PROPOSAL NO.: 2000-06

DATE:Dec. 6, 1999

NAME:Defining URI Subfields in Fields 505, 514, 520, 530, 545, 552, and 773

SOURCE:MARC Advisory Committee

SUMMARY: This paper discusses the need for recording a URI in additional fields in the bibliographic, and in the case of one field, the authority format. These fields include field 505 (Formatted Contents Note); 514 (Data Quality Note); 520 (Summary, Etc.); 530 (Additional Physical Form Available Note); 545 (Biographical or Historical Data); 552 (Entity and Attribute Information Note); and 773 (Host Item Entry)

KEYWORDS:Field 505 (BD); Field 514 (BD); Field 520 (BD); Field 530 (BD); Field 545 (BD, AD); Field 552 (BD); Field 773 (BD); Formatted Contents Note; Data Quality Note; Summary, Etc.; Additional Physical Form Available Note; Biographical or Historical Data; Entity and Attribute Information Note; Host Item Entry; Uniform Resource Identifier

RELATED:DP87 (June 1995); DP112 (Jan. 1999); 99-08 (Jun. 1999)


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 - Approved in part. A URI subfield was approved in fields 505, 514, 520, 530, 545, and 552, but not field 773. There was concern about the data in this subfield standing alone if the field is used as a link when no other subfields are used. The group agreed to the principle that a label be supplied in each field where a URI is defined, either as an indicator or a subfield for a textual note. Of the approved fields, fields 514 and 552 need a subfield defined for a textual note since they lack an indicator. LC will determine what is available. For field 773, it was felt that it was not clear what should be pointed to, particularly because of issues of granularity. It was not requested that this come back as a future proposal.

2/11/00 - Results of LC/NLC review - Agreed with the MARBI decisions. Subsequently, it was discovered that field 545 is the same as field 678 in the authority format. Subfield $u will be added there, since there is not 545 in the authority format.

PROPOSAL NO. 2000-06:Defining URI subfields


The MARC Advisory Committee has considered two discussion papers and a proposal about defining subfields for Uniform Resource Locator and Uniform Resource Name (referred to here as Uniform Resource Identifier or URI) in fields other than the 856 (Electronic Location and Access). Discussion Paper No. 87 (Addition of Subfield $l (Uniform Resource Locator) in Linking Entry Fields 76X-78X in the USMARC Bibliographic Format) was presented at the MARC Advisory Committee meetings in June 1995. The paper suggested that a subfield for a URL be defined in the linking entry fields so that a machine link could be provided to a related electronic resource. This would enable the user to link to the related resource without having to go to the record for that resource itself. The discussion of this paper revealed concerns about defining a subfield for a URL in the linking entry fields because of 1) the changeable nature of URLs; 2) participants thought it preferable to only include the URL in the record for the resource itself ; and 3) it would encourage people to create links without creating the bibliographic record. The group did not request that the issue come back as a proposal.

Discussion Paper No. 112 was presented in January 1999 and considered defining subfields specifically in field 037 (Source of Acquisition), a request from the Government Printing Office, and field 583 (Action Note), a request from the ALCTS Preservation and Reproduction Section, Intellectual Access Committee. The discussion revealed that there was interest in exploring the definition of URI subfields in other MARC fields in a proposal. Fields other than those specifically discussed in the paper were suggested, including field 545 (Biographical or Historical Data) and field 555 (Cumulative Index/Finding Aids Note).

Proposal No. 98-08 (Defining URL/URN Subfields in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format ) was presented in June 1999 and proposed the definition of URI subfields in the following fields: 1) field 555 to record the URI of an electronic finding aid; 2) field 583 to record a link to an action note; and 3) fields 76X-78X to record a link to a related resource. The first two were approved, but the last was deferred. The general consensus was that the 76X-78X fields should be further studied, since it was not clear what they would link to. Field 773 was considered to be the most likely candidate for which the need has been identified at this time. There was consensus at the meeting that future proposals might be submitted for other fields where a URI would be appropriate; these will be considered as needed.


The Network Development and MARC Standards Office issued a query to the USMARC list to solicit responses about the need for additional URI subfields. There was minimal response, although the need still seems to be apparent in some cases. In many cases a URI is needed so that extensive amounts of text not be embedded in MARC records. Given the exponential growth of electronic resources available on the Web, linking to an outside source for large amounts of information seems more practical and efficient. In addition, redundantly recording information in field 856 that is also needed in a more specific field is not desirable.

Note that the issue of defining separate subfields for URL and URN is not considered here, since in the previous discussion it was decided to use one subfield for URI.

The suggested guideline in the previous paper for where to record the URI was the following: if the URI is a link to the resource itself that is described in field 245 of the record , then field 856 should be used. If it is to a related resource that is covered by another field (e.g. a link to a finding aid, a link to an action note), it is used in the specific field. This would also be appropriate here (although field 505 may link to a portion of the resource and 545 to an outside source).

2.1. Field 505

Field 505 (Formatted Contents Note) is an obvious choice for containing a URI subfield. Many publishers/distributors of print and/or electronic material make available table of contents electronically. Although the enhanced 505 allows for encoding lengthy contents notes this approach may not be desirable when the information is available through a link. Some institutions have recorded URIs to table of contents in field 856 with a subfield $3 with the data "table of contents". However, a direct link from field 505 to the electronic table of contents may be more desirable. It could also take a user directly from the catalog record to a search interface for contents.

Subfield $u is available in this field.

2.2. Field 514

Field 514 (Data Quality Note) contains a general assessment of the quality of the data set constituting the item. For cartographic materials this information is defined in Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata. During the past year, while trying to draft rules for the inclusion of this information into a MARC bibliographic record, LC's Geography and Map Division discovered that, for some Federal publications, the metadata for this field is redundant for each of the CDs produced from the data set, for example, the data set may cover the United States but it is published as a set of CDs each of which covers one state. Since the metadata is the same for all of the CDs it would be more efficient to point to the web version of the producer's webpage where the metadata is mounted rather than repeat it in the records for each of the states.

In the case of remote electronic resources, being able to point to the metadata rather than incorporating it into the bibliographic record will insure that the user is getting the most up-to-date information rather than a snapshot taken at the time of cataloging.

       514   ##$uhttp://[URL]
Instead of currently:
        514     ##$aThe map layer that displays Special Feature Symbols
                shows the approximate location of small (less than 2 
                acres in size) areas of soils [subfield $a shortened 
                in this example]  $dQuarter quadrangles edited and 
                joined internally and to surrounding quads. All known 
                errors corrected.$e The combination of spatial linework 
                layer, Special Feature Symbols layer, and attribute data 
                are considered a complete SSURGO dataset.$fThe actual on 
                ground transition between the area represented by the 
                Special Feature Symbol and the surrounding soils generally 
                is very narrow with a well defined edge. The center of the 
                feature area was compiled and digitized as a point. The 
                same standards for compilation and digitizing used for 
                line data were applied to the development of the Special 
                Feature Symbols layer.

       514   ##$eCompleteness:$uhttp://[URL]
Instead of currently:
       514   ##$eThe combination of spatial linework layer, Special 
                Feature Symbols layer, and attribute data are considered 
                a complete SSURGO dataset.
Subfield $u is available in this field.

2.3. Field 520

Field 520 (Summary, Etc.) contains unformatted information that describes the scope and general contents of the described materials, which could be a summary, abstract, annotation, review, or only a phrase describing the material. As with field 514, for electronic cartographic resources the information included here is defined in Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata. Since there may be a number of CDs that make up a data set, each CD will contain the same summary information. Rather than having to store that information in the record it seems more efficient to point to the product metadata on the producers' webpage. In addition, the Web-accessible metadata generally will be more up-to-date and accurate than pulling off a snapshot of the field and inserting it into the record.

       520   3#$u[URL]
Instead of currently:
       520   3#aDigital linegraph (DLG) data are digital representations 
                of cartographic information. DLG's of map features are 
                converted to digital form from maps and related sources.
                Intermediate-scale DLG data are derived from USGS 
                1:100,000-scale 30- by 60-minute quadrangle maps. If 
                these maps are not available, Bureau of Land Management 
                planimetric maps at a scale of 1: 100,000 are used. 
                Intermediate-scale DLG's are sold in five categories: 
                (1) Public Land Survey System; (2) boundaries 
                (3) transportation; (4) hydrography; and (5) hypsography. 
                All DLG data distributed by the USGS are DLG - Level 3 
                (DLG-3), which means the data contain a full range of 
                attribute codes, have full topological structuring, and 
                have passed certain quality-control checks.  Purpose: 
                DLG's depict information about geographic features on 
                or near the surface of the Earth, terrain, and political 
                and administrative units. These data were collected as 
                part of the National Mapping Program.
A URI subfield might also be useful for all types of material to point to reviews or abstracts outside of the resource itself. Subfield $u is available in this field.

2.4. Field 530

Field 530 (Additional Physical Form Available Note) contains information concerning a different physical format in which the described item is available. When using the one record approach for describing electronic journals, an option endorsed by CONSER, information about the online version is given in field 530. The URI is then given in field 856. Since many institutions use the single record approach because of limited resources, a link between the online and the printed version is desirable. Allowing the URI to appear in conjunction with the note would be easier to understand, particularly in cases where multiple 856 fields need to be recorded for various reasons.

       530   ##$aOnline version available via The New Bartleby Library
Instead of currently:
       530   ##$aOnline version available
       856   41$zOnline version via The New Bartleby Library                         
       [Subfield $2 may not be recorded by all institutions.]
Subfield $u is available in this field.

2.5. Field 545

Field 545 (Biographical or Historical Data) is defined in both the Bibliographic and Authority Formats to contain biographical information about an individual or historical information about an institution or event. It was originally defined for use in cataloging archival material. Often it is not sufficient simply to name the creator of the materials. Additional data about the individual's life and activities or the organization's history and functions often are required to provide sufficient context for the patron to determine the content and relevance of a body of materials that may span tens of thousands of individual items. In the bibliographic format, it refers to the main entry for the item being cataloged. In the authority format it refers to the heading field.

However, it may not be practical in all circumstances to incorporate all relevant and useful data directly into this field. The information may be too lengthy to display reasonably in the catalog. The same information may be common to many separate records such that its inclusion in each would be repetitive and costly. The information may be dynamic, subject to regular change in a manner that would make catalog maintenance problematic. Fortunately, extended biographical or historical data now may be found in external, electronic sources. Links from this note field, rather than from Field 856, are appropriate as they relate to the information carried specifically in this note and not to the description as a whole. This is consistent with the principle established when such links were added to Fields 583 and 520.

Several existing types of external resources might well be the target of such links. These include electronic biographical dictionaries, bibliographies, and family histories. Analogous resources exist for the records of organizations and government agencies such as government legislative and organizational manuals and other databases being created as citizen guides to government activities. In some circumstances, the external resource may be graphic or pictorial as in family genealogical charts or tables of organization for businesses and government.

       545    ##$aThe Faribault State School and Hospital provided care, 
               treatment, training, and a variety of other services to mentally 
               retarded individuals and their families.  It was operated by the 
               State of Minnesota from 1879 to 1998 under different administrative 
               structures and with different names.  A more detailed history of the 
               Hospital may be found at   
Subfield $u is available in this field.

2.6. Field 552

Field 552 (Entity and Attribute Information Note) contains a description of the information content of the data set, including the entity types, their attributes, and the domains from which attribute values may be assigned. This is also an element that is defined in Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata. As in fields 514 and 520, it seems inefficient to carry the entity/attribute information in the record for each CD when published in a set when it is easier to point to the producer's web page to document the entity/attribute values for the data set.

Again, in the case of remote electronic resources, the online metadata generally will be more up-to-date and accurate than pulling off a snapshot of the field and inserting it into the record.

       552   ##$uhttp://[URL]
Instead of currently:
       552   ##$oDLG3 attribute codes are used to describe the physical 
                and cultural characteristics of DLG node, line, and area 
                elements. Attribute codes are used to reduce redundant information, 
                provide enough reference information to support integration with 
                larger data base, and describe the relationships between
                cartographic elements. Each DLG element has one or more 
                attribute codes composed of a three digit major code and a 
                four-digit minor code. For example, with the 1: 24,000-scale 
                DLG data, the line attribute code 050 0412 has a major code 
                (050), meaning hydrography, with a minor code (0412) meaning 
                stream.$p U.S.Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological 
                Survey, 1987 Digital Line Graphs from 1:100,000-Scale Maps--Data 
                Users Guide 2; Reston, Virginia A hypertext extract is 
                available at: Softcopies in ASCII, WordPerfect, and PostScript 
                format are available at: U.S.Department of the Interior, U.S.
                Geological Survey, 1990, Standards for Digital Line Graphs; 
                Reston, Virginia Softcopies in ASCII, WordPerfect, and PostScript 
                format are available.
Subfield $u is available in this field.

2.7. Field 773

Field 773 (Host Item Entry) contains information concerning the host item for the component part/subunit that is described in the record. Although the MARC Advisory Group has considered defining URI subfields in all 76X-78X Linking Entry Fields, the previous discussion indicated that it was not clear how they would be used; field 773 demonstrates a specific use to be considered.

Proposal No. 99-08 discussed the Task Group on Journals in Aggregator Databases, which was established to investigate and make recommendations for a useful, cost-effective, and timely means for providing records to identify full-text electronic journals acquired in aggregator databases. These databases are being provided from various sources to bring together the full text of electronic journals. The group is exploring the creation of records for the electronic journals by the vendor which puts up the aggregator database. Field 773 would be an appropriate field to record a link from the journal itself to the "collection," in this case the database.

The need for a URI subfield has been expressed in other situations requiring linking from an item to a collection. Many rare book catalogers use field 773 to identify individual items located/housed in a collection. This is similar to linking from an individual electronic item to its online collection, such as to the English poetry full-text database (Chadwyck-Healey), Documenting the American South collection (UNC-CH), etc. If the URI for the item were recorded in field 856 and the URI for the collection in field 773, this would allow the user to group the items with the parent and allow direct access to the online collection. It would be redundant to record the parent in a repeated 856 field and inefficient to have to go to the record for it to find the URL.

       245   10$aTom a Lincoln [SGML-encoded machine-readable transcript] / $ced. 
                G.R. Proudfoot, H.R. Woudhuysen and John Pitcher
       773   0#$tThe English Verse Drama Full-Text Database $dCambridge, 
                England : Chadwyck-Healey Ltd., 1995 $uhttp://[URL]
As for other 76X-78X fields it might be noted that the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative is currently establishing the use of various qualifiers for its elements. One of these elements, Relation, is used in a similar fashion to the linking entry fields to link to related resources. This emerging metadata standard specifies that the content of the field can be an identifier to the related resource and does not require any textual information. In the Dublin Core to MARC mapping, lacking a URI subfield in the linking entry fields, the Relation element qualified by an identifier with a URI is mapped to subfield $o (Other identifier). It is not practical to map to field 856, since there would be no automated way to distinguish what its relation is (identified otherwise by the field tag).

Subfield $u is not available in the Linking entry fields (or in 773); subfield $l could be defined for URI.


3.1. Since Proposal No. 99-08 defined URI subfields for two other fields of the format, are there reasons not to continue to define these where appropriate?

3.2. Field 545 is in both the bibliographic and authority formats. Are there specific issues about defining a URI subfield in the authority format given past reluctance about allowing in the authority record (although field 856 was defined in Proposal No. 98-13).

3.3. In the linking entry fields, should each field be considered separately or should the definition across the block be reconsidered? What issues would not allow for considering them as a block? How could these be resolved?


4.1. In the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format:

4.2. In the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Format:

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