PROPOSAL NO.: 2000-05

DATE: Dec. 3, 1999

NAME:Uncontrolled Names as Subjects in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Community Information Formats


SUMMARY: This paper proposes that a second indicator be added to field 653 (Index Term-Uncontrolled) to identify data in the field as a name. The field would contain a name as subject that is not controlled in an authority file or list and/or has not been formulated according to cataloging rules. An alternative is to define a new field 620, equivalent to field 720, for Subject Added Entry-Uncontrolled Name, but questions arise about past practice of recording such names in field 653.

KEYWORDS:Field 653 (BD, CI); Index Term-Uncontrolled; Uncontrolled Name (BD, CI)

RELATED:96-02 (January 1996)


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

1/16/00 - Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion - Tabled. It was felt that if any indication was given concerning type of name, the values should include all possibilities, e.g. corporate name, conference name, geographic name. Some participants felt that it was not clear what the construct "uncontrolled" meant if values were added to the 653 indicator as proposed (or for a new field 620). Others thought that this was useful for non-MARC databases with descriptions from various sources.

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

PROPOSAL NO. 2000-05:Uncontrolled names as subjects


Proposal No. 96-02(Define a Generic Author Field in the Bibliographic, Authority, Classification, and Community Information Formats) suggested a new, repeatable field for names of authors not formulated according to cataloging rules. (Note that it was later pointed out that the field was not needed in the Authority format.) This field would be useful in the Internet environment where names are not designated as "main" or "added" and the distinction between personal and corporate name is not made. It was felt that the division of blocks of fields into personal, corporate, or conference was too tied to cataloging constructs and that a generic author field was needed for more general resource description. To allow for interoperability between MARC and other metadata element sets, especially Dublin Core, field 720 was defined as a generic author field.

Field 720 (Added Entry-Uncontrolled Name) was defined in January 1997 with a first indicator for Type of name with the values: # (blank) unspecified; 1 for Personal; and 2 for Other. The indicator is used when the type of name is known, but its use is not required.


The Cooperative Online Resource Catalog (CORC) was established at OCLC as a research project exploring the cooperative creation and sharing of metadata by libraries. CORC began with a small number of users in January 1999 and has grown to over 140. Perhaps its most important feature is the integration of Dublin Core and MARC in single system, including the ability to edit using either a MARC or Dublin Core view, and to import or export using either element set. This feature requires a crosswalk to translate field tags in MARC into element names in Dublin Core and vice versa. The Library of Congress' Network Development and MARC Standards Office has worked with OCLC in developing that crosswalk and has identified instances in which OCLC's Dublin Core implementation does not map well to MARC. One of these is the use of a name as subject, where the name is not identified as either personal, corporate or conference. This is the equivalent of the generic author that was established as field 720, but it is for use as a subject rather than as an added entry. OCLC is considering how to map an uncontrolled name as subject, and has recommended using a local field 690 because there is no other alternative to identify it as a name used as subject.

Field 653 (Index Term-Uncontrolled) contains an index term that is not constructed by standard subject heading/thesaurus-building conventions. Uncontrolled names have been recorded in this field as well as other uncontrolled terms. Field 720 refers the user to field 653 for uncontrolled names intended to provide subject access. An indicator could be defined in field 653 to identify the data in the field as a name as opposed to a term. This would facilitate its indexing as a name if desired. The values defined could be consistent with those in field 720, which identify whether the uncontrolled name is personal or other name. The first indicator is already defined as Level of index term, so the second indicator could be used.

An alternative is to define a new field 620 as Subject Added Entry-Uncontrolled Name in the Bibliographic and Community Information formats. The field would not needed in the Authority format, since its intent is to contain a name not controlled by an authority record, or in Classification where field 720 is already defined. However, since uncontrolled names have always been recorded in field 653 and there would be no way to identify them if it were desirable to update them, separating this information into a new field violates MARC principles. In addition, questions arise about what types of terms would be considered names in 620 and which terms in 653. For instance, how to treat proper names and geographic names must be clarified (this is also true for the use of the value in the proposed 653 second indicator).


Make changes to field 653 (Index Term-Uncontrolled) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Community Information Formats:

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