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MARC Fields


J. McRee (Mac) Elrod - 30 September 2013

Machine Readable Cataloguing (MARC) records are the bibliographic (now used to refer to all library resources, not just books) information, coded for manipulation by a computer. Perhaps their most common use is to create Online Public Access Catalogue (OPAC) displays, although they have been used to print catalogue cards, produce fiche catalogues, and print book catalogues. They are also used for acquisitions, circulation, and to print spine labels.

MARC records are composed of "fixed fields" in which certain information (such as date and place of publication) is coded in a consistent spot (designed in the 1960s when it was more difficult to search electronic information), and "variable fields" in which the information called for by the International Bibliographic Description (ISBD) is coded using numbered field tags. Some fields also have indicators, numbers between the tag and data, which indicate such things as how many spaces to skip in filing, e.g., "4" for "The " (the
initial article plus one space). Variable fields have subfields, e.g., 245$aTitle proper :$bsubtitle /$cstatement of responsibility, with ISBD punctuation.

The fields are numbered in 100s by type. 0XX include standard numbers and classification numbers, such as 020 International Standard Bibliographic Number (ISBN), 050 Library of Congress Classification (LCC), 082 Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC); 1XX are main entries, such as 100 author, 130 Uniform title; 2XX is the main descriptive paragraph, e.g., 245 title, 250 edition 264 imprint; 300 is collation, 490 series, and 5XX notes; 6XX are subject entries, and 7XX added entries, e.g., 700 for a joint author.

The clever paragraph numbering is beginning to break down, for example, 246 is now used for some added title entries, and series as not on the item or not entered by title are in 8XX; 810 series under corporate body was originally 410.

For a complete list see:

Common MARC fields:

LDR: Leader, and 006 through 008, are known as fixed fields. That means the information is coded in a predetermined position and order. Information about the item being described which was implicit for a unit catalogue card is here made explicit for a computer. LDR/06, for example, codes the type of material:

a = language material
g = visual material (see 008/33 for further breakdown)
i = non musical sound recording
j = musical sound recording
m = computer file, i.e., program or game (text in electronic form is
coded "a")
o = kit

001: RSN, record sequence number or control number (at least the last six numbers of the SLC control number should be used as control number in an SLC supported OPAC to insure overwriting for corrected and changed records)

006 & 007 are used when there are additional characteristics which need to be recorded in fixed fields, e.g., LDR is coded text, but that text is in micro or electronic form, or there is accompanying material in a differing form. 008 type information is coded in 006, while physical characteristics, e.g., the sound recording is a cassette, is recorded in 007. In 006/00 a computer file is "m", and in 007/00 a computer file is "c". The positions in 006, 007, and 008 vary with type of material (LDR/06, 006/00, 007/00).

The LDR and MARC field 008 are broken up into separate fixed fields with abbreviated names in most systems. PC based OPACs make little use of most. Different systems give them in different orders, e.g., the order in the record, or alphabetically. The more common ones are:

Type (LDR/06) type of material, see above.

Bib lvl (LDR/07) bibliographic level, e.g., m = monograph, s = serial

Date tp (008/06) type of date, e.g., s = single, m = multiple

Date 1 (008/07-10) date one (if possible, the result set of subject searches should display in reverse order by this date, e.g., newest title first)

Date 2 (008/11-14) date two (9999 for an open entry) Ctry (008/15-17) country code, e.g., nyu = New York, United States; onc = Ontario, Canada

Frequn (008/18) frequency of serial, e.g., a = annual, m = monthly, q = quarterly

Cont (008/24-27) particular nature of contents, e.g., r = directory

Govt Pub (008/28) government publication, e.g., f = federal, s = state or provincial

Conf pub (008/29) conference, i.e., 1 = conference publication

Type mat (008/33) type of visual material, e.g., f = filmstrip, g = game, m = motion picture, v = video recording

Lang (008/35-37) language code, e.g., eng = English

Common variable fields include the following. Not all libraries map all fields, e.g., a library might not map classification numbers other than their own in their OPAC.

010: LCCN
020: ISBN
$a correct number
$z incorrect number, including print ISBN is electronic record
$q qualifier, e.g., $qpbk. formerly (pbk.)
022: ISSN
040 Cataloguing institution, language, cataloguing code. The order of subfields is 040$a$b$e$c$d.
050: LC classification number
055: Canadian classification number used with LC numbers
082: DC classification number
090: $alocal call number (SLC uses $blocation, $ccopies, $dvolumes) [Systems vary. OCLC uses this only for LC local call number, and 092 for DDC local call numbers. Some systems use a different field altogether]
100: Author main entry
110: Corporate main entry
111: Conference main entry
130: Uniform title as a main entry, e.g., Bible
240: Uniform title after 1XX main entry, e.g, Symphony ...
245: $aTitle proper $h[general material designation] :$bsubtitle /$cstatement of responsibility; also =$bTitle in another language
246: Title added entry representing whole work, e.g., a distinctive subtitle [2nd indicator may indicate source and create note, e.g., 4 = cover, 5 = added title page, 6 = caption, 7 = running, 8 = spine; some other phrase, e.g., At head of title, is coded 246 1 $i]
247: Previous title of an integrating resource.
250: Edition
256: Digital file characteristics [cf. 300$b]
256: Country of motion picture production [cf, 651 Place $v Drama,
655 Genre $z Place (contral LCFGT).]
260: $aPlace :$bPublisher,$cyear AACR2 Sometimes $e(Place of manufacture :$fReproducer,$gyear)
264 Detailed imprint. RDA
264 1 $a$b$c replaces 260 $a$b$c publisher
264 2 $a$b$c distributor
264 3 $a$b$c replaces 260 $e($f$g)
264 4 $ccopyright year if different from imprint year
Field 264 is repeating, with first indicator for sequence (2 intervening, 3 current).
300: Collation (may include specific material designation or unit name,
e.g., DVD when 245$h is [videorecording], or 338 is videodisc)
336: RDA media content term
337: RDA media type term
338: RDA media carrier term
344: Sound characteristics [cf. 538.]
345-346: Projection characteristics [cf. 538.]
347: Digital file characteristics [cf. 256.]
440: Series as on item and traced in older records (obsolete)
490: Series as on item. Cf. 830
500: General notes
501: With note
502: Thesis note
503: Bibliographic history note (SLC continues to use even though obsolete)
504: Bibliography note
505: Contents note.
508: Production/credits for motion picture; prefer to 245/$c
511: Participants note, e.g., performers, speakers at a conference
518: Date and place, e.g., of a performance or conference
520: Summary (Most often used with AV material)
525: Supplements
546: Language of text, e.g., Text in English and French on inverted pages
600: Person as a subject
610: Corporate body as a subject
611: Corporate body as subject
630: Title as a subject
655: Genre, e.g., Feature film
695: Used by SLC for titles and authors of papers given at law symposia, for entering on QL.
700: Person as an added entry
710: Corporate body as an added entry
711: Conference as an added entry
730: Uniform title as an added entry
740: Analytic or related title added entry (For a part of the work, or for a related work mentioned in a note.)
780/785: Earlier/later title for a serial
830: Series as traced; may be same as or different from 490
852: Holdings in some systems
856: URL

Subfield coding and ISBD punctuation is used in MARC fields. The "--" between fields in the same paragraph are supplied by the system rather than being in the records.

100 $aAuthor Surname, Given Names,$ddates.
245 14* $aThe title$h[general material designation]** :$bsubtitle /$cstatement of responsibility ; other responsibility.
246 30 $aAlternate title
250 $aEdition.
260 $aPlace, Jurisdiction :$bPublisher,$cyear.
300 $apaging, volumes, or other extent :$bill. ;$csize. +$eitem accompanying. ***
336 $aRDA content type
337 $aRDA media type
338 $aRDA carrier type
440 $aSeries ;$vno. (obsolete)
490 1 $aSeries as on item.
500 $aNote.
501 $aWith note.
502 $aThesis note.
503 $aBibliographic history note (obsolete)
504 $aBibliography note.
505 $aContents note
506 $aLimitation on access note.
508 $aNon cast credits note.
511 $aCast credits note.
540 $aLimitations on use not.
546 $aLanguage(s) note.
586 $aSystems requirements note.
650 0 $aTopic$xTopic subdivision$zPlace subdivision$yPeriod subdivision$vForm subdivision.
700 1 $aAdditional Author Surname, Given Names.
710 $aCorporat name added entry.
711 $aCongerence added entry
730 $aUniform title added entry.
740 0 $aTitle of related work or part.
77X Monograph linking fields
780/785 Serial linking fields
830 0 $aSeries as traced.
856 $u URL of resource or related resource.

* Some MARC fields have indicators. Here "1" means make a title added entry; if there were no 1XX, the 1st indicator would be "0". The 2nd "4" indicator means skip 4 spaces in filing, in this case T, h, e & space. If the title had not begun without "A", "An", or "The" the 2nd indicator would have been "0".

**The general material designation is used in AACR2 for nonbook material, e.g., $h[videorecording], $h[electronic resource. Replaced by 33X in RDA.

Judith Hopkins has written:

"I think it important to distinguish between the MARC formats (and there are more than one; in addition to the Bibliographic Format which is the one we usually think of when we say MARC there is also the Authority Format, the Holdings Format, the Classification Format, and the Community Information Format) and the bibliographic data that we put into the MARC Bibliographic format and the Authority format. The data and how it is formulated is based on the various ISBDs, cataloging codes (usually AACR2r in the English-speaking world), classification systems such as LCC and Dewey, subject heading authority lists such as LCSH, MeSH, etc. We had catalogs (in book form, card form, microform, etc.) based on these systems and codes long before we had MARC. The MARC formats are holders into which we place the data.

"Also, in addition to the various MARC formats listed above there are national, regional, and vendor-specific MARC formats. Earlier responses to the list have already referred to some of these. There are USMARC, CANMARC (now united in MARC 21), UKMARC, South African MARC, Australian MARC, UNIMARC, OCLC MARC, RLIN-MARC. While each of these is somewhat different from the others they all have the following in common: their structure is based on international standards: ANSI Z39.2 and ISO 2709.

"While the various MARCs were designed as communication structures many (most?) organizations and vendors use modifications of MARC as internal processing structures.

"Be careful to distinguish among the various online catalog functions that the MARC formats make possible: indexing, searching, display. For example, a title index in one library may index 130, 240, 245, 246, x40, x30 fields and within fields perhaps subfields a, b, n, and p. Another library may not include the 130 field and might include different
subfields. What is important is that the choices are made in terms of the MARC structure; as an earlier respondent pointed out, the MARC content tags serve as a convenient shorthand to represent various bibliographic elements and/or combinations of elements.

"Whatever fields and subfields are included in the title index, different subfields (e.g., all defined for the relevant fields) may be displayed in the output. How the display looks on the screen (MARC order, card format, labelled, etc.) is irrelevant; all three displays are based on the same MARC record. So, if you like/dislike a particular library's output display of records that has nothing to do with liking or disliking MARC. What MARC provides is the shorthand way of defining what is displayed (e.g., a personal name field consists of the contents of the x00 fields and, usually, all the subfields they contain.); the Title Proper and Statement of Responsibility Area consists of the 245 field and subfields a,b,and c in that order).