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

MARC Standards

HOME >> MARC Development >> Discussion Paper List


MARC DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 2020-DP08

DATE: May 29, 2020
REVISED:

NAME: Subfields for Recording Date of Assignment of Dewey Decimal Numbers in the MARC 21 Formats

SOURCE: Dewey Editorial Team, OCLC

SUMMARY: This paper proposes provision in various fields for the dates on which a classification number is assigned for electronic versions of the Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) scheme in MARC 21 Authority, Bibliographic, Classification, and Community Information formats. These changes will bring MARC up to date for the current Dewey publishing environment and allow catalogers to more meaningfully describe the classification of a work given the continuously updated nature of 21st-century Dewey.

KEYWORDS: Classification number edition (AD, BD, CI); Classification Scheme and Edition (CD); DDC (AD, BD, CD, CI); Dewey Decimal Classification Number (AD, BD, CI); Field 082 (AD, BD, CI); Field 083 (AD, BD); Field 685 (CD); Introduction (CD); Appendix D – Glossary (CD); Subfield $2, in field 082 (BD); Subfield $2, in field 083 (AD, BD); Subfield $e, in Field 082 (AD, BD, CI); Subfield $e, in Field 083 (AD, BD)

RELATED: 97-5; 2007-DP06; 2008-01; 2011-11; 2011-12

STATUS/COMMENTS:
05/29/20 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.


Discussion Paper No. 2020-DP08: Subfields for Recording Date of Assignment of Dewey Decimal Numbers

1. BACKGROUND

Fields 082 and 083 provide Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) numbers for 1XX headings in the MARC Authority Format and for bibliographic works in the MARC Bibliographic Format. The Dewey number itself is recorded in fields 082 and 083, in subfield $a (sometimes in conjunction with subfield $c, when expressing a number range), though the edition number, in subfield $2, is also crucial, since Dewey numbers can change in meaning over time. Editors can authorize new numbers, and deprecate or change existing ones, so for context, it is important to know the date on which a number was assigned. In cases where the edition of the DDC specified in subfield $2 is a non-English translation, the edition number is followed by the appropriate MARC Language Code, separated from the edition number by a slash ( / ).

Previously, subfield $2 alone was enough to explain the context of a number. When the DDC was primarily or exclusively a print product, changes to a number between editions were incredibly rare. But this traditional publication model has long since ended. The classification has also been published in dynamic electronic formats for more than 20 years now. Beyond subfield $2, there is no way to indicate in a MARC field precisely when a DDC number was assigned, or when it was considered valid, even though in an environment with continuous updates, the meaning of a number can change within a single edition. The final contents of Edition 22, for example, differed from both the printed DDC 22 (2003) and the printed DDC 23 (2011). Furthermore, in 2017, OCLC announced that it would no longer publish printed Dewey editions. Any DDC number assigned from the current WebDewey is still properly coded $2 23; this is also true of a number assigned from the print DDC 23, even though many changes have occurred in the classification since. After investigating the possibility, OCLC has decided not to designate an Edition 24. This means that Edition 23, which was released in 2011, will continue indefinitely.

The existing MARC fields for Dewey numbers mention only that updates were issued until 1997 in DC&: Dewey Decimal Classification Additions, Notes and Decisions, but there’s much more to the publication history of the DDC. In 1993, the first electronic version was released, named simply Electronic Dewey. This was a DOS-based application updated each January. In 1996, it was succeeded by Dewey for Windows, a CD-based product that was also updated each January. Finally, in 2000, the first iteration of WebDewey was created. Ever since, there have been continual updates published to WebDewey. We can reasonably expect continual updates indefinitely in the future, even if WebDewey is succeeded by a different application or interface.

2. DISCUSSION

2.1. Justification

In a primarily electronic environment, it is much more helpful to know the date on which a DDC number was assigned by a cataloger rather than an edition statement. We don’t intend for dates to completely supplant editions, though the former will be more meaningful for current and future iterations of the DDC. (By contrast, knowing a number is from the 20th edition [1989], for example, is quite sufficient without an associated date.)

Where DDC numbers have not changed over time, the need to track edition and/or date information may be minimal. But the classification is dynamic, and many topics shift over time. Given that OCLC plans not to designate a new edition, the DDC will technically remain in Edition 23 indefinitely, and citing edition alone in conjunction with a DDC number will become less and less helpful. Without date information, older numbers become unhelpful or misleading, whether to catalogers attempting to reclassify or to users who expect works on the same topic to be found together. Finally, catalogers make mistakes! Having dates associated with a DDC number allows a classifier to check against history notes in WebDewey to see whether an invalid number was valid at the time it was assigned by the cataloger or whether it was simply a mistake.

Entering the date of classification gives important context to all classifiers using the DDC. Librarians can determine from a glance whether the class number in a record was assigned a month ago (in which case it is most likely still valid) or ten years ago (in which case they should check their edition of Dewey to see if updates have been made). This has the potential to save the time of the copy cataloger: they will not need to check class numbers that have recently been assigned.

2.2. Proposed Changes Discussion

Recall that there has been potential for divergence of a number within an edition ever since the first electronic version of the classification, in 1993. The problem is compounded with continuous updates, which have been available since 2000. Although the classification is now primarily accessed through WebDewey, which is continuously updated, users can also purchase print-on-demand versions, updated once a year. While some classes may be fairly static in content, others may differ depending on the format (i.e., print or electronic) and the date they were accessed. To address potential confusion, we propose adding a new subfield $e to the relevant MARC fields. Subfield $e will be used with electronic versions to indicate the date on which a given number was assigned by a cataloger (with the assumption that it was valid as of that date). We propose the new date subfields be repeatable for those fields in which subfield $a is repeatable and that, similarly to subfield $2, a DDC translation be indicated by the appropriate MARC Language Code separated from the date by a slash ( / ).

Regarding the new subfield, we make the assumption that when a cataloger assigns a Dewey number to a resource, it is valid on that date. For WebDewey users, this should always be the case. If a cataloger is using an older print edition, however, no change is needed: they simply will continue to record edition numbers in subfield $2.

There is still the matter of the annual print-on-demand versions, which are neither traditional printed editions nor electronic resources. We propose changes to subfield $2 to allow publication years in addition to edition statements. The modified subfield $2 and new subfield $e will create a very simple divide for catalogers: use $2 for print, $e for electronic. Finally, we recommend catalogers using the print-on-demand versions use first indicator 7. First published in 2018, all print-on-demand versions are technically Edition 23, in the same sense that WebDewey is, so we recommend use of $2 with the publication year (e.g., $2 23/2018). This already validates in WorldCat, and the editorial team can easily add instructions in future print-on-demand versions on how to cite it in MARC.

We considered whether or not to recommend use of subfields $2 and $e in the same field. Ultimately, we chose to treat them as mutually exclusive in this proposal. We believe the either-or makes for the simplest instruction for catalogers, without requiring them to know all the intricacies of the DDC’s publication history. As previously argued, citing edition number with WebDewey is increasingly unhelpful; furthermore, citing a date of assignment from a print version adds no useful information and risks causing confusion. Still, we remain open to the possibility of subfields $2 and $e being used in the same field if the committee thinks this is a better approach. Should we take this approach, we would want to tweak some of the subfield descriptions.

Besides the addition of these subfields, this proposal also updates some of the language regarding the publication and availability of the DDC. We have tended towards broad language for these descriptions—i.e., "print and electronic versions" rather than naming current products—both for simplicity’s sake and as a best attempt at "future-proofing" the text.

This discussion paper does not include every MARC field that includes DDC numbers. Following the proposed changes to each format is a brief discussion of other fields we considered, if applicable.

3. PROPOSED CHANGES


3.1. Proposed Changes to MARC BIBLIOGRAPHIC Elements


3.1.1. Bibliographic Field 082

Make the following underlined changes/additions to field 082 of the Bibliographic format:

082 - Dewey Decimal Classification Number (R)

Subfield Codes

$a - Classification number (R)

$b - Item number (NR)

$e – Date of classification number assignment based on electronic version (R)

Date on which the DDC number was assigned by the cataloger, based on an electronic version of the DDC. The date is recorded according to Representation of Dates and Times (ISO 8601) in the pattern yyyymmdd. When appropriate, a DDC translation can be indicated by the appropriate MARC Language Code separated from the date by a slash ( / ). If numbers are assigned from a printed version, use $2 (Edition number of print version).

082      00$a792.8/2$e20190402

$m - Standard or optional designation (NR)

$q - Assigning agency (NR)

$2 - Edition number of print version (NR)

Edition number from which the DDC number was assigned. If numbers are assigned from more than one print edition of the DDC, each number or range of numbers is contained in a separate 082 field. If numbers are assigned from a print-on-demand version, record 23 followed by a slash ( / ) and the year of publication. If numbers are assigned from an electronic version, use $e (Date of classification number assignment based on electronic version).

$6 - Linkage (NR)

$8 - Field link and sequence number (R)


FIELD DEFINITION AND SCOPE

Classification number is taken from the Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index, the Abridged Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index, and electronic updates to either edition, accessed through electronic or printed versions. Through 1997, updates were issued in DC& Dewey Decimal Classification Additions, Notes and Decisions.

Second indicator values distinguish between content assigned by the Library of Congress (LC) and content assigned by an organization other than LC.

3.1.2. Bibliographic Field 083

Make the following underlined changes/additions to field 083 of the Bibliographic format:

083 - Additional Dewey Decimal Classification Number (R)

Subfield Codes

$a - Classification number (R)

$c - Classification number--Ending number of span (R)

$e – Date of classification number assignment based on electronic version (R)

Date on which the DDC number was assigned by the cataloger, based on an electronic version of the DDC. The date is recorded according to Representation of Dates and Times (ISO 8601) in the pattern yyyymmdd. When appropriate, a DDC translation can be indicated by the appropriate MARC Language Code separated from the date by a slash ( / ). If numbers are assigned from a printed version, use $2 (Edition number of print version).

083      0#$a968.87/02$e20190402

$m - Standard or optional designation (NR)

$q - Assigning agency (NR)

$y - Table sequence number for internal subarrangement or add table (R)

$z - Table identification (R)

$2 - Edition number of print version (NR)

Edition number from which the DDC number was assigned. If numbers are assigned from a print-on-demand version, record 23 followed by a slash ( / ) and the year of publication. If numbers are assigned from an electronic version, use $e (Date of classification number assignment based on electronic version).

$6 - Linkage (NR)

$8 - Field link and sequence number (R)


FIELD DEFINITION AND SCOPE

Classification number used for subject access. It is taken from the Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index, the Abridged Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index, and electronic updates to either edition, accessed through electronic or printed versions. Through 1997, updates were issued in DC& Dewey Decimal Classification Additions, Notes and Decisions.

3.1.3 Other MARC Bibliographic Fields Considered

Though Classification Format 084 can still be used with DDC, Bibliographic Format 084 (Other Classification Number) cannot, so it is out of scope for this proposal. Bibliographic Format 085 (Synthesized Classification Number Components) is used in conjunction with 082 or 083, so we can expect that the components come from the same source as the 082/083 subfield $a. For this reason, 085 has never had a subfield or any other means to identify edition.

3.2. Proposed Changes to MARC AUTHORITY Elements


3.2.1. Authority Field 082

Make the following underlined changes/additions to field 082 of the Authority format:

082 - Dewey Decimal Call Number (R)

Subfield Codes

$a - Classification number (NR)

$b - Item number (NR)

$d - Volumes/dates to which call number applies (NR)

$e – Date of classification number assignment based on electronic version (NR)

Date on which the DDC number was assigned by the cataloger, based on an electronic version of the DDC. The date is recorded according to Representation of Dates and Times (ISO 8601) in the pattern yyyymmdd. When appropriate, a DDC translation can be indicated by the appropriate MARC Language Code separated from the date by a slash ( / ). If numbers are assigned from a printed version, use $2 (Edition number of print version).

082      00$a174.2/2$e20190402

$2 - Edition number of print version (NR)

Edition number from which the DDC number was assigned. If numbers are assigned from more than one print edition of the DDC, each number or range of numbers is contained in a separate 082 field. If numbers are assigned from a print-on-demand version, record 23 followed by a slash ( / ) and the year of publication. If numbers are assigned from an electronic version, use $e (Date of classification number assignment based on electronic version). The abbreviation dc that may precede the edition number may be generated for display.

$5 - Institution to which field applies (R)

$6 - Linkage (NR)

$8 - Field link and sequence number (R)


FIELD DEFINITION AND SCOPE

Call number for a series when all or part of the series is classified as a collected set or with the main series (646, Series Classification Practice, subfield $a, code c or m). Source of the classification number is the Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index, the Abridged Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index, and electronic updates to either edition, accessed through electronic or printed versions. Through 1997, updates were issued in the DC& Dewey Decimal Classification Additions, Notes and Decisions.

Also contains the edition number of the type of Dewey edition (identified by the first indicator value) from which the classification number was assigned and may contain the volumes/dates to which the number applies. Varying numbers for different ranges of volumes/dates within a series or different copies or sets are contained in separate 082 fields.

3.2.2. Authority Field 083

Make the following underlined changes/additions to field 083 of the Authority format:

083 - Dewey Decimal Classification Number (R)

Subfield Codes

$a - Classification number element-single number or beginning number of span (NR)

$b - Classification number element-ending number of span (NR)

$c - Explanatory term (NR)

$e – Date of classification number assignment based on electronic version (NR)

Date on which the DDC number was assigned by the cataloger, based on an electronic version of the DDC. The date is recorded according to Representation of Dates and Times (ISO 8601) in the pattern yyyymmdd. When appropriate, a DDC translation can be indicated by the appropriate MARC Language Code separated from the date by a slash ( / ). If numbers are assigned from a printed version, use $2 (Edition number of print version).

083      00$a362.29/6$e20190402

$y - Table sequence number for internal subarrangement or add table (R)

$z - Table identification-table number (NR)

$2 - Edition number of print version (NR)

Edition number from which the DDC number was assigned. If numbers are assigned from more than one print edition of the DDC, each number or number span is contained in a separate 083 field. If numbers are assigned from a print-on-demand version, record 23 followed by a slash ( / ) and the year of publication. If numbers are assigned from an electronic version, use $e (Date of classification number assignment based on electronic version).

$5 - Institution to which field applies (R)

$6 - Linkage (NR)

$8 - Field link and sequence number (R)


FIELD DEFINITION AND SCOPE

Single Dewey classification number or a number span associated with a 1XX heading in an established heading record or a subdivision record. Source of the classification number is the Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index, the Abridged Dewey Decimal Classification and Relative Index, and electronic updates to either edition, accessed through electronic or printed versions. Through 1997, updates were issued in the DC& Dewey Decimal Classification Additions, Notes and Decisions.

Classification number(s) may be qualified by a descriptive term when the heading is represented in more than one place in the Dewey classification schedules. In a subdivision record, the field also contains the number of the table from which the classification number is taken. Each classification number or number span associated with a heading is contained in a separate 083 field. The second indicator values distinguish between content actually assigned by the Library of Congress and content assigned by an organization other than LC. The organization is identified in subfield $5.

3.3. Proposed Changes to MARC COMMUNITY INFORMATION Elements

3.3.1. Community Information Field 082

Make the following underlined changes/additions to field 082 of the Community Information format:

082 - Dewey Decimal Classification Number (R)

Subfield Codes

$a - Classification number (R)

$b - Item number (NR)

$e – Date of classification number assignment based on electronic version (R)

Date on which the DDC number was assigned by the cataloger, based on an electronic version of the DDC. The date is recorded according to Representation of Dates and Times (ISO 8601) in the pattern yyyymmdd. When appropriate, a DDC translation can be indicated by the appropriate MARC Language Code separated from the date by a slash ( / ). If numbers are assigned from a printed version, use $2 (Edition number of print version).

082      00$a338.1/7$e20190402

$m - Standard or optional designation (NR)

$q - Assigning agency (NR)

$2 - Edition number of print version (NR)

Edition number from which the DDC number was assigned. If numbers are assigned from more than one print edition of the DDC, each number or range of numbers is contained in a separate 082 field. If numbers are assigned from a print-on-demand version, record 23 followed by a slash ( / ) and the year of publication. If numbers are assigned from an electronic version, use $e (Date of classification number assignment based on electronic version).

$6 - Linkage (NR)

$8 - Field link and sequence number (R)

FIELD DEFINITION AND SCOPE

Classification number that is assigned from Dewey Decimal Classification, Abridged Dewey Decimal Classification, and/or DC& Dewey Decimal Classification Additions, Notes and Decisions, all of which are maintained by the Library of Congress. the Dewey Decimal Classification, accessed through electronic or printed versions.

3.3.2 Other MARC Community Information Fields Considered

Like Bibliographic Format 084, Community Information Format 084 (Other Classification Number) cannot be used for Dewey numbers, so it is out of scope for this proposal.

3.4. Proposed Changes to MARC CLASSIFICATION Elements


3.4.1. Classification Field 685

Make the following underlined changes/additions to field 685 of the Classification format:

685 – History Note (R)

SCHEME-SPECIFIC CONVENTIONS

Dewey Decimal Classification - Formerly notes are the other ends of relocation notes. In the printed version they are embedded in captions or in other notes rather than being a separate note.

Subfield $d (Date of implementation of authoritative-agency) and subfield $2 (Edition number) are applicable only to the standard full English language edition of the DDC.

Examples of the use of subfield Subfield $f (Title and publication date) are the was used with sources such as DC&: Decimal Classification Additions, Notes and Decisions, small schedules that are were issued separately in advance of the publication of a new printed edition, or on the "New and Changed Entries" page of the DDC news and events website. New changes are now instead published continuously through WebDewey, which need not be given in subfield $f.

3.4.2. Proposed Changes to the Classification Format Introduction

Make the following underlined changes/additions to the Introduction of the Classification format:

STANDARDS AND OTHER DOCUMENTS RELATED TO THIS FORMAT

The MARC 21 Format for Classification Data should be used with the following standards and related documentation. When a standard is applicable to data in specific fields of the format, the fields are given in brackets following the citation.


Classification Schemes

3.4.3. Proposed Changes to Classification Format Appendix D - Glossary

Make the following underlined changes/additions to Appendix D - Glossary of the Classification format:

Definitions for terms used in the MARC 21 Format for Classification Data. When the term is used in connection with a specific field(s), the content designator to which it applies is in parentheses at the end of the definition. If a term applies only to a particular classification scheme, it is so indicated. A term in italics also has a definition in this glossary. Some definitions are reproduced from Edition 20 or Edition 21 of the Dewey Decimal Classification, published in 1989 and 1996, respectively, by permission of Forest Press, a division of OCLC Online Computer Library Center Inc., owner of copyright.

 

3.4.4. Other MARC Classification Fields Considered

Field 084 (Classification Scheme and Edition) looks similar to many of the fields we are recommending changes to. A typical 084 field in the editorial team’s database has only the following subfields:

084      0#$addc$223$eeng

But in the context of this database, field 005 (Date and Time of Latest Transaction) already gives an authoritative date stamp.

We also considered field 686 (Relationship to Source Note), which also uses pairings of classification numbers and editions in subfields $a and $2, respectively. But this field is not used by the editorial team, and its scope note indicates that it is for "when the number is different from the standard number for the same topic in the primary source edition."

Users implementing local options for the DDC that want to encode information in field 686 may use existing elements, such as subfield $i, to express dates if desired.

4. EXAMPLES


4.1 Bibliographic Format


Example 1: A work about whales, Dewey number assigned from WebDewey on April 13, 2019

082 00 $a599.5$e20190413

Example 2: A work about espionage, Dewey number assigned from the print DDC 23 (2011)

082 00 $a327.12 $223

This printed edition was published in 2011 and has static content.

Example 3: A work about coal mining in Clifton Forge, Virginia, Dewey number assigned from WebDewey on March 24, 2018

082 00 $a622/.33409755816$e20180324

083 0# $z2$a755811 $222

The town of Clifton Forge, Virginia previously had its own Table 2 geographic notation, but it is now classed with Allegheny County. The 082 field gives the current standard DDC number for such a work, with an 083 giving the older dedicated notation for Clifton Forge, from the print Edition 22 (2003).

4.2. Authority Format


Example 1: A series authority record for proceedings of a conference of medieval studies, Dewey number assigned from WebDewey on May 23, 2019

082 00 $a909.07$e20190523

Example 2: A subject authority record for art representation of Buddhism, Dewey number assigned from the 2019 print-on-demand Dewey product

083 7# $a704.9/48943$223/2019

4.3. Community Information Format


Example: A record about an organization dedicated to psychology of gifted children, assigned on April 15, 2019 from the print DDC 16 (1958)

082      04$a136.765 $216

5. BIBFRAME DISCUSSION

Date is a general property in BIBFRAME and can be used with classification information.

6. SUMMARY OF PROPOSED CHANGES

6.1. In the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format:

In fields 082 and 083, define subfield $e for the date a DDC number was assigned from an electronic version. Update the description of $2 to allow use of the subfield for all printed sources, not just discreet editions. Update language in the definition and scope of these fields to reflect how the DDC is now accessed.

6.2. In the MARC 21 Authority Format:

In fields 082 and 083, define subfield $e for the date a DDC number was assigned from an electronic version. Update the description of $2 to allow use of the subfield for all printed sources, not just discreet editions. Update language in the definition and scope of these fields to reflect how the DDC is now accessed.

6.3. In the MARC 21 Community Information Format:

In field 082, define subfield $e for the date a DDC number was assigned from an electronic version. Update the description of $2 to allow use of the subfield for all printed sources, not just discreet editions. Update language in the definition and scope of these fields to reflect how the DDC is now accessed.

6.4. In the MARC 21 Classification Format:

Correct outdated information in the scheme-specific conventions for field 685, the introduction, and the glossary (Appendix D).

7. QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION

7.1. Has the need to account for electronic and print-on-demand versions of DDC in helping to document the currency of Dewey numbers been adequately demonstrated?

7.2. Is the label of the newly defined subfield $e, "Date of classification number assignment based on electronic version," clear and appropriately reflective of its intention?

7.3. As stated in the discussion paper’s historical "Background" section, the first electronic version of the Dewey Decimal Classification scheme was made available in 1993. Since then, updates to the schedule have grown more frequent and more dynamic. In the "Field Definition and Scope" sections, we’ve chosen to condense and generalize what could easily have become a convoluted history of DDC updates. Is the condensed history sufficient, or is there value in providing more detail about the evolution from static print editions to a dynamic online environment with annual print-on-demand versions?

7.4. The new subfield $e has been defined for the date a DDC number was assigned from an electronic version. The existing subfield $2 has been expanded to allow its use for all printed sources including the annual print-on-demand DDC, not only discreet editions. Does this strict and simple division between subfield $e for electronic versions and subfield $2 with First Indicator value 7 for any print version make sense or might it be more useful to allow both subfields to be used in the same field?

7.5. WebDewey does not easily or consistently indicate the most recent date on which a DDC number was changed. Does the date on which the number was assigned by the cataloger based on an electronic version of the DDC serve as an adequate substitute?

7.6. Of the other Dewey-related fields that were considered but rejected for alteration, are there any that would benefit from similar changes?

7.7. Are there any additional issues or possible consequences of the suggested changes that have been overlooked?


HOME >> MARC Development >> Discussion Paper List

The Library of Congress >> Especially for Librarians and Archivists >> Standards
(05/29/2020)
Legal | External Link Disclaimer Contact Us