DATE: May 1, 1998

NAME: Recording Incorrect Dates in Field 008/06-14 in the USMARC Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: ALA Rare Books and Manuscripts Section, Bibliographic Standards Committee

SUMMARY: This paper proposes the establishment of a new type of date code in the Bibliographic format to provide access to incorrect publication dates appearing on items. It proposes changes to field 046 for multiple incorrect publication dates.

KEYWORDS: Field 008/06 (BD); Field 008/07-14 (BD); Field 046 (BD, CI); Type of Date code; Date 1/Date 2; Special Coded Dates

RELATED: DP106 (Jan. 1998)


5/1/98 - Forwarded to USMARC Advisory Group for discussion at the June 1998 MARBI meetings.

6/27/98 - Results of USMARC Advisory Group discussion - Approved as amended.

Participants felt that it would be less confusing to go to field 046 for all incorrect dates, rather than record some in 008/11-14 (if single) and others in 046. Most systems only process date 1 in any case. The correct date will continue to appear in 008/06, with any incorrect dates in 046 identified by code "x" in subfield $a.

7/29/98 - Results of LC/NLC review - Agreed with the MARBI decisions.

PROPOSAL NO. 98-7: Recording Incorrect Dates


When the date of publication on an item is incorrect, cataloging rules usually instruct the cataloger to give the date, in the imprint, as found on the item followed by the correct date in brackets. In the USMARC Formats for Bibliographic Data the publication date is also encoded in the field 008/06-14 for access purposes and only the correct date is given:

   260    . . . $c1703 [i.e. 1730]
   008/06 = s
   008/07-10 = 1730
   008/11-14 = [blanks]
This coding convention in the 008 field fails either (a) to indicate that the date in 008/07-10 is a corrected date, or (b) to allow retrieval by the on-the-item (incorrect) date.

These issues were discussed at the 1996 meeting of the ACRL/RMBS MARC for Special Collections Discussion Group. A consensus of the group was that a new date type code for Corrected and given date and inclusion of the on-the-item (incorrect) date in 008/11-14 should be proposed.

Discussion Paper No. 106 was prepared and discussed at the USMARC Advisory Group meetings in January 1998. Although the reaction to the prospective change was mixed, there was consensus that the topic come back as a proposal. Several participants supported the inclusion of this new type of date code but found that the suggestion in the paper to code for the earliest date possible in Date 1 (008/07-10) and the latest in Date 2 (008/11-14) in cases of multiple incorrect dates was problematic. There was a suggestion that field 046 (Special Coded Dates) be investigated to accommodate this situation.


2.1 Incorrect dates

Although incorrect imprint dates can appear on printed materials of any era, they are a regular feature in the era of hand composition of movable type. There may be several reasons for incorrect dates on the item, especially in rare book cataloging. One is that numbers or letters might be inverted (e.g., 1639 for 1693, or MDCCXLII for MDCCLXII). Bibliographical and historical scholarship has also frequently revealed that the actual publication dates of items do not correspond to their printed dates. In addition, at times fictitious dates may be deliberately given. Records for early printed books therefore routinely contain corrections to the dates given in the item in these situations and are recorded in 260$c.

The coding of date information in field 008 described above is problematic because many systems use the fixed fields for indexing purposes, and a researcher may miss relevant items entirely if they search by the on-the-item (incorrect) date.

2.2 008/07-14 (single dates)

It is proposed that the on-the-item (incorrect) date be recorded in field 008/11-14 so that it can be used for retrieval, and that a new date type code x be added to 008/06 for Corrected date and Incorrect date. Note that this coding would only be appropriate when the cataloger has recorded the correction in 260$c for the incorrect date. In situations where the date is treated as coverage date rather than a date of publication, this coding would not be appropriate unless that date were recorded in 260$c.

2.3 Examples

The following partial examples illustrate the proposed coding:

   008/06 = x
   008/07-10 = 1693
   008/11-14 = 1639
   260    . . . $c 1639 [i.e. 1693]
       [digits transposed]

   008/06 = x
   008/07-10 = 1762
   008/11-14 = 1742
   260    . . . $c MDCCXLII [i.e. 1762]
       [letters transposed: MDCCXLII for MDCCLXII]
2.4 Use of date codes

The discussion of the previous paper included some analysis of the use of date codes. It was pointed out that most systems probably use the date code in 008/06 to determine how to process the elements in 008/07-14. Certain codes are processed the same way. The aim of this proposed change is to be able to qualify searches by either the given date or the corrected date. The processing requirements for a new date code "x" would be the same as that for "t" (publication date and copyright date). The code would provide the information that the date in 008/11-14 is a given date rather than a copyright date.


3.1 Discussion Paper No. 106 and incorrect multiple dates.

For multipart items complete in more than one year, either the beginning or the ending date of publication may contain an incorrect date. In such a case, the date elements can either be used to record a beginning and an ending date OR they can be used to record a corrected and on-the-item date. If a beginning and an ending date are recorded, that date must be either the corrected date or the on-the-item date. The Bibliographic Standards Committee devoted considerable discussion to this issue, and Discussion Paper No. 106 indicated that most members supported the following convention.

If the beginning date of publication is given incorrectly on the item, record in 008/07-10 the EARLIER of the two dates (the corrected or the on-the-item date); if the ending date of publication is given incorrectly on the item, record in 008/11-14 the LATER of the two dates. The committee felt that this convention would give the widest range of retrieval and would produce the highest probability that the item would be retrieved using either corrected or on-the-item dates.

3.2 Use of Field 046.

Other conventions suggested in the development of the discussion paper were (a) always to record the on-the-item dates, and (b) to record the corrected and on-the-item beginning date of publication (using value x in 008/06). However, in the USMARC Advisory Group discussion, participants did not support the convention suggested by the RBMS Committee, and preferred to expand field 046 to include complex situations. (Note that the name of field 046 was changed with Proposal No. 98-4 as Special Coded Dates.) It was felt that recording the earliest and/or latest dates in 008 would result in undesirable hits in searching, since the incorrect date could be a century off of the correct date.
This proposal suggests that if there is a situation with incorrect dates, the correct date is recorded as usual in 008/07-10 and the incorrect date in 008/11-14 only if it is a single date.

3.3 New date codes.

A new date code, x, could be defined for single corrected and incorrect date. If there are multiple dates and one or both is incorrect, field 046 would be used to record the incorrect dates. It would be necessary to include a date code that tells the user that multiple incorrect dates are being recorded in field 046. Two options are possible: 1) adapt the definition of code "b" (No dates given; B.C. date involved; or 2) define a new code "y" to mean Multiple incorrect dates, use field 046.

Option 1. Since code "b" essentially means that field 046 is used to record dates rather than 008/07-14, this might be an appropriate broadening of the field. If it is necessary to distinguish situations that use "b" in which B.C. dates are recorded as opposed to multiple incorrect dates, this could be done by the presence or absence of 008/07-14. In the case of multiple incorrect dates, Date 1 in 008 would include the corrected first date and Date 2 the corrected second date. Field 046 would be used to include for searching purposes the incorrect date(s) that cannot be recorded in 008 in either or both subfields for A.D. dates (subfield $c for Date 1 (A.D. date) or subfield $e for Date 2 (A.D. date)).

Option 2. An additional code "y" could be defined to indicate that multiple incorrect dates are recorded in field 046. This would result in a distinction between B.C. dates and multiple incorrect dates. It needs to be considered whether this is necessary for processing purposes and whether the dates might be processed the same if the data in 046 needs to be regarded. In both options it is necessary to define one or two new type of date codes in subfield $a of field 046.

3.4 Different types of multiple dates

Other types of dates that have their own date codes in 008/06 and conventions for recording in 008/07-14 could theoretically have incorrect dates. Those that might are: t (Publication date and copyright date) and e (Detailed date). In both cases, the full range of coded date positions are being used (008/07-14), so it would not be possible to code these with the new code "x" and include incorrect dates. This proposal suggests that the incorrect date be given in 008 only in situations where there is a single incorrect date. There are numerous other situations where more than one date code applies and the table of precedence in 008/06 is used to determine how to code. If it is desirable to record these other incorrect dates for those also falling under code "t" or "e", they could be recorded in field 046, but the type of date code used would be "t" or "e" in 008/06.

3.5 Table of precedence

Some consideration needs to be given as to where the new codes x and y would appear in the table of precedence in 008/06. It is proposed that it appear after t (Publication date and copyright date) in both "Single part/multipart items complete in one year" and "Collections/multipart items complete in more than one year", since it seems more important to be able to retrieve on an actual date than an incorrect one.


For Discussion Paper No. 106, the RBMS/BSC submitted the following comments on impact, based on their discussions.

The change would help users find materials. The new coding would affect catalogers and system vendors and should be made mandatory if applicable. Vendors will need to assess their costs of implementation. Training costs would be minimal. The proposal could be applied retrospectively, but this is not necessary for its implementation. The new coding would have benefits for any record to which it were applied, but retrieval of existing records would not be changed. In the whole universe of cataloging records, the proportion of materials affected would be infinitesimal. For early printed books, there would be a significant number -- but still less than 1%. An alternative way of achieving the same result would be by keyword indexing of 260 $c, but would probably be less cost effective.


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