a recommendation to record “all publisher’s and distributor’s numbers appearing on the item” in the MARC 028 field (page 31). Similarly, the section “Plate Number for Music” references recording the “publisher or distributor” associated with the plate number (page 32).
In practice, field 037 (Source of Acquisition) is generally not used for music materials and videorecordings aside from certain local or nonstandard uses that do not involve the recording of distributor’s numbers. Best practice guidelines for using the MARC 037 field are absent from the Music Library Association’s Best Practices document, including the accompanying complete MARC record examples. Additionally, the MARC record examples in the OLAC Best Practices document do not include the MARC 037 field.
The MARC documentation for the 037 field is inconsistent. The 037 Field Definition and Scope states:
The ISBN, ISSN, and publisher's numbers for sound recordings, printed music, videorecordings and other music-related material are not carried in this field; they are contained in fields 020 (International Standard Book Number), 022 (International Standard Serial Number), and 028 (Publisher Number), respectively.
However, the 037 field Guidelines for Applying Content Designators for subfield $a (Stock Number) states:
Numbers such as distributor, publisher, or vendor numbers are also recorded in this subfield.
The OLAC Best Practices document’s explanation of the use of the MARC 037 field is as follows:
Stock numbers may be recorded in MARC field 037, subfield a. The source of the number is given in subfield b. Stock numbers differ from the other identifiers discussed above in that the number is usually not present on the resource. It may come from a catalog, a supply list, website, etc. (page 56).
As we have seen, music and media catalogers routinely record distributor numbers in the MARC 028 field rather than in the MARC 037 field. Aside from this practical matter, the intertwined activities of music and media publication briefly outlined above provide justification for considering the distributor numbers that appear on manifestations (or in some cases, on labels affixed to individual items) to be a type or category of publisher number, and therefore properly recorded in the MARC 028 field. For clarity, then, we suggest the 028 field be changed to clearly include distributor numbers for music and audiovisual materials. We also recommend that, in line with the differentiation currently made between publisher and distributor in the MARC 264 field (Production, Publication, Distribution, Manufacture, and Copyright Notice), a first indicator 6 – Distributor number be added.
Furthermore, as has been shown, the existing text of the MARC 037 Field contradicts itself and runs counter to some aspects of current practice. We therefore recommend that the existing text be modified to clearly indicate that field 037 is not to be used to record music and audiovisual publisher and distributor numbers. Such changes will not only remove the 037 field’s textual contradictions, but will also bring the 028 and 037 fields into alignment while preserving and supporting their current usage.
Note: added text in bold
Note: added text in bold
A score published by Schott and distributed by Hal Leonard:
028 22 $a SS 159 $b Schott
028 30 $a SKR 20080 $b Schott
028 32 $a 49019663 $b Hal Leonard
264 #1 $a Mainz : $b Schott, $c 
264 #2 $a [Milwaukee] : $b Distributed in North and South America exclusively by Hal Leonard
The resource represented here bears Schott plate number SS 159, Schott publisher number SKR 20080, and Hal Leonard distributor number 49019663. Note that the distributor number, like the publisher number, is rendered in the 028 field as an “Other music number” (first indicator 3), conflating what are separate data elements. With the definition of a first indicator 6 for distributor number, this information could instead be rendered in a manner that parallels the distinction between publisher and distributor—a distinction already reflected in the 264 field—that would permit a discovery system, and thereby its users, to recognize and utilize the distinction between these two data elements:
028 22 $a SS 159 $b Schott
028 32 $a SKR 20080 $b Schott
028 62 $a 49019663 $b Hal Leonard
A sound recording issued by Paris Jazz Corner Productions and distributed by Harmonia Mundi
028 00 $a PJC 222013 $b Paris Jazz Corner Productions
028 00 $a HM 76 $b Harmonia Mundi
260 ## $a Paris : $b Paris Jazz Corner Productions ; $a [S.l.] : $b Harmonia Mundi, distribution, $c p2004
500 ## $a Paris Jazz Corner Productions: PJC 222013.
500 ## $a Harmonia Mundi: HM 76.
The resource represented here bears the Paris Jazz Corner Productions issue number PJC 222013 and the Harmonia Mundi distributor number HM 76. Currently, these numbers both appear in 028 fields as issue numbers (first indicator 0), with the 028 information further repeated in two textual 500 field notes. As with Example 1, the definition of a first indicator 6 (not to mention the use of 264 fields in place of the 260) would permit a discovery system and its users to recognize and utilize the distinction between these two data elements, as well as obviate the need for a cataloger to reproduce publication and distribution information in 500 notes:
028 02 $a PJC 222013 $b Paris Jazz Corner Productions
028 62 $a HM 76 $b Harmonia Mundi
264 #1 $a Paris : $b Paris Jazz Corner Productions, $c 
264 #2 $a [Place of distribution not identified] : $b Harmonia Mundi
264 #4 $c p2004
A video resource published by Kartemquin Films and distributed by Facets Multimedia
028 42 $a K0904 $b Kartemquin Films
028 42 $a DV98597 $b Facets Multimedia
264 #1 $a [Chicago, Ill.] : $b Kartemquin Films, $c 
264 #2 $a [Place of distribution not identified] : $b Facets Multimedia
The resource represented here bears the Kartemquin Films publisher number K0904 and the Facets Multimedia distributor number DV98587. The publisher number is supplied in the first field 028, with first indicator 4, Videorecording number. The identifier issued by the distributor is give in the second field 028, also with first indicator 4: note that a cataloger would be unlikely to use indicator 3, “Other music number,” for a non-musical video resource. As with Examples 1 and 2, using the same indicator value for both publisher and distributor conflates what are separate data elements. If a first indicator 6 were defined for distributor numbers, the publisher and distributor numbers could be parsed out more rationally, as shown here:
028 42 $a K0904 $b Kartemquin Films
028 62 $a DV98597 $b Facets Multimedia
The area of identifiers for an instance is a current area of interest and development in the BIBFRAME community. Whatever the outcome, there will be mechanisms in place to provide the value of a standard identifier, as well as a way to name the scheme that the standard identifier is tied to.
If more distinguishing characteristics of publisher number identifiers are needed then establishing them now will help the transition to BIBFRAME.
If distributor numbers were accepted as distinct identifiers within MARC 21, a similar method could be employed to supply distributor numbers associated with a BIBFRAME instance to accommodate MARC-source metadata and to take advantage of the additional clarity provided by labeling identifiers clearly. Doing so for distributors would necessitate the inclusion of the property bf:identifierAssigner to provide further context for the identifier, as distributor numbers, along with music publisher and music plate numbers, seldom encode the issuing agent as part of the identifier itself.
5.1. Does the Committee agree that we to need to develop MARC Field 028 to permit the recording of music and videorecording distributor numbers (as distinct from publisher numbers), in preference to using field 037 for this purpose?
5.2. If so, does the choice of 6 as a first indicator for distributor number make sense?
5.3. And if so, does it make sense to redefine the 028 caption as “Publisher and Distributor Numbers”?
5.4. Are the suggested changes to the scope and definitions of Field 037 clear, and do they align with current usage of the field for materials other than music and audiovisual?
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