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MARC Authority Record


J. McRee Elrod 29 May 2011

[See at end for new fields introducted to accomodate RDA, not to be implemented before January 1st, 2013.]

This outline may be used to interpret authority records consulted in a bibliographic utility, purchased, or as a guide to creating them in a local system.

The purpose of authority records, dating from the time of card files, was to record the form of a heading (name, subject, uniform title), and to record cross references to that form from other possible forms. In addition, authorities for titles which may be
series titles also record the treatment of the series; e.g., whether the series is classed as a collection or classed separately.

Like bibliographic MARC records, authority MARC records consist of fixed and variable fields. The fixed fields are in a leader (LDR) and in 008. Some LDR positions are automatically supplied. For other positions and less used codes not given below, particularly
those introduced to accommodate RDA data elements, see MARC21:

The most commonly used fields filled in by the cataloguer are given here.

In some systems (such as ITS), LDR fixed fields are given in a window, a box for each, which makes them much easier to enter.

LDR/05 Record status
n = new
c = corrected
d, s, x = deleted, split, replaced heading; no not use

LDR/06 Type of record
z = authority
Some systems automatically supply this value.

LDR/17 Encoding level
n = complete
o = incomplete

Some systems automatically assign codes "aca" in 008/09-11, assuming
established heading, AACR2, and LCSH.

008/06 Geographic subdivision
i = indirect subject subdivision
[direct subject subdivision do longer exists]

008/09 Kind of heading
a = established heading
f = established heading with subdivision(s)
d = subdivision
b, c, e, g = references; do not use as heading

008/10 Descriptive cataloguing rules
c = AACR2
n = not applicable

008/11 Subject heading system
a = LCSH
n = not applicable

008/12 Type of series (cf 008/16 & 64X)
a = monographic series
n = not applicable

008/13 Numbered or unnumbered series
a = numbered
b = unnumbered
c = varies
n = not applicable

008/14 Heading used for 1XX and 7XX entries
a = appropriate
b = not appropriate, i.e., don't use as main or added entry
[Note that 151 place name headings may be coded "a" for use in
verifying X10 bibliographic headings.]

008/15 Heading used for 6XX entries
a = appropriate
b = not appropriate, i.e., don't use as subject entry

008/16 Heading used as series added entry
a = appropriate
b = not appropriate

008/17 Type of subject subdivision
a = topical ($x)
b = form ($v)
c = chronological ($y)
d = geographic ($z)
e = language ($x)
n = not applicable

008/28 Type of government agency
i = international
f = federal or national
s = state, provincial
l = local

008/39 Cataloguing source
blank = DLC
d = other, including local

050, 060, 082 etc.

Enter classification numbers (050 LCC, 060 NLM 082 DDC) as you would in bibliographic records; record (if any) the number associated with a subject heading, or the number used to class a series as a collection

As in bibliographic records, there are redundancies between information in fixed fields and in variable fields.

1XX fields are headings. When used to verify entries, information in subfield $t (title) and later, including $v (volumes), in bibliographic fields is not to be verified. All 1XX authority fields have subject subfields since they are also used to verify 6XX
bibliographic fields. No bibliographic 1XX field has subject subfields. Thus while $v means volumes in some bibliographic fields (730, 4XX, 8XX), $v is always form subdivision in authority fields. Remember that authorities may be established with subject
subdivisions, even though the pattern bibliographic field does not have them.

100 Personal name

Enter surname first as in field 100 of bibliographic records; may be used to verify 100, 600, 700, and 800 fields in bibliographic records.

110 Corporate name

Enter as in field 110 of bibliographic records; may be used to verify 110, 610, 710, and 810 fields in bibliographic records.

111 Conference name

Enter as in field 111 of bibliographic records; may be used to verify 111, 611, 711, and 811 fields in bibliographic records.

130 Uniform title

Enter as in field 130 of bibliographic records; may be used to verify 130, 440, 630, 730, and 830 fields in bibliographic records. Note that bibliographic record field 130 does not have $v volume subfield, but rather $v form subdivision. But it (like other 1XX
authority records) is used to verify bibliographic fields which have $v volume (440, 730, 830 in particular); $v volumes would be ignored in verification by a good authority system.

150 Topical subject term

Enter as in field 650 of bibliographic records.

151 Geographic term

Enter as in field 651 of bibliographic records. If coded "a" in 008/14, 151 geographic name headings may be used to verify X10 bibliographic headings, in addition to 651 headings. DLC uses 151 rather than 110 for geographic names in its NAF.

155 Genre term

Enter as in field 655 in bibliographic records; not yet distributed by DLC.

180 General subject subdivision

Enter as in subfield 6XX$x of bibliographic records.

181 Geographic subject subdivision

Enter as in subfield 6XX$z of bibliographic records.

182 Chronological subject subdivision

Enter as in subfield 6XX$y of bibliographic records.

185 Form subject subdivision

Enter as in subfield 6XX$v of bibliographic records.

2XX and 3XX are complex "see" and "see also" references. For the novice cataloguer, it would be best only to accept and use those established by DLC, and not attempt them locally.

4XX are "see from" references.

400 Personal name reference

Enter an alternative form of a personal name, in the same manner as the established form in 100.

410 Corporate name reference

Enter an alternative form of a corporate name, in the same manner as the established form in 110.

411 Conference name reference

Enter an alternative form of a conference name, in the same manner as the established from in 111.

430 Uniform title reference

Enter an alternative form of a uniform title (including series title), in the same manner as the established form in 130.

450 Topical subject reference

Enter term not used as subject headings under which a patron might search, from which you wish to refer to the established heading, in the same manner as a heading in 650 of a bibliographic record.

451 Geographic subject reference

Enter an alternative form of the place name from which you wish to refer to the established form, in the same manner as a heading in 651 of a bibliographic record.

455 Genre heading reference

Enter an alternative name for a genre from which you wish to refer to the form you have used, in the same manner as a heading in field 655 of a bibliographic record.

48X are for general references from subject subdivisions; these fields have not been implemented by LC or NACO.

5XX are "see also" from references, and should probably not be attempted by the beginning cataloguer; suggestions for additions of "see" and "see also" references to DLC established headings may be made to

64X are series treatment, and repeat some of the information already recorded in fixed fields; a final subfield $5 records to whom the treatment decisions apply, e.g., $5DLC.

640 Series dates of publication

Enter as in field 362 of a bibliographic record.

641 Series numbering peculiarities

Enter as in field 515 of a bibliographic record.

642 Series numbering example

Enter as in subfield 440$v of a bibliographic record; in addition $d may contain date in effect, e.g., $ditems published before <1982>.

643 Series place and publisher

Enter as in subfields 260$a$b in a bibliographic record.

Some systems display a print constant for the following 644-646 codes, but only the code is entered; e.g., 644 $an$dv.49-$5DLC, $d indicating when (volume or publication date) the provision took effect.

644 Series analysis practice
f = analyzed in full (a MARC record made for each issue)
p = analyzed in part (a MARC record made for some issues)
n = not analyzed (added to a serial holdings record)

645 Series tracing practice (added entry for series or not)
t = traced (most libraries now trace all series)
n = not traced

646 Series classification practice
c = classed as collection
m = classed with main series
s = classed separately

663-666 are references best left for DLC to establish.

7XX Heading linking entries, and 8XX Alternate graphics (e.g. nonroman data), are best probably not attempted on the local level in most libraries.

9XX fields, as in other MARC formats, are for local system definition.

Library of Congress authorities may be accessed at:

Authorities may be purchased on CD-ROM from The Library Corporation (ITS aka Bibliofile), for use with their licensed software, URL below.

Some libraries contract out the periodic authority checking of their files. There are a number of vendors providing authorities service, including:


Each has its adherents and detractors.

046 - Special Coded Dates (R)
334 – Type of Geographic Entity or Jurisdiction (R) (NEW) (under discussion) – to indicate the jurisdiction types for names of places
370 - Associated Place (R)
371 - Address (R)
372 - Field of Activity (R)
373 - Affiliation (R) - to extend the field to contain names of associated institutions for corporate bodies and rename field Associated Institution (under discussion)
374 - Occupation (R)
375 - Gender (R)
376 - Family Information (R)
377 - Associated Language (R)
378 - Fuller Form of Name (R) (NEW) (under discussion)
700 RDA form of entry during RDA test period

For cross reference codes in RDA authorities: