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12/17/2007 - Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

02/14/2008 - Results of the MARC Advisory Committee discussion - Dealing with legacy data was discussed in detail. Although some participants were concerned that their system vendors could not convert field 440 into field 490, it was pointed out that based on the MARC Principles, obsolete data fields are allowed to remain in valid records. Participants also expressed concern that making field 440 obsolete would cause repetition of data in fields 490 and 800-830. However, one committee member pointed out that conserving system storage space is no longer a concern for most systems in today's computer environment. There was also discussion that making field 440 obsolete should be treated as an implementation policy issue, rather than a change to the bibliographic format. Participants generally agreed to define subfield $x (ISSN) in the 800-830 fields to enhance indexing of series added entries. It was mentioned that including content designation for other identifiers, such as the ISBN, may be beneficial. It was suggested to divide making field 440 obsolete and defining subfield $x in fields 800-830 into two proposals.

Discussion Paper 2008-DP02: Making field 440 obsolete


Field 440 (Series Statement/Added Entry) is used to record a series appearing on a resource when it is identical to the established form of the series. The field is used both for transcription and to provide an authorized added entry in the bibliographic record.

Fields 800-830 (Series Added Entry fields) contain a name/title or a title used as a series added entry when the series statement is contained in field 490 (Series Statement) or field 500 (General Note) and a series added entry is required for the bibliographic record.

The intention of this discussion paper is to resolve the long-standing problem of field 440 being both a descriptive field and a controlled access point. Separating the two functions will result in a more reliable description and easier maintenance through authority control over time.

Making field 440 obsolete has been a topic of discussion over the years and was suggested in MARBI Proposal 89-7 in 1989, which was not approved. Several developments have revived the topic recently among Program for Cooperative Cataloging (PCC) members. Tools for matching added entries on bibliographic records with authorized forms in authority records now exist and rely on the presence of the 8XX fields to work. These tools include OCLC Connexion’s “Control Headings” feature and a variety of programs designed for local library maintenance and vendors. Discussions arising from LC’s change in series policies in 2006 focused on simplifying practices for libraries and vendors that continue series work.

The decision making process used to correctly code the 440 versus the 490 and 8XX fields is complex and could be simplified without an adverse impact on local systems or OCLC. Simplified decision-making would also assist in training new staff and enhance series work-flows in libraries.

Proposal No. 2007-06 (Changes for the German and Austrian Conversion to MARC 21) noted that the German and Austria library community in making the move to MARC 21 intended to use only the 490 and 8XX fields, leaving aside the complexity of field 440.


Many local library systems have the tools to match 8XX series added entries in bibliographic records to authorized forms in authority records and to make global corrections when needed. Similarly, OCLC’s Connexion “Control Headings” feature identifies authorized headings in bibliographic records and has the potential to provide global corrections. This feature is based on data supplied in the 8XX fields.

If a library wishes to make use of these tools to assure that corrections can be made to all authorized headings appearing in bibliographic records, the 440 field must be re-keyed to field 490 and a field 8XX created. Editing of records for this purpose takes place locally or is done by authority vendors for many libraries. Automated tools can accomplish much of the work needed to make this transformation, but a significant number of cases require manual intervention.

The decision making needed to correctly code series statements and added entries involves multiple steps and is difficult to get across to staff new to series work on bibliographic records. The contrast in decision making between current practice and the proposed change are summarized in comments made by a CONSER member in July 2006:

The proposal requires multiple fields for those recording both the series statement and the series access point, but simplifies the process conceptually. It has the potential to simplify procedures for staff working with series statements and access on bibliographic records. The CONSER standard record requires only recording the series access point and does not require recording of the series statement as long as the series information is transcribed appropriately in the series authority record.

Current definitions of fields 440 and 490.

Field 440 is currently defined as follows:

Field 490 is currently defined as follows:

Impact of making 440 obsolete

The PCC membership discussed a proposal to develop a program practice of a voiding use of the 440 in favor of using the 490/8XX in July 2006. This was partly in response to LC’s series policy announcement in June 2006. There seemed to be general overall support for the idea although there were some concerns mentioned. Some libraries have procedures in place to use automated systems or vendors to regularly copy series statements from 4XX to 8XX fields for verification. If the verified form matches the 4XX, changing it back to 440 might change punctuation, diacritics etc. due to normalization in an automated environment. Making the 440 obsolete would simplify the process, with verified forms (whether they were initially tagged 490 or 440) always retained in the 8XX.

This paper makes the assumption (based on comments from OCLC staff during the comment period in 2006) that OCLC would investigate changing existing records in WorldCat to move data from the 440 field to the 490 and 8XX fields, The parameters for selecting which records to change automatically (e.g. would this apply to preAACR2 records as well?, what is the impact on multi-part monographs?, etc.) would require further discussion with OCLC. Consideration will need to be given to how the changes will be done in regard to nonfiling characters, since field 440 has an indicator to specify number of characters to be disregarded, so articles are entered in the field. Field 830 has a nonfiling indicator, but CONSER policy not to include initial articles. Thus, if changes are made automatically there may be issues in moving the data from 440 fields to 8XX fields.

490 first indicator and 8XX subfield for standard numbers

The first indicator in 490 could be redefined. With the current definition of 490 “Series statement”, the first indicator value “1” could be changed from “Series traced differently” to “Series traced in 8XX fields.”

An alternative is to simply make the coding of the first indicator value of 490 obsolete. Values for the first indicator for existing records would be deleted in OCLC and local systems, the decision to trace or not would be apparent from the presence or absence of an 8XX field.

Recording ISSN and ISBN in 8XX fields

Under current definitions, the ISSN can only be provided in the 490 and 440. With implementation of the CONSER standard record, many records contain only the series access point in the 8XX field. It may be desirable to also define subfield $x for ISSN in 8XX fields. An alternative would be to define a way to record ISSN associated with the series in the 022 field, but the ISSN Network has not been consulted on this question, and this may not be a desirable approach.

There is also the need to consider recording ISBN associated with multipart monographs. A subfield $z could be defined for this purpose in the 8XX fields. Alternatively, a means to record ISBN of the series could be pursued in the 020 field.


  1. Will there be a major impact in making field 440 obsolete?
  2. Is it better to redefine the first indicator value 1 to "series traced in 8XX" or to make the first indicator obsolete?
  3. Is it necessary to record standard numbers of series (i.e. ISSN and ISBN) in the bibliographic records of the item within the series if the series standard numbers are already recorded in series authority records?
  4. Is the approach of defining $x and $z for ISSN and ISBN respectively sufficient for recording standard numbers of series associated with the resource?

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