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MARC Standards

MAC Meeting Minutes
MARC Advisory Committee

ALA Midwinter Meeting
Denver, CO - February 10-11, 2018

MARC Steering Group Members:

Sally H. McCallum               LC                Library of Congress
Hong Cui                        LAC               Library and Archives Canada 
Thurstan Young                  BL                British Library
Reinhold Heuvelmann             DNB               Deutsche Nationalbibliothek

MAC Chair and Secretary

Matthew W. Wise, Chair          NYU               New York University
Everett Allgood, Secretary      NYU               New York University

MARC Advisory Committee Representatives and Liaisons:

Benjamin Abrahamse              PCC             MIT Libraries
Sherman Clarke                  VRA             Freelance art cataloger
Catherine Gerhart               OLAC            University of Washington
Stephen Hearn                   SAC             University of Minnesota
John A. Maier                   ARLIS/NA        Pratt Institute Libraries
Susan M. Moore                  MAGIRT          University of Northern Iowa
John Myers                      CC:DA           Union College
Jean Pajerek                    AALL            Cornell Law Library
Elizabeth Plantz                NLM             National Library of Medicine
James Soe Nyun                  MLA             University of California, San Diego
Weatherly A. Stephan            SAA             New York University Libraries
Jay Weitz                       OCLC            OCLC

Other Attendees:

Bryan Baldus                    OCLC
Maxime Bouchard                 Université Laval
Missy Brown                     Pratt Institute
Christopher Carr                Concordia University
Chew Chiat Naun                 Harvard University
Kalan Knudson Davis             University of Minnesota
Helen Gbala                     College of DuPage
Cory Nimer                      Brigham Young University
Gayle Porter                    Chicago State University
Adam Schiff                     University of Washington

[Note: anyone who attended and is not listed, please inform LC/Network 
Development and MARC Standards Office.]

Introductions, etc.

Matthew Wise (NYU, Chair) opened the meeting by asking Committee members, representatives, and liaisons to introduce themselves. A Committee roster was passed around the table and all were asked to "check in" and to annotate their entries with any corrections.

Approval of minutes from MAC June 2017 meetings

The minutes of the meeting at ALA Annual in Chicago, IL, June 24-25, 2017, were approved, with one minor correction.

Business Meeting/Other

Matthew Wise (Chair) reported on the approval by the MARC Steering Group & Chair of a "fast-track" proposal (2017-FT01) from the Music Library Association which resulted in the following changes: 1) making Bibliographic field 384 (Key) repeatable and 2) adding a subfield $3 (Materials specified) to the field.

Following the MAC discussion of Discussion Paper 2018-DP03 – which was converted into a Proposal and approved at the table – the committee engaged in a brief discussion regarding where such papers "live" on the MARC21 website for archival purposes. Questions arose as to whether they should be categorized as conference Discussion Papers or, because they have been subsequently converted into Proposals during discussion, as conference Proposals, or both. LC will further explore effective long-term storage and retention decisions for this practice.




PROPOSAL 2018-01: Coding 007 Field Positions for Digital Cartographic Materials in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Holdings Formats
URL: //
Source: Canadian Committee on Metadata Exchange (CCM) and the ALA Map & Geospatial Information Round Table (MAGIRT)
Summary: This paper proposes adding a new value in position 04 and making some modifications to definitions in other positions in the 007 fixed field for maps in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Holdings Formats to better accommodate digital cartographic resources.
Related Documents: 2017-DP06; 2016-01; 2015-DP02

MAC Discussion: Thurstan Young (BL) and others commented that the amended Proposal incorporated changes which were suggested at the MAC 2017 Annual meeting, and expressed appreciation for these revisions. However, the British community’s suggestion that 007 field positions for globes could be changed to allow for online material was not included in the proposal; this may be the subject of a later proposal.

This paper, and any necessary MARC documentation will be updated to replace the term "item" with "resource" where this occurs in the redefinition of 007/01 (Specific material designation) and 007/06 (Production/reproduction details). As John Myers (CC:DA) pointed out, because these resources are digital, there is no physical item associated with them.

Because the MARC formats are not linked to a specific content standard, a concern raised by the German National Library (DNB) that one of the examples in the paper is not RDA-compliant (Example 3.2., with the use of subfield $i "Print version:" in field 776) was not addressed.

MAC Action: Proposal approved unanimously, with the aforementioned editorial revisions.



DISCUSSION PAPER 2018-DP01: Defining New Subfield $i in Fields 600-630 of the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format.
URL: //
Source: Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC), Standing Committee on Standards
Summary: This paper discusses adding subfield $i (Relationship information) to the 600-630 group of fields in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format.  The subfield could be used to record a subject relationship designator term to identify more specifically the nature of the relationship between the resource being described and an entity that is topically related.
Related Documents: None

MAC Discussion and Action taken: Matthew Wise (Chair) summarized the MARC Discussion List responses to the paper; these included the reservations expressed by Library of Congress and the British community as regards defining 6XX $i to carry relationship information.

Adam Schiff (University of Washington) commented that the use of Name Access Points from LC/NAF – which are not LCSH headings – is a current practice within MARC and yet has not broken the format. He queried why the addition of subfield $i for relationship designators to these fields should be any different.

Thurstan Young (BL) responded that the British community’s concern regarding this proposed change centered chiefly on legacy data and older bibliographic descriptions: the paper makes no reference to potential impacts in these areas. The British community is also concerned with a situation in which  LC/NAF Name Access Points are combined with LCSH subdivisions in the same 6XX strings. A question arises in terms of  how these strings would be validated; in this scenario it would become more difficult to ascertain whether the 6XX second indicator value applied to the entire field content or not.

Chew Chiat Naun (Harvard) spoke of the need to support ongoing development of RDA, and specifically the ongoing 3R Project. He added that there are already use cases for a more granular representation of subject relationships, that RDA is clearly moving in that direction, and that $i would be a logical way to accommodate it in MARC. The real dichotomy in this case appeared to be between the LCSH and RDA; as a communications format MARC should not be adjudicating between them.

Benjamin Abrahamse (PCC) queried why the RDA Steering Committee would have created Appendix M to carry subject level relationships if there was not a possibility of representing this concept in MARC.

Thurstan Young (BL) responded that RDA represents a content standard which is independent of encoding schema; RDA specifies that a relationship can be recorded between a subject and a work but does make it mandatory to do so.

Adam Schiff  (University of Washington) commented that among the prompts for this paper was the desire to encode subject relationships within the MARC 6XX block of fields, instead of continuing to place them inaccurately and awkwardly in the 7XX block (Added Entries);  the 7XX block has historically been used to record relationships to entities other than subjects. Additionally, subfield $4 (Relationship) for recording URIs is currently valid within the 6XX block, which rather dispels the argument for not defining subfield $i which is simply a literal textual display of the controlled vocabulary relationship URI within subfield $4.

John Myers (CC:DA) wondered if, given the current RDA development path with its heightened focus upon relationships, MAC might consider encoding all relationship information in the 7XX block, rather than splitting it across the 6XX and 7XX blocks.

Stephen Hearn (SAC) noted that the MARC structure does not currently provide for the new RDA entity "Nomen". Thurstan Young (BL) responded that the introduction of "Nomen" into the MARC formats may not be practically possible owing to the widespread restructuring which this could entail. However, the other new entities "Place" and Time-span" could potentially be accommodated in existing field blocks X51 (Geographic Name) and X48 (Chronological Term).

Matthew Wise (Chair) put forth the view that moving forward with a Proposal to which the National Libraries and the MARC Steering Group are opposed would bear little pragmatic value. However, there was consensus that a revised Discussion Paper presenting real-world examples and a range of possible approaches, may generate a more positive reception.

The PCC Standing Committee on Standards will reconsider this response, and determine whether to resubmit this paper.

DISCUSSION PAPER 2018-DP02: Subfield Coding in Field 041 for Accessibility in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format.
URL: //
Source:Canadian Committee on Metadata Exchange (CCM)
Summary: This paper suggests adding new subfields in field 041 (Language Code) for accessibility modes in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format to allow for machine sorting.
Related Documents: 2017-11; 2017-DP03

MAC Discussion and Action taken: Matthew Wise (Chair) noted general agreement among MAC that subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing (SDH), closed captioning (CC), described video, and additional signed language tracks for accessibility should be coded in specific 041 subfields; they should be treated distinctly from sign languages as the primary mode of expression in a visual resource.

Thurstan Young (BL) queried what provision might be made for encoding details relating to the Makaton language program in MARC 21.

Christopher Carr (Concordia University) explained that since Makaton is a program rather than a language, it was not included in the scope of the discussion paper. Makaton’s status also accounts for why it is not included in either ISO 639-2 or 639-3.

After exploring whether Makaton should be recorded in 500 or 546 fields, or in a machine actionable way, MAC agreed that there was no conflict to code this program in a 546 field based on the textual definition.

Reinhold Heuvelmann (DNB) predicted that the recording of field 041 would become more complex once the move was made from applying ISO 639-2 to applying ISO 639-3, because the latter code list is much longer. Thought should be given to a policy decision  which specifies that, whenever field 041 contains codes from ISO 639-3 for signed languages, the field is repeated to include the more general code for signed language "sgn" from ISO 639-2.

Elizabeth Plantz (NLM) asked whether all captions should be separated out from subfield $j (Language code of subtitles or captions) or just certain kinds. She also queried whether it would be necessary or worthwhile to differentiate between closed captions and open captions. Furthermore, it was noted that the paper made no reference as to how the definition of subfield $j would need to be changed. Perhaps subfield $p (Language code of accessible text)  should be broadened to include all kinds of accessible text, such as pop-up windows, etc.  There is concern that, as the different types of "accessible text" expand, they will each need to be accommodated.  NLM suggest revising the definition of subfield $r (Language code of accessible visual language) to "Language code of accessible non-textual visual language." Lastly, they are concerned that all written words might reasonably be considered "visual language" by some catalogers.

Jay Weitz (OCLC) noted that, in each case where an example includes field 041 subfield $2 in the paper, the proper code should be "iso639-3" (lower case letters without spaces).

This paper will return as a proposal.

DISCUSSION PAPER 2018-DP03: Inventory of Newer 3XX Fields that Lack Subfield $3 in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format
URL: //
Source: Music Library Association (MLA)
Summary: This paper looks at the new 3XX descriptive fields in the MARC21 Bibliographic Format that lack a defined Subfield $3—fields 377 (Associated Language), 380 (Form of Work), 381 (Other Distinguishing Characteristics of Work or Expression), and 383 (Numeric Designation of Musical Work)—and discusses which fields could be improved by having a defined subfield $3 available for use.
Related Documents: 2016-07; 2017-02; 2016-DP01; 2016-DP29; 2017-FT01

MAC Discussion: Matthew Wise (Chair) noted broad agreement amongst MAC that there was a demonstrable need for defining subfield $3 (Materials specified) in fields 377, 380, 381 and 383; this was consistent with the fast-track changes recently agreed for field 384 (Key). However, he also commented that the recording of strings such as "1st work", "2nd work", "3rd work" and combinations thereof in $3 was undesirable; these serve neither human interpretation nor machine actionability and MLA best practice guidelines should take this into consideration.

Thurstan Young (BL) added that there was a need for $3 to contain information which was meaningful in its own right, rather than requiring reference to another part of the record to provide context; while MAC could not mandate a best practice for $3 content, it could specify that the examples of application included in the format were consistent with MAC’s thinking.

Elizabeth Plantz (NLM) noted that the examples of $3 application given in the paper were for music and asked that some non-music examples be provided.

James Soe Nyun (MLA) agreed that MLA best practice documentation could be amended to reflect MAC feedback on the application of $3, that the examples submitted for inclusion in MARC 21 documentation could also reflect this feedback, and that some non-music examples could be provided.

Jay Weitz (OCLC) noted that in the paper’s first example, the 730 fields (Added Entry – Uniform Title) given did not follow current RDA instructions for choreographic works.

Adam Schiff (University of Washington) added that using such choreographic examples in the final proposal would probably not be a good idea, since it was unlikely under RDA that a 381 field with a choreographer’s surname would ever be used. Under RDA, the 730 title examples would actually be 700 fields (Added Entry – Personal Name), beginning with those surnames.

Thurstan Young (BL) expressed the view that there is currently no corresponding need for subfield $3 to be defined in fields 377, 380, 381 and 383 of the MARC Authority format; this is because records for separate parts of a work would not be created as authorities.

 MAC Action: The discussion paper was converted to a proposal and approved, with the understanding that MLA would tighten and clarify the examples in the paper for inclusion in the MARC documentation, and that they would contribute some non-music examples. The proposal then passed unanimously (with one abstention).

DISCUSSION PAPER 2018-DP04: Multiscript Records Using Codes from ISO 15924 in the Five MARC 21 Formats
URL: //
Source: German National Library (DNB)
Summary:This paper describes a way to cover all scripts in multiscript records according to Model A by using codes from ISO 15924 as the "script identification code" portion of subfield $6 (Linkage) in all five MARC 21 formats.
Related Documents: DP 111

MAC Midwinter Discussion and Action taken: Introducing the paper, Reinhold Heuvelmann (DNB) summarized its intention as "making MARC even more Unicode-compliant than it is now."

Matthew Wise (Chair) noted that responses to the paper on the MARC List had been generally receptive to the idea of recording codes from ISO 15924 in subfield $6 (Linkage) with the exception of the British community. CCM and NLM expressed reservations in terms of explicitly identifying language as opposed to script related information. There appeared to be no support for deprecating the use of MARC-8 codes in $6.

Reinhold Heuvelmann (DNB) explained that, in broadening the scope of subfield $6 (Linkage) to encompass codes taken from ISO 15924, it would become possible for the user to select parts of a MARC record which correspond to a matching script. The range of scripts covered by Unicode is by far greater than those derived from the MARC-8 character set which are currently listed for use in $6. In addition, Unicode and ISO 15924 are strictly kept in sync.

Canada, NLM, OCLC, and MLA support the use of script codes from ISO 15924 in the 880 subfield $6 for Model A, multi-script records.

However, Thurstan Young (BL), expressed a view that the current script identification codes specified in subfield $6 are sufficient, adding that, if ISO 15924 codes are used, they should be recorded elsewhere. This is on the basis of  referring to the MARC 21 Specifications for Record Structure, Character Sets, and Exchange Media: Character Sets and Encoding Options: Part 2: MARC-8 Encoding Environment. The aforementioned documentation indicates that the intermediate character sequence portion (e.g. "(" or "$") of the current script identification codes specified in subfield $6 act as an instruction to the computer regarding how many bytes each character has; an LMS may produce a garbled output if it expects an instruction on how to display a script, but receives the label for a code from ISO 15924 which only informs the user what the script is.

Sally McCallum (LC) responded that the codes currently specified for use in subfield $6 served no purpose in terms of instructing the LMS that non-Roman characters of a certain script were coming in the field. There could be other scripts also in the field but only the first encountered was indicated by the code. ISO escape sequence codes used in the MARC-8 encoding environment documentation were simply re-used for purposes of convenience when $6 was first defined.

Thurstan Young (BL) suggested that other options might be explored as a means of recording codes from ISO 15924 in MARC 21. For example, field 546 (Language Note) might be used for this purpose in the Bibliographic format; field specific linkage could be supported by $8 (Field link and sequence number). Reinhold Heuvelmann (DNB) responded that, according to the documentation, field 546 covers the "language or notation system used to convey the content of the described materials", i.e. of the resource, and not of a MARC field. In addition, the usage of $8 adds to the complexity of the fields and records, and is not preferred without good reasons.

John Myers (CC:DA) suggested that an alternative approach might involve using field 066 (Character Set Present) to record codes from ISO 15924; this field has the benefit of being defined in all five MARC 21 formats. He added that, whichever approach was taken, a parallel solution would need to be provided which supported Unicode/UTF8.

DNB will submit a proposal which considers additional options for recording codes from ISO 15924 in the MARC 21 formats. These may include the following:

1) additional subfield codes within the 066 field, one to cover MARC-8 designations and another for UTF-8/Unicode designations;

2) use of repeatable 546s (Language Note) including subfield $8 for linking.

DISCUSSION PAPER 2018-DP05: Adding Institution Level Information to Subject Headings in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format.
URL: //
Source: German National Library (DNB)
Summary: This paper explores different ways of designating in a MARC record that a subject access field in the 6XX region has been added according to the policy of a specific Cultural Heritage Organization. While the preceding Discussion Paper 2017-DP05 focused on subfield $5 in the 6XX fields of the MARC Bibliographic format, this Discussion Paper introduces a second option by using and extending field 883 (Machine-generated Metadata Provenance).
Related Documents: 2012-03; 2017-DP05

MAC Discussion and Action taken: Matthew Wise (Chair) noted that MAC had previously acknowledged the use case set out by the DNB for applying institution level information to subject headings, although it had not reached a consensus on whether or how this should be accommodated within the MARC 21 formats.

John Myers (CC:DA) referred to the practice of describing additional series treatment practices using subfield $5 (Institution to which field applies) designators within the 644-646 block fields in the MARC Authority format. This could be regarded as analogous to the discussion paper option which proposes the use of $5 in MARC Bibliographic format 6XX fields.

Everett Allgood (NYU) responded that the use of 644-656 $5 only applied in cases where institutional practice was divergent from the norm; in DNB's case, local application does not appear to represent divergence from a norm, but rather the selective application of it.

Benjamin Abrahamse (PCC) queried the alternative option set out by the paper which involves expanding the scope of field 883 (Machine-generated Metadata Provenance) to encompass both intellectually assigned as well as machine generated metadata: the paper does not specify whether the process of coordinating 883 fields with 6XX fields in the same record would be a manual or automated one.

Reinhold Heuvelmann (DNB) responded that this process would be undertaken on an automated basis as part of the record’s conversion process from the PICA format to MARC 21.

Thurstan Young (BL) and Jay Weitz (OCLC) expressed a preference for using the 883 field to code local subject information, adding that the inclusion of a new first indicator value of "2" with label "Not machine generated" would avoid problems of backwards compatibility.

Matthew Wise (Chair) noted that the consensus of MAC appeared to have settled on the option to expand the scope of field 883. A straw vote showed no support for the $5 option, but some support for the 883 option.

The Chair also stated that now that there does appear to be a use case and the possible desire to define it, the MARC Advisory Committee is open to receiving an additional paper proposing the definition of subfield $5 within the 6XX block of fields, in order to distinguish controlled-language subject terms of local interest.

DNB will consider submitting a proposal focusing upon the option to broaden the existing scope of field 883.

DISCUSSION PAPER 2018-DP06: Versions of Resources in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format
URL: //
Source: German National Library (DNB)
Summary: This paper explores different ways to designate in a MARC record that a resource is available in a specific version, e.g. as preprint, postprint, publisher’s version, etc., including, but not limited to values from NISO-RP-8-2008 "Journal Article Versions (JAV): Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP JAV Technical Working Group."
Related Documents: 2007-06 and its part 2007-06/6

MAC Discussion and Action taken: Matthew Wise (Chair) commented that recording of version information seemed well suited to field 250 (Edition Statement).

John Myers (CC:DA) suggested that MAC consider using controlled vocabulary content within the proposed 250 subfield $v (Version information), defining an additional subfield $2 to define the vocabulary source.

Benjamin Abrahamse (PCC) responded that he would feel uncomfortable about recording a controlled term in field 250, since the edition statement in subfield $a is normally transcribed from the resource. He added that field 260 (Publication, Distribution, etc. (Imprint)) might be a preferable location for this information.

Matthew Wise (Chair) responded that, to offset issues concerning the transcription as opposed to supply of metadata, version information could be recorded in a separate iteration of field 250.

Thurstan Young (BL) commented that there should be provision within the scope of subfield $v to record information about both electronic and print resources. He added that, if a controlled term were being used, then a means should be made available to record a URI associated with that term.

Catherine Gerhart (OLAC) commented that the current label for field 250 did not encompass version information.

Matthew Wise (Chair) responded that, as an encoding standard, MARC 21 should not make a distinction between edition and version information at the field level since, as content standards, neither AACR nor RDA have done so either.

John Myers (CC:DA) noted that the paper’s provisional definition of subfield $v referenced NISO -RP-8-2008 as a source of controlled terms.

Reinhold Heuvelmann (DNB) responded that this reference was only given as an example and that other sources of terms might be available.

Matthew Wise (Chair) responded that, even if this were the case, any follow up proposal should confine itself to providing examples of terms which were known to exist in controlled vocabularies.

Among the four options set out in the Discussion Paper, Matthew Wise (Chair) noted an overall preference for defining subfield $v in field 250, although the possibility of defining a new field to carry version information could also be explored. Available field numbers include 251 and 266.

It was noted that instead of choosing the subfield code "$v", subfield code "$s" may be preferable, because subfield $s is defined in some title heading fields (e.g. 130, 240) for a "version".

DNB will submit a proposal presenting options for either the definition of 250 subfield $s or a new field to carry version information.


Respectfully submitted,
Everett Allgood


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