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DATE: May 21, 2012

NAME: Making the 250 Field Repeatable in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: Library of Congress

SUMMARY: This proposal addresses the need for a repeatable 250 field in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format in order to better accommodate edition statements for music and other resources cataloged according to RDA.

KEYWORDS: Field 250 (BD); Edition Statement (BD)


05/21/12 - Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

06/24/12 – Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: Rejected.  The proposal, from an LC music cataloger group, raised concern about whether the MLA music specialists agreed with the proposal and how it would be used for other forms of material.  It was suggested that the issues be reviewed by MLA before any further proposals be made.

07/25/12 - Results of LC/LAC/BL review - Agreed with the MARBI decision.

Proposal No. 2012-05: Making the 250 Field Repeatable in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format


With the implementation of RDA, data from notated music recorded under AACR2 in the 254 field, and certain data recorded in the 245 field, will be recorded in the 250 field.  Moving to the 250 from the 254 field will be what in AACR2 chap. 5.3 is known as the Musical Presentation Statement, “a statement found in the chief source of information indicating the physical presentation of the music”. (AACR2 chap. 5 is titled “Music” and covers “published music”; the 254 field is not used for sound recordings.)  Also moving to the 250 field under RDA are certain statements that now relate to the edition, such as “piano reduction” or “vocal score”, which were recorded in the 245 field under AACR2.

Under RDA, information covered by all of these AACR2 rules is covered by RDA Designation of Edition.  The general scope of RDA is “a word, character, or group of words and/or characters, identifying the edition to which a resource belongs”.  Further guidance in the instruction is provided by a list of possible attributes of resources that are meant to be covered, including “a particular format or physical presentation” and “a particular voice range or format for notated music as evidence that such a statement is a designation of edition”.

For notated music, the result of the RDA changes is that, not only will standard edition statements like “2nd ed.” be recorded in the 250 field, but also statements typical of musical works, such as the physical format of the music and the voice range.  Music resources, most notably notated music, often contain information relevant to several of these categories.  Consequently, under RDA, a single 250 field in a bibliographic record may have recorded in it several entirely different statements.  Furthermore, it is not unusual for each statement to appear with a parallel statement in another language. Crowded together in a single field, these discrete elements of information, including their respective languages and punctuation, have to be sorted out by the end user in order to make the field intelligible.  Were each separate statement given its own 250 field, that area of the bibliographic record would be much easier to understand.


2.1. Current definition of Field 250

2.2. Discussion

The desirability of enabling field 250 to be repeatable can be demonstrated with an example of what would be recorded there from a printed music resource.  The example contains a standard statement representing a numbered edition, a physical format statement, and a statement that the resource also contains an arrangement for piano by a named person.  The example also represents a resource where the relevant information is given in two languages.  This is how the information would be recorded now, all in a single 250 field:

250 ## $a Erste Ausgabe =$b First edition, Partitur und Stimmen = Score and parts, Klavierauszug / von Otmar Mayer = Piano reduction / by Otmar Mayer

Spreading the individual statements out, each in its own 250 field, provides a better eye-readable result and improves understanding of the edition element of the resource:

250 ## $a Erste Ausgabe =$b First edition.
250 ## $a Partitur und Stimmen = $b Score and parts.
250 ## $a Klavierauszug /$b von Otmar Mayer = Piano reduction / by Otmar Mayer.

While relatively few music resources contain all three types of edition designation as this example does, it is common in printed resources to have two types, and it is common for the resource to present the information in more than one language.


Enable field 250 to be repeatable in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format.

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