Discussion Paper 2001-DP07

DATE: May 7, 2001

NAME: Name/Title of Unit in MARC 21 Holdings Records

SOURCE: CONSER Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings

SUMMARY: This paper discusses the relationship between field 844 (Name of Unit) and subfield $o in fields 854/864 and 855/865. It considers how to record a distinctive title associated with a basic bibliographic unit that applies only to a constituent part.

KEYWORDS: Field 844 (HD); Subfield $o, in Field 853 (HD); Subfield $o, in Field 863 (HD); Name of Unit (HD); Type of Unit (HD); Title of Unit (HD)

RELATED: 89-8/5; 89-8/7


05/07/01 - Made available to the MARC 21 community for discussion.

6/16/01 - Results of the MARC Advisory Committee discussion - Participants were mixed whether to use either subfield $o or field 844 and actually preferred using both data elements for different situations. The participants also felt that field 844 should be used for both serials and non-serial publications. It was noted that the use of subfield $o in 853/863 is confusing because usually repetition of the field implies a change in pattern rather than indication of part. Participants favored coding CONSER Publication Initiative field 891 similar to field 844, which would be indicated in subfield $9.

Discussion Paper No. 2001-DP07:Name/Title of Unit in MARC 21 Holdings Records


The CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative has its mission as follows:

As participating institutions have input more and more patterns for serial publications into MARC records, they have encountered some ambiguities and deficiencies in the ability to express some patterns accurately using the format. One area that needs clarification is the situation where a basic bibliographic unit has a specific title that applies only to a component part of the publication. In these cases, the title is only the title of a part, not the title of the bibliographic unit represented by a cataloging record.

In the MARC 21 Holdings Format there are several elements to record titles associated with a holdings unit:

Field 844 (Name of Unit)
Subfield $o in field 854-855 (Type of supplementary material/index)
Subfield $o in field 864-865 (Title of supplementary material/index)

Field 844 was originally defined to accommodate the "Name of Unit" element in the then ANSI/NISO non-serial holdings standard, although it is also applicable to titles of component parts of serials.

Subfield $o is only defined in the fields 854/864 and 855/865 for supplementary material and indexes, not for the basic bibliographic unit (i.e. 853/863). It has been requested by participants in the CONSER publication pattern initiative that subfield $o be also made available for the basic bibliographic unit (in fields 853 and/or 863) for component part titles. However, the relationship between field 844, 85X and 86X subfield $o needs to be clarified. Note that the CONSER pilot is limiting the coding of patterns to basic bibliographic units, not supplements or indexes.


2.1. MARC holdings and NISO holdings standards.

In 1989 and 1990, several proposals were considered by the then USMARC Advisory Group concerning additions and changes to the holdings format to accommodate non-serial holdings statements. This was a result of the approval of ANSI/NISO standard Z39.57, Holdings Statements for Non-Serial Items. Proposal No. 89-8/5 gave options for accommodating the "name of unit" element defined by the non-serial holdings standard. The three options included: 1) defining subfield $o in field 853 for Type of unit and modify the definition of subfield $o in field 864/865 for the Name of unit element; 2) defining subfield $o in field 853 for Type of unit and $n for Title of unit (making $o in 864/865 obsolete); or 3) defining a new field 844 for Name of Unit. The first two options involved using one holdings record with multiple 853/863 fields, while the latter option involved separate holdings records for the constituent part with a title. The new field was approved and incorporated into the format in 1991.

In the consideration of Proposal 89-8/5, LC made available sets of MARC holdings records to model the various approaches of using a single holdings record with subfield $o for the type (name) of unit and using a separate holdings record with field 844. The MARBI decision to approve the latter was a result of analysis of examples, especially complex situations when there were several titles associated with component parts. (The examples under consideration were all non-serial titles, many multi-part monographs.)

An additional proposal, Proposal No. 89-8/7, suggested that subfield $o in fields 854/855 be made obsolete in favor of treating supplement and index names as captions, which was more consistent with the holdings standards Z39.44. Note that the paper did not specifically deal with titles, but with designations such as "suppl." that could be considered a caption. The proposal was subsumed under 89-8/5 mentioned above, which resulted in the definition of field 844. A final decision on subfield $o and its relationship to field 844 was never made.

Since the inclusion of field 844 in the format, the serial and non-serial holdings standards were brought together in ANSI/NISO Z39.71-1999, Holdings Statements for Bibliographic Items. "Name of unit" is specified as both a serial and non-serial data element which is used when it is necessary to identify the name of the unit being specified. The standard states that "Name of unit is used primarily for non-serial units, but it is also used for a serial unit which is designated by a name. Examples include a part of a kit, accompanying material, a supplement, or a serial with several named parts all attached to one Item Identification Area." It is specified that the Name of unit is displayed enclosed in quotation marks. Examples in the standard for this data element include:

"Teacher's Guide" + 1 sound cassette (single part tile with accompanying cassette)
"Statutes" pt. 1-8 + "Cases" pt. 1-7

An example for "Name of Unit" in field 844 of the holdings format is:

844 ## $aCurrent developments
853 00 $81 $a v.
863 40 $81.1$a1-16

It is currently unclear whether the recent need expressed for subfield $o in field 853 is a result of ignorance of the existence of field 844 (especially since the distinction between 844 and $o has not been made explicit), well-established practice of using the holdings data fields 853-855 and 863-865 for this type of information, or the inability of ILS vendor systems to use field 844 data.

2.2. Using field 844 for name/title of unit.

When multiple component titles have constituent parts that are not separately cataloged, there is a need to record the individual titles in the holdings records both for identification and to establish the proper pattern for check-in. An example is the International Journal of Environmental Studies which has a Section A, "Environmental Studies" (for an image of the title page, click here) and Section B, "Environmental Science and Technology". In LC's catalog, they are represented by a single bibliographic record, and each section is represented by the same enumeration and chronology. Only the section designation distinguishes the holdings of one section from another currently, but there is no place to record the specific titles in the pattern information. This example illustrates the need for recording the component part title for a basic bibliographic unit for accurate identification and check-in, since the title gives additional information about the unit and distinguishes the sections. According to the definitions in Z39.71, the section titles "Environmental Studies" and "Environmental Science and Technology" fall under the category "Name of Unit". The place provided in the MARC 21 Holdings format for this element is field 844. Using this field necessitates the creation of separate holdings records with field 844 containing each name of unit and fields 853/863 for the associated caption, pattern, enumeration, and chronology information. This is because the field cannot be associated with the correct 853/863 pairs if there are multiples because of the specific usage of the linking subfield $8 for holdings records (i.e. only to link 85X/86X pairs).

2.3. Type vs. title of supplement or index.

It has not always been clear what the distinction is between "Type of supplementary material/index" in fields 854-855 and "Title of supplementary material/index" in fields 864-865. Field 854-855 subfield $o is a caption (e.g. annual buyers' guide; subject index) that describes the supplementary material or index. The subfield in 864-865 is defined as a title. The format specifies to include title in 864-865$o when it is different than the type (i.e. caption) in 85X subfield $o.

An example of a different type and title that could be recorded is Chemical Abstracts, which includes a general subject index and a chemical substance index (among others). (View image of title pages below.) Using 855/865 subfield $o, the title could be recorded as follows (the full fields are not included):

855 $o subject index
865 $o General subject index
855 $o subject index
865 $o Chemical substance index

2.4. CONSER publication pattern initiative

Use of field 844 is currently the approach specified by the holdings format, although it does not appear to be widely used or accepted for serial holdings. Further guidance and/or changes to the holdings format is necessary to distinguish field 844 from subfield $o if this approach were to be followed.

A problem with using field 844 in separate holdings records for the CONSER Publication Pattern Initiative is that participants in the project are currently adding a local OCLC field 891 in the bibliographic record to contain pattern information. From the project guidelines:

Within the OCLC record, the tag [i.e. 891] is always the same regardless of the data
content; but within the field, a subfield $9 carries the tag actually intended for MARC
holdings output. The indicators of the 891 field become the indicators of the destination
tag when it is output via programming to a MARC holdings record or a MARC-based
serials control program. Each new pattern requires a pair of fields tagged 891, the first
with a subfield $9 85X, the second with $9 86X.


891 20 $9 853 $8 1 $a v. $b no. [pattern for quarterly, cal. chg. 21] $i (year) $j (season)
891 41 $9 863 $8 1.1 $a 5A $b 1 $i 1998 $j 21

Since field 891 is embedded in a bibliographic record because that is the current mechanism for sharing patterns between participants (rather than communicated in holdings records), the use of field 844 embedded in a bibliographic record does not conform to the holdings format. It is not included in the list of fields that may be embedded in a bibliographic record because of the possibility of multiple 853-855/863-865 pairs that cannot be associated with the correct field 844 if there are multiple "name of units". Thus, the project would need to determine a way to accommodate this information in one of the allowable fields.

Another possibility might be to extend the use of the link and sequence subfield $8 to allow for associating field 844 with a field 85X/86X pair. Currently the link and sequence subfields are used in the holdings format only for associating the caption and pattern information with the enumeration and chronology or textual holdings fields, although subfield $8 has been defined as a generalized linking technique between fields with the use of a link type code. To use this, a link type code would need to be defined, and any fields could be embedded in bibliographic records. However, in previous discussions of the practice of embedding holdings data in bibliographic records, creating separate holdings records was considered a cleaner approach, given the potential complexity of a bibliographic record with multiple linked holdings fields.

2.5. Subfield $o

Defining subfield $o for this information in 853/863 either as a local convention for the OCLC/CONSER project or as a proposal for change in the holdings format is possible. This would have implications for the already defined field 844 which contains the same type of information. If proposed as a format change, it would have to make explicit how to distinguish "Name of Unit" recorded in field 844 from "Type of unit" in 853 and "Title of unit" in field 863. (For instance, would it only be if it's a serial? But then it would be contrary to the definition of "Name of Unit" in the new holdings standard.)


  1. Should field 844 be used for all names or titles of a basic bibliographic unit whether serial or non-serial?

  2. If yes, should subfield $o be made obsolete in 854-855 and 864-865? Or could it continue to be used only for supplement or index titles, while field 844 would be used for basic bibliographic unit titles?

  3. If subfield $o is retained, what sort of guidelines are needed to distinguish between that in 854-855 (Type of supplement/index) and 864-865 (Title of supplement/index)?

  4. What options are there for the CONSER project using holdings fields embedded in bibliographic records if field 844 is the desired approach?

  5. Should it be considered to have two alternatives available in the format depending upon the complexity of the situation? This could include the definition of $o in fields 853/863 for simple situations, but specify the optional use of 844 for more complex situations that would result in many repeated 85X/86X pairs.

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