PROPOSAL NO.: 2002-05

DATE: December 18, 2001

NAME: Expansion of Regularity Pattern Coding in Fields 853-855 Subfield $y in the MARC 21 Holdings Format

SOURCE: CONSER Task Force on Publication Patterns and Holdings

SUMMARY: This paper proposes a number of changes to MARC Fields 853-8555, subfield $y content to accommodate regularity of a publication pattern when it is expressed in enumeration as well as to provide a means to designate combinations or ranges of enumeration and/or chronology with a view toward improving the expression of regularity in cases of high frequency titles.

KEYWORDS: Regularity pattern (HD); Subfield $y, in field 853-855 (HD)

RELATED: 92-22 (June 1992); 98-08 (June 1998); 2001-DP10 (June 2001); 2001-DP11 (June 2001)


12/18/01 - Made available to the MARC 21 community for discussion.

01/21/02 - Results of the MARC Advisory Committee discussion - Approved.

03/20/02 - Results of LC/NLC review - Approved.

PROPOSAL NO. 2002-05: Expansion of Regularity Pattern Coding in Fields 853-855 Subfield $y


Currently, the prediction patterns that can be coded in fields 853-855 do not offer sufficient opportunities to express spanned enumeration and chronology for serial issues. Issue descriptions that incorporate spanned chronology refer to those whose chronology cover an interval of time involving more than one time period such as year or month. An example might be an annual publication that encompasses a time period that includes two calendar years, e.g. 2000/2001. Spanned enumeration typically encompasses, in a single physical issue, sufficient material to embrace the content of multiple issues. An example would be found in the "Journal of Non-Crystalline Solids" whose issue for October 11, 2000 has the enumeration of "v. 276, Nos. 1-3."

The following are inadequacies of the current coding:

Two papers were presented at the MARC Advisory Committee meetings held in June 2001 in San Francisco dealing with some of the inadequacies of coding for these aspects of regularity. Discussion Paper 2001-DP10 (Incrementing intervals in publication patterns in the MARC 21 Holdings Format) concerned methods to code for titles with multiple basic components that sequence their enumeration with skipped numbers, such as the practice of using either even or odd numbers to identify serial issues. Discussion Paper 2001-DP11 (Spans of enumeration and chronology in expressing publication patterns in the MARC 21 Format for Holdings Data) explored alternatives for expressing patterns for enumeration and chronology that span issues or years. Consensus of the meeting participants was for LC to develop a proposal expanding subfield $y to include the ability to express regularity in terms of enumeration by defining a new enumeration code.


Expansion of the structure of subfield $y of the MARC 853-855 fields can provide greater flexibility in expressing normalized irregular behavior in serial publications. Several measures are recommended here.

2.1. Problems with combined numbering.

Currently, limited opportunities to express spanned chronology are covered in $y, Regularity Pattern. In the current model, if a title combines its July and August issues, one can issue the following 85X prediction:

Example 1.

853 02 $av. $bno. $u11 $vr $wm $ypm01,02,03,04,05,06,07/08,09,10,11,12
    [an item published 11 times per year with the months of July and August combined into a single, physical issue]

which may yield a prediction as follows:

v.1 no. 1 2001, Jan v.1 no. 7 2001, Jul/Aug
v.1 no. 2 2001, Feb v.1 no. 8 2001, Sep
v.1 no. 3 2001, Mar v.1 no. 9 2001, Oct.
v.1 no. 4 2001, Apr v.1 no. 10 2001, Nov
v.1 no. 5 2001, May v.1 no. 11 2001, Dec
v.1 no. 6 2001, June  

In cases where the combined July/August issue has both enumeration and chronology combined, it cannot currently be coded distinctly from the above. An example is an item published 11 times per year with the months of July and August combined but no specific way to indicate that the second level of enumeration for issues numbered 7 and 8 were combined into a single, physical issue as follows:

Example 2.

v.1 no. 1 2001, Jan v.1 no. 7/8 2001, Jul/Aug
v.1 no. 2 2001, Feb v.1 no. 9 2001, Sep
v.1 no. 3 2001, Mar v.1 no. 10 2001, Oct
v.1 no. 4 2001, Apr v.1 no. 11 2001, Nov
v.1 no. 5 2001, May v.1 no. 12 2001, Dec
v.1 no. 6 2001, June  

The first example demonstrates combined months in the chronology where the enumeration does not combine. The second example depicts the chronology and enumeration in combination for the same physical issue. As long as the format can only express combinations in terms of chronology, it is impossible to differentiate and predict the way in which the combination of chronology impacts on the sequencing of the enumeration. Similarly, it is not possible to express ranges of enumeration where chronological data are not applied to the subscription's sequencing.

2.2. Add code "c" for combined as a publication code to Subfield $y.

The current publication code "p" (published) requires explicitly encoding the representative values for all instances of the publication as expressed through its chronology to delineate normalized irregular sequencing behaviors such as combinations. High frequency titles like weeklies that combine only a few of a year's weekly issues are not well served in this situation. The operator is forced to designate every weekly issue in order to indicate that only two of its weekly issues are published in combination. The provision of a new value, "c" in the Publication Code would allow for the expression of regularity by coding only the specific weeks that are combined rather than forcing the operator to designate all the normal and abnormal weekly issues.

Example 3.

853 20 $81.0 $a(year) $b(month) $c(day) $ww $ycw1203/1204
    [Item is published weekly except that it combines the third and fourth weeks in December.]

2.3. Add an Enumeration Code, similar in function to the Chronology Code, in the second and third positions after $y.

With current coding provided in the format, we cannot not now use $y to express regularity in terms of enumeration, but only in terms of chronology. Since it is difficult to delineate the behavior of enumerative sequencing when chronology is combined, it is necessary to define a code to allow the corresponding behavior in enumerations to be expressed.

Subfield $y in fields 853-855 contains codes that describe the regularity of the publishing pattern. The subfield is structured as follows:

<Publication Code><Chronology Code Definition><Chronology Code>,<Chronology Code>,...

The subfield currently contains one or more chronology codes that are associated with the publication code and chronology code definition that are in the first and second character positions of the subfield.

The following could be defined:
(1st position: Publication code)
2nd position: Enumeration code definition (e=enumeration, primary; f=enumeration, alternative)
3rd position: Level of enumeration regularity (e.g. 1, 2, 3)

For a list of the current codes available in subfield $y see:

Thus, the enumeration combination of "$yce13/4" would denote that the first level of enumeration combines for the third and fourth issues. This approach allows for accommodation of enumeration "skips", providing an opportunity to encode the explicit enumeration when the next issue in a sequence skips a number or numbers in the enumeration in describing its next published issue. Note that when code "e" is used in the second position of subfield $y, it is followed by a numeric to indicate the enumeration level before the codes representing the issue numbers. This approach is somewhat different than the practice of a chronology code definition which is immediately followed by the chronology codes. The values following the enumeration code would not have 0 fills, since the enumeration values could theoretically be of any length, as opposed to chronology codes, which are fixed length. A system could parse these, since the first three character positions in the $y string would represent the enumeration code followed by enumeration values.

Consider the example of a serial that is received 11 times per year with combined enumeration in July and August, using proposed publication code "c" and proposed enumeration code "e".

Example 4.

853 02 $81.0 $av. $bno. $u12 $vr $i (year) $j(month) $wm $yce27/8 $yom08
    [This item is published 11 times per year with combined enumeration in July and no publication in August. The subfield is repeated for the enumeration exception as well as the chronology exception to the general regularity pattern.]

would describe:

v.1 no. 1 2001, Jan v.1 no. 7/8 2001, July
v.1 no. 2 2001, Feb v.1 no. 09 2001, Sep
v.1 no. 3 2001, Mar v.1 no. 10 2001, Oct
v.1 no. 4 2001, Apr v.1 no. 11 2001, Nov
v.1 no. 5 2001, May v.1 no. 12 2001, Dec
v.1 no. 6 2001, June  

The following can also be expressed:

Example 5.

853 02 $81.0 $av. $bno. $u12 $vr $i (year) $j(month) $wm $yce27/8 $ycm07/08
    [This title is published 11 times per year, combines in its second level enumeration (for issues seven and eight) and combines chronology (July and August).]

which could yield the prediction detailed above in Example 2, with combined enumeration as well as combined chronology.

This example points up how the introduction of the "c" publication code describes sequencing behavior without having to iterate all the instances of months that did not combine.

Example 6.

853 02 $81.0 $av. $bno. $u11 $vr $i(year) $j(month) $w11 $ycm07/08
    [an item published 11 times per year with combined chronology and no combination in the enumeration.]

which would describe:

v.1 no. 1 2001, Jan v.1 no. 7 2001, Jul/Aug
v.1 no. 2 2001, Feb v.1 no. 8 2001, Sep
v.1 no. 3 2001, Mar v.1 no. 9 2001, Oct
v.1 no. 4 2001, Apr v.1 no. 10 2001, Nov
v.1 no. 5 2001, May v.1 no. 11 2001, Dec
v.1 no. 6 2001, June  

2.4. Skipped enumeration with publication code "p".

The use of an enumeration code with the "p" value in its Publication Code would provide for skipped enumeration on a regular basis. Consider a title whose enumeration is expressed as follows:

v. 1, no. 1, v. 1 no. 3, v. 1 no. 5, v.1, no. 7, v. 1, no. 9, v. 1, no. 11

The following 853 field could be applied:

Example 7.

853 02 $81.0 $av. $bno. $u6 $vr $i(year) $j(month) $wb $ype21,3,5,7,9,11
    [a title published six times per year whose enumeration "skips" numbers at the second level using only odd numbers that restart at the turn of the calendar year]

which yields the following prediction:

v.1, no. 1, Jan., 2001
v.1, no. 3, Mar, 2001
v.1, no. 5, May, 2001

v.1, no. 7, July, 2001
v.1, no. 9, Sep., 2001
v.1, no. 11, Nov., 2001
v.2, no. 1, Jan., 2002

2.5. Application to continuous numbering in enumeration levels

A particular challenge to the expression of exceptions represented in Subfield $y occurs in cases where there is combined enumeration characterized by continuous numbering, especially for high frequency titles.

  v. 10, no. 2121, January 1, 2001

(The value after the second level of enumeration (2121) represents continuous numbering.)

In the preceding examples, techniques were described for representing regularly combined issues encompassing spanned values that restart. Succeeding examples will explore the means by which spanned values for enumeration with continuous numbering can be understood.

Example 8.

This title is published in fifty-one continuously numbered weekly issues. Issues dated in the fourth and fifth weeks of December (the fifty-first and fifty-second issues of the subscription year) are published in a combined issue. Using the proposed regularity codes "c" and "e" the pattern could be expressed as follows:

853 02 $8 1.0 $av. $bno. $u51 $vc $i(year) $j(month) $ww $ycw1204/1205 $yce251/52

The enumeration of the combined issue is expressed by defining the publication of the combined
issue in terms of the total expected issues. The resulting prediction can then be expressed:

first weekly issue/2001: v. 10, no. 2121 Jan. 1, 2001
fifty-first weekly issue/2001: v. 10, no. 2172/2173 Dec. 24/Dec. 31, 2001
first weekly issue/2002 v. 11, no. 2174 Jan. 7, 2002

The presence of continuous numbering (Subfield $v = c) in conjunction with an enumeration code under Subfield $y signals the combination of specific numbers in the sequence of expected issues. Because of the continuous numbering, actual numbers cannot be used to express enumeration in the second subfield $y. This representational coding permits the data manipulation to effect the combined issue prediction. In Example no. 8, the 51/52 is offered in Subfield $yce2 to help us understand the specific set of enumeration affected by the combination. In this case, it will be the 51st and 52nd issue numbers at the second level that are combined every year. Knowing this, it is possible to derive the values of the second level of enumeration for the combined issue.

A further illustration of the expression of combined issues using a different frequency, daily, is provided.

Example 9.

This title publishes three hundred and sixty-three continuously numbered issues in four volumes each year. Issues dated July 4th and December 25th are published as combined issues.

853 02 $81.0 $av. $bno.l $u92 $vc $i(year) $j(month) $wd $x01,04,07,10 $ycd 0704/0705, 1224/1225 $yce2185/186,358/359

This approach provides for the enumeration of combined issues to be expressed by defining a publication in terms of the total expected issues. A code representing the day of the year, expressed as a number between 1 and 365 or 366 for a leap-year (i.e. 001-365) is used in subfield $y. The flexibility to provide the following prediction is accommodated in this scheme. It could generate a prediction as follows:

v. 12, no. 3647, July 2, 2001
v. 12, no. 3648/3649, July 4/July 4, 2001
v. 12, no. 3650, July 5, 2001
v. 13, no. 3811, December 23, 2001
v. 13, no. 3812/3813, December 24/December 25, 2001
v. 13, no. 3814, December 26, 2001

2.6. Add a pattern specific note field ($n) to the 853-855 fields.

Format users may also elect to clarify their intentions by adding explanatory notes citing the specific year and issue used to prepare the pattern code. An optional pattern specific note, subfield $s, is suggested for fields 853-855 to aid in clarification.

Example 9 augmented by pattern note:

853 02 $81.0 $av. $bno. $u51 $vc $i(year) $j(month) $wd $ycd1224/1225 $yce2358/359$nBased on v. 11, no. 2172/2173, December 24/December 25, 2001.

This would allow us to give the note with the pattern that describes it, rather than giving this information at the copy level in 852$z (Public note).


In fields 853-855 (Captions and Pattern) in the MARC21 Holdings Format:

3.1. Augment the list of authorized Publication Codes under Subfield $y with a value of "c" for combined.

3.2. Add a new Enumeration Code to occupy the second and third position after Subfield $y to provide for regularity patterns for serials that use only enumeration for sequencing and/or those serials whose sequencing must be specified separately when combinations occur.

  Enumeration code definition
The second code indicates whether the subsequent codes represent enumeration rather than chronology. When code "e" is used an additional numeric code is added to indicate the level of enumeration.
  e1 - Enumeration, lst level
  e2 - Enumeration, 2nd level
  Enumeration code
The enumeration code indicates the designation of the issue of the item for which regularity pattern information is provided. Multiple designations are separated by a comma. A slash (/) is used to designate combined issues.

3.3. Define subfield $n (Pattern note)

  $n - Pattern note
Subfield $n contains an explanatory note citing the specific year and issue used to prepare the regularity pattern coding expressed in the field.

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