DATE:December 11, 1998

NAME:Making Field 004 (Control Number for Related Bibliographic Record) repeatable in the MARC Holdings Format

SOURCE: Library of Congress

SUMMARY: This paper proposes making field 004 repeatable in the MARC Holdings Format so that a holdings record can link to multiple bibliographic records for the description of the item for which a holdings record is created. This is particularly needed in the case of bound-with items, where several bibliographic items, represented by separate bibliographic records, are bound together and one holdings record may be used for the physical entity.

KEYWORDS: Field 004 (HD); Control Number for Related Bibliographic Record (HD); Record linking (HD)



12/11/98 - Forwarded to the MARC Advisory Committee for discussion at the January 1999 MARBI meetings.

1/31/99 - Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion - Rejected. Some participants felt that other options should be explored. It was felt that there could be problems with serials if 004 were allowed to be repeated, and that the linkage needs to be done in the item record, perhaps using barcode numbers as the matching element in item information fields 876-878. Others were concerned about that approach, since vendors do not have a uniform way of implementing item records. The bound with situation will be further explored and another paper written for the next meeting.

4/15/99 - Results of LC/NLC review - Agreed with the MARBI decisions.

PROPOSAL NO. 99-02: Making field 004 repeatable in Holdings


Field 004 (Control Number for Related Bibliographic Record) in the MARC Holdings Format contains the system control number of the MARC bibliographic record that represents the description of the item for which a separate holdings record was created. Thus, it links the holdings record to its related bibliographic record. The field is not repeatable in the format, resulting in the ability to be able to link to only one bibliographic record. It was initially expected that there would be multiple holdings records for each bibliographic record, rather than multiple bibliographic records for one holdings record.

The Library of Congress has received several queries about linking to the bibliographic records from the holdings record for multiple titles that are bound together. In these cases a bibliographic record exists for each title. The physical volume represents multiple works which have been cataloged separately. Typically these are single issues/volumes of a series which have been analyzed or discrete bibliographic works which have been later bound together. The bound with situation has been a fairly common practice in large academic libraries in the past. Thus, the institution needs to link from one holdings record to multiple bibliographic records. This is currently not possible using the MARC Holdings Format as it has been defined, since field 004 is not repeatable.


2.1 Current workarounds

Discussions with other holdings users have indicated that institutions are using the format in non-standard ways to work around the problem of having field 004 non-repeatable. These practices are:

2.2 Making field 004 repeatable

Early drafts of the original holdings format proposal state that "it is assumed that the holdings record cannot be linked to more than one bibliographic record". The bound- with situation is not specifically addressed. Perhaps the original intention was to require a holdings record for each bibliographic record. When the separate items were bound together, the call number and item part in field 852 (subfields $h and $i) in each holdings record would represent that on the physical piece. The 852 field would be identical in each holdings record, thus linking them together as one piece. However, there is no technique available to provide system links between the holdings records.

It is important to provide a standard method for linking to multiple bibliographic records from a holdings record. System vendors have implemented the format in various ways, with different requirements that determine how many records are created, with which fields, etc. Since field 004 is defined as the system link to the bibliographic record, it would be preferable to make field 004 repeatable, rather than come up with another solution.


Go to:

Library of Congress
Library of Congress Help Desk (3/15/99)