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DATE: May 22, 2019

NAME: Subfield Coding in Field 041 for Intertitles and Transcripts in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: OLAC Catalogers Network

SUMMARY: This paper proposes adding two new subfields in field 041 (Language Code) for the language of film intertitles and the language of accompanying transcripts for audiovisual materials.

KEYWORDS: Field 041 (BD); Language Code (BD); Subfield $i, in field 041 (BD); Intertitles (BD); Subfield $t, in field 041 (BD); Transcripts (BD)

RELATED: 2018-02; 2019-DP02

05/22/19 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

06/22/19 – Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: Approved, with the amendment to drop the proposed changes to subfield $m.

08/02/19 - Results of MARC Steering Group review - Agreed with the MAC decision.

Proposal No. 2019-05: Subfield Coding in Field 041 for Intertitles and Transcript


Field 041 is currently defined in the Bibliographic format as follows:

Currently intertitles are coded in $j with subtitles.  This coding is misleading and not helpful for retrieval purposes because intertitles are in no way subtitles.  Intertitles are more like captions because they provide access to the entire language content of the resource. Captions were recently removed from $j and put in their own subfield ($p) for this reason as well as others (See Proposal 2018-02).

In silent films intertitles are the filmed, printed text edited into the midst of the photographed action of a motion picture.  Mostly in use in the era of the silent film this printed text provides the entire textual content of a film since there is no sound.  In modern sound films this technique is sometimes used at the beginning of a film to inform the viewer of the back story or as an epilogue to explain what happened after the conclusion of the film. In this case the text does not represent the entire language content of the film and is not routinely mentioned by catalogers in the cataloging record.  There is no indication in the literature that there is a need for coding of these short textual prologues and epilogues so the audiovisual community recommends that it not be included in the coding of the 041.  In addition, these prologue/epilogue texts, as well as text that appears as “thought bubbles”, are always in the language that is spoken in the film and are thus already coded in the 008 for language.

For silent films the code in the 008 is zxx because there is no spoken language in silent films.  The 008 35-37 says this:

For visual materials, coding depends on the type of material. For moving image materials, the language content is defined as the sound track, the accompanying sound, or sign language. For moving image materials with no sound or sign language content or, if with sound, no narration, use zxx (no linguistic content).

Another way intertitles are different than modern subtitles is that subtitles either indicate what is being said in the film, or translates what is being said.  It is often not all of the dialogue. For example, it is typical for videos not to use subtitles for segments spoken in English in a film that is otherwise in French with English subtitles. Since the potential usefulness of intertitles and subtitles for accessibility is different, they should be coded separately.

Similarly, transcripts are very different from subtitles since they do not appear on the screen as the film plays, but are displayed or printed separately so they can be read through without watching the film. It has also become common for streaming video vendors to provide interactive transcripts with their videos. Likewise, for spoken audio recordings the transcript can be read without listening to the recording.  For accessibility uses, it would be helpful to be able to identify these separately from other accompanying material.

Separately printed librettos and lyrics will continue to be coded in $e for musical films and recordings.  The transcript subfield will be for non-musical spoken word materials with the text printed separately.  For musical audiovisual materials all text printed separately will go in the $e.  This will make it clear that the text of a monologue with music (like the Copland piece, Lincoln Portrait) and the lyrics/text of a film like Sound of Music, where there is spoken word and songs, would both go in the $e.  In general, the use of transcripts are for non-fiction audiovisual materials like documentaries and oral histories.

As we move to more granularity in our coding of the 041 field it would be beneficial to our users to be able to clearly define what is available.


We propose adding two new repeatable language subfields to Bibliographic field 041 that clarify the language attributes of silent moving pictures and of transcripts for both moving images and audio recordings.  These codes will enhance the ability of our catalogs to correctly retrieve our patron requests.

2.1. Proposed Additional Subfields

$i - Language code of intertitles (R)
For silent films, the language code(s) of the intertitles or title cards. Intertitles are filmed text that is shown between the scenes of a silent film to provide dialogue or narrative context.

$t - Language code of accompanying transcripts for audiovisual materials (R)
For non-musical audiovisual works, the language code(s) of the printed text of the spoken content of the work. For musical audiovisual works, the language code(s) of the printed text of the sung and/or spoken content of the work should be recorded in $e.

The content of the 008 for language has been very consistent over time for moving images.  For this reason the moving image cataloging community would rather not muddy the waters by changing the definition of this byte by adding intertitles to it.  We realize that sign language was recently added to the 008 for language but the role of intertitles is very different than sign language since it includes more information than just what is being spoken by the actors.  All kinds of information can appear in intertitles.  Leaving intertitles in the 041 where it has always been, and giving it its own subfield is cleaner and fits into the definitions already established for the 008 language and the 041.

These new subfields will enable MARC to convey more accurately accessibility information. Intertitles, like captions, provide access to the entire language content of the resource.

2.2. Proposed Changes to Other Subfields

In addition, some edits will need to be made to other subfields in field 041.  In the $g it needs to be made clear that printed scripts for projected still images remain in the $a and the title would need to be clarified that it does not include librettos and transcripts.

$g - Language code of accompanying material other than librettos [and transcripts]
Language code(s) of significant accompanying material other than summaries (subfield $b), librettos (subfield $e) [or transcripts (subfield t)].

Includes such items as program notes, prefaces, commentaries, manuals, codebooks, user instructions, etc. For visual materials, subfield $g is used for all accompanying material, except for accompanying printed script [for projected still images] or accompanying sound (which are recorded in subfield $a).

A similar change to the title and definition of $m would need to be made:

$m - Language code of original accompanying materials other than librettos [and transcripts]
Language code of original language(s) of subsidiary materials other than librettos [(subfield $e) or transcripts (subfield $t)]. The subfield follows the related subfield $b, $g, [or $t].


Example 1: DVD with intertitles in French and subtitles in English and German

041 1#  $i fre $j eng $j ger
245 00  $a Aubonheur des dames / $c Le Film d’Art ; scénario de Noël Reynard ; réalisation de Julien Duvivier.
264  #1 $a [Issy les Moulineaux] : $b Arte France ; $a Paris : $b Lobster Films, $c [2009]
300 ##  $a 1 videodisc (89 min.) : $b sound, black and white ; $c 4 3/4 in.   
546 ##  $a Silent film with musical accompaniment, intertitles in French with optional subtitles in English and German.  French, English and German menu options.

Example 2: DVD with intertitles in Japanese with optional English subtitles

041 1#  $i jpn $j eng
245 00  $aHogaraka ni ayume
264 #1  $a [Irvington, New York] : $b The Criterion Collection, $c [2015]
300 ##  $a 1 videodisc (96 min.) : $b sound, black and white ; $c 4 3/4 in.
546 ##  $a Silent film with Japanese intertitles; optional English subtitles and added music score.

Example 3: DVD with German intertitles and optional English, French and Russian subtitles

041 1#  $i ger $j eng $j fre $j rus
245 00  Das alte Gesetz : $b ein Film aus den sechzier Jahren = The ancient law : a film from the Sixties / $c von Paul Reno ; Regie, E.A. Dupont ; reconstructed and restored by Deutsche Kinemathek Museum für Film und Fernsehen.
264 #1  [California?] : $b Flicker Alley, $c [2018?]
300 ## 1 videodisc (135 min.) : $b sound, black and white (tinted) ; $c 4 3/4 in.
546 ##  Silent film with German intertitles and optional English, French, or Russian subtitles, and newly commissioned scores: Ensemble score by Donald Sosin and Alicia Svigals and orchestral score by Philippe Schoeller.

Example 4: Online resource (originally DVD) in English

041 0#  $a eng $a haw $j eng $t eng
245 04  $a The tribunal / $c produced by Na  Nā Maka o ka ʻĀina.
264 1#  $a [Honolulu] : $b Nā Maka o ka ʻĀina, $c [1994]
300 ##  $a 1 online resource (1 video file (84 min.)) : $b sound, color with black and white sequences
546 ##  $a Some proceedings in Hawaiian.
500 ##  $a Includes captions and rolling transcript in English. 

Example 5: Online resource for an oral history with transcript

041 0#  $a eng $t eng
245 00  $a Nick Hanauer.
264 #1  $a [Seattle, Washington] : $b Seatac-Seattle Minimum Wage History Project, Labor Archives of Washington, University of Washington Libraries Special Collections : $b Harry Bridges Center for Labor Studies, University of Washington, $c [2015]
300 ## $a 1 online resource (1 video file (56:16), 1 transcript (11 pages))
588 ## $a Online resource; title from PDF transcript (UW Libraries, viewed on September 5, 2018).

Example 6: DVD with transcripts on disc in Word format

041 0#  $a eng $t eng
245 10  Legacy of freedom movement / $c Mridula Mukherjee ; presented by Anhad ; produced & directed by Gauhar Raza. Secularism as a constitutional right / Mihir Desali ; presented by Anhad ; produced & directed by Gauhar Raza.
264 #1 [India] : $b Act Now for Harmony and Democracy, $c [2003?]
300 ##  1 videodisc (26, 24 min.) : $b sound, color with black and white sequences ; $c 4 3/4 in.
500 ##  Each disc contains transcripts of the lectures in Word .rtf format.
538 ##  System requirements: international DVD player, or PC/MAC with software to play VCD.

Example 7: Compact disc with transcript

041 0#  $d eng $t eng
245 10  $a Kenneth Baldwin oral history interview.
300 ##  $a 1 audio disc (32 min., 12 sec.) : $b MP3, stereo ; $c 4 3/4 in. + $e 1 transcript (13 pages)


The new codes can be incorporated into the language element in BIBFRAME with an indication of the parts to which the language applies.


In field 041 (Language Code) of the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format:

5.1. Define the following new subfields, as described in section 2.1.

$i – Language code for intertitles (R)
$t - Language code of accompanying transcripts for audiovisual materials (R)

5.2. Amend texts in subfield $g and $m as describe in Section 2.2.

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