PROPOSAL NO.: 2000-03

DATE: Dec. 3, 1999

NAME:Definition of Subfield $2 (Source of term) in Field 583 of the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Holdings Formats

SOURCE:ALCTS Preservation and Reformatting Section, Intellectual Access Committee

SUMMARY:This paper proposes in field 583 (Action Note) the definition of subfield $2 to indicate the thesaurus used for the terminology in the Action Note.

KEYWORDS:Field 583 (BD, HD); Action Note (BD, HD); Subfield $2, in field 583 (BD, HD)

RELATED:99-08 (June 1999)


12/3/99 - Forwarded to the MARC Advisory Committee for discussion at the January 2000 MARBI meetings.

1/15/00 - Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion - Approved. Subfield $2 is non-repeatable. If different sources are recorded, separate fields should be used.

2/11/00 - Results of LC/NLC review - Agreed with the MARBI decisions.

PROPOSAL NO. 2000-03:Definition of subfield $2 in field 583


Field 583 (Action Note) contains information about processing actions as well as preservation actions. It documents both management and treatment information, such as review of condition, reformatting queues and reproduction, conservation treatments, or other preservation action. It is used to communicate information to cooperative preservation and collection development activities, rather than for detailed local record keeping. It is used locally to allow global retrieval of preservation information. In addition, the geospatial community has used the field to record manipulation of a file, such as modification of a dataset. By nature a copy-specific field, it is available in both the MARC 21 bibliographic and holdings formats.

The field uses terminology developed by the Preservation of Library Materials Section of the then Resources and Technical Services Division of ALA in an attempt to standardize the data. The list has been in use since 1988.

The ALCTS Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS), Intellectual Access Committee has considered enhancements to the field needed to support preservation activities. It has suggested the following changes: 1) the definition of subfield $2 (Source of term) to indicate a thesaurus from which the terms used in the field are taken, and 2) the definition of a first indicator to designate the type of action expressed in the field, with two values (retention or preservation). The original proposal submitted included the definition of subfield $u for a URL; this change was approved in Proposal No. 99-08 in June 1999.

A task force of PARS, ARL and RLG is being established to consider changes to field 583 including the additions detailed in this paper. In addition the group will: 1) review the terms listed in Standard Terminology for MARC 21 Field 583; 2) update descriptions in the MARC 21 583 field; and 3) update and/or add examples to the format.


2.1. Definition of subfield $2.

Standardized terminology has been developed to describe retention and preservation actions to allow for predictable retrieval. As sources other than the Standard Terminology for MARC 21 Field 583 are developed to standardize terms used in this field for various purposes, the field needs an indication of the source of those terms. This is particularly important because of the use of MARC 21 world-wide. Subfield $2 has been used in other fields for this purpose. Although some fields include a second indicator value 7 to inform the user that the source is recorded in subfield $2, the definition of the second indicator is not needed in this case since no other values would be defined.

The subfield could be defined as follows:

Subfield $2 contains a MARC code that identifies the source of the term used to record the action information. The source of the MARC code is MARC Code List for Relators, Sources, Description Conventions that is maintained by the Library of Congress.
A section would be added to the above mentioned code list for registration of terminology sources. Initially a code would be defined at least for Standard Terminology for MARC 21 Field 583. Additional ones would be added as needed.


     583 ##$are formatted; $c1993 $2 [assigned code for Standard
Terminology ... ]
2.2. Type of action

It was suggested that the first indicator in field 583 be used to indicate the type of action expressed in the field. This would facilitate automated identification and manipulation of the recorded action information. For instance, an institution may wish to identify all items that are currently undergoing a particular action, e.g. deacidify for preservation purposes. Retention action might be used to record a commitment to care for and retain specific items permanently, thereby enabling resource sharing among libraries (e.g. missing, restrict access, replace, withdraw). Originally it was suggested that the indicator be defined with two values (in addition to blank), one for retention and one for preservation. However, in further discussion it was revealed that there may be other types of actions recorded used by communities other than preservation. Moreover there may be times where an item is both preserved and retained, lessening the utility of the indicator. Since the term itself also conveys its purpose and it is expected that other communities may develop standard terminology lists that could be identified in subfield $2, this proposal is not being brought forward at this time, but may be considered at a later date. In addition, Standard Terminology for MARC 21 Field 583, when revised, may give additional guidelines about the type of action indicated by particular terminology used.


In Field 583 (Action Note) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Holdings formats:

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