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DATE: December 19, 2008

NAME: Definition of new codes for legal deposits in 008/07 (Method of Acquisition) in the MARC 21 Holdings Format

SOURCE: Biblioteca Nacional de España

SUMMARY: This paper proposes defining new codes for legal deposits in 008/07 (Method of Acquisition) in the MARC 21 Holdings Format.

KEYWORDS: Field 008/07 (HD); Method of acquisition (HD); Deposit (HD); Legal deposit (HD); Depository program (HD)



12/19/2008 - Made available to the MARC 21 community for discussion

01/24/2009 - Results of the MARC Advisory Committee discussion - Approved as amended. The definition of code d will be clarified as type of deposit unspecified, including legal deposit and other depository programs. Code l (letter L) will be added for legal deposit for those institutions which require that level of granularity. Code v was not approved; depository program will go under code d.

02/17/2009 - Results of LC/LAC/BL review - Agreed with the MARBI decision.

MARC Proposal No. 2009-02: Definition of new codes for legal deposits in 008/07 (Method of Acquisition) in the MARC 21 Holdings Format


The Biblioteca Nacional de España and other Spanish libraries have been able to code for two different deposit-type programs in the IBERMARC format in the past: “Legal deposit” and “Deposit.” Now the library community in Spain is adopting MARC 21 and would like to retain these distinctions to support acquisitions processing. These two deposit programs are described as follows.

Legal Deposit. According to the Biblioteca Nacional de España, in Spain items acquired by legal deposit are free and belong to the collecting library. An estimated 80-90% of all processed materials obtained by the Biblioteca Nacional de España come from its Legal Deposit program, thus the ability to code distinctly for “legal deposit” has been very important to its collection management activities.

Deposit library. Selected libraries in Spain also acquire items through another type of depository library program. The resources are freely received by agreement from a publishing institution that is not commercial, for example, from a government agency. However, unlike items acquired under legal deposit, these resources do not belong to the receiving library. The Biblioteca Nacional de España currently identifies items on “deposit” as resources received from a person or entity by agreement in order to preserve them.

The MARC Advisory Committee discussed Discussion Paper 2008-DP06, Coding deposit programs as methods of acquisitions in field 008/07, at the June 2008 MARBI meetings. The paper suggested either defining new codes in 008/07 of the MARC 21 Holdings format to indicate “legal deposit” and “deposit library” or to use Field 541 (Immediate Source of Acquisition) for the information.

The definition of legal deposit varies among different countries and most institutions are now using the existing code “d” (Deposit) for legal deposit and for other types of deposit. It was suggested that code “d” (Deposit) remain valid in the format for users who are satisfied with the encoding of various kinds of deposit (legal or otherwise) using that code and that two new codes that are more granular than code d be added for institutions that need to code more specifically.


The current definition of 008/07 is as follows:

The discussion of the previous paper revealed that different countries have different definitions of legal deposit and depository programs in terms of ownership and whether the items are free. Legal deposit and the rights to the items acquired are dictated by laws specific to a particular country and their meaning varies from one country to another. Sprcific facts about the source and ownership can be brought out in other MARC fields, such as 008/20 (Lending policy) and 541 (Immediate Source of Acquisition). The latter has subfields for source, owner and purchase price.

In the Holdings Format in 008/07, since current practice has been to use code “d” to code for deposit programs of any sort, a narrowing of the definition would be disruptive for existing records. Therefore, in order to allow for differentiating between different types of deposit programs, it would be possible to add two new codes for “legal deposit” and “deposit program”, leaving the current code “d” for institutions that do not need to make this distinction. In some uses, code “d” (Deposit) will always mean legal deposit, while in others it may not be specific enough to track items acquired by different deposit programs. The technique of providing both a general code and more specific ones in the same field has precedence in the definition of 008/33 (literary form) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic format, where there are both generic codes (e.g. “fiction”) and more specific ones (e.g. “novels” or “poetry”). The codes “l” for Legal deposit and “v” for Deposit program are proposed because of previous usage in Spain's IBERMARC format.

Institutions may want to provide guidance to users as to how these codes will be used in a particular country. For instance, Legal Deposit libraries in the United Kingdom, such as the British Library, Cambridge University Library and the National Library of Scotland currently use code “d” to mean legal deposit and probably would continue to do so, so may not wish to use the new codes.


In field 008/07 (Method of acquisition) in the MARC 21 Holdings Format define the following codes:

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