ALA Midwinter 2000
Machine Readable Bibliographic Information Committee
(Saturday a.m., Sunday p.m.)

This report is arranged in order by proposal and discussion paper number, followed by reports on task forces and other business. Papers are linked to the agenda at

Proposal 2000-01: Definition of Subfield $z (Numbering scheme) in Fields 853-855 (Captions and patterns) of the MARC 21 Holdings Format Series numbering schemes can be numeric, alphabetic, alphanumeric, symbolic, etc. The proposal offered two options: single position and multiple positions, with the extra positions to be used for type of numbering. The proposal will be reworked and re-presented along the lines of option 2 with consideration of other characteristics like ordinals, direction (left or right), and letters as numbers (particular issues with Hebrew letters used in right-to-left direction).

Proposal 2000-02: Renaming of Subfield $u to Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) in Field 856 in MARC 21 formats This proposal was approved.

Proposal 2000-03: Definition of Subfield $2 (Source of term) in Field 583 of the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Holdings formats The proposal was accepted so that a code for the thesaurus can be given when recording the action information, e.g. reformatting. The $2 will be non-repeatable and each action plus thesaurus will appear in separate 583s.

Proposal 2000-04: Anonymous attribution information in personal name headings This proposal to deal with artists whose name is unknown but who is identified with a known artist, e.g. School of Rembrandt, Circle of Annibale Carracci, Workshop of Dieric Bouts, was passed with a new subfield ($j). This paper grew out of Discussion paper 115 which was proposed by the Cataloging Advisory Committee of ARLIS/NA. Considerable discussion occurred on the USMARC list before the meetings. Liz O’Keefe introduced the paper, and emphasized that the headings represented an individual and not a collection of persons. The National Library of Medicine noted that they also have followers of physicians, particularly classical era medical names, for which this device would be effective. Catalogers of cartographic materials are also interested in using the subfield. The other option for dealing with this information was $g (Miscellaneous information) and it was noted that the definition of that subfield should be clarified to indicate that it is truly miscellaneous information.

It was noted that a better title would be “Attribution information in anonymous personal name headings.”

Proposal 2000-05: Uncontrolled names as subjects in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Community Information formats The OCLC CORC Project proposed that field 653 Ind 2 be defined so that the nature of “uncontrolled index terms” could be coded even though no thesaurus was guaranteed. That is, a term could be called personal name but you wouldn’t know if it was in surname-forename order or whether it came from NAF. Since the proposal only dealt with personal or other names, and there are many other categories that could and should be defined, the motion to approve was tabled so that the proposal could be enlarged.

Proposal 2000-06: Defining URI subfields in Fields 505, 514, 520, 530, 545, 552, and 773 In earlier discussions, it was determined that URIs could be added to fields other than 856, though URIs that refer to the work represented in the 245 should be placed in the 856. Separate proposals will come to MARBI as fields are identified as needing a link. It was noted that any URI should support decision-making by the user, that is, is this link relevant? This would be possible through a display constant or label, or there should be an explanatory note with the URI. It was suggested that a record-level byte might be added to tell the machine that a URI is located in the record. MARBI approved adding a non-repeatable $u for URI to the proposed 5XX fields but not to 773 (or another subfield for URI if $u was already taken). Field 514 (Data quality note) probably needs an indicator for caption, as does Field 552 (Entity and attribute information note). Field 530 (Additional physical form available note) does have multiple version implications, but the subfield was approved. Field 545 (Biographical or historical data) generally refers to 1XX field, but the subfield was approved anyway. A URI subfield in Field 773 was not approved because it was felt that a URI for the host item should be in the record for the host item (it should be noted that especially some special libraries may catalog analytics without having a record for the host). At least one person (John Espley, VTLS) felt that 856 should be used for all URIs, though straw polls for each 5XX were strongly tilted toward URIs in those fields.

Discussion paper 120: Community Information Format integration with the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format Many fields and subfields are being defined for both CIF and the bib format. This paper discussed the advantages and disadvantages of integrating the formats. Advantages: format maintenance much easier with one format when fields are requested for both; online services have characteristics of either and/or both formats; archival agency records are more like CIF but have been put in bib databases as AMC records. Disadvantages: many CIF items don’t have a title (OCLC requires 245 for record loading, without looking at leader) (98% of CIF records in Cleveland Public Library collection don’t have a 245, mostly agency records); archival agency records are really acting as a sort of authority record, not really a bib record; loading integrated records might be ambiguous with widely variant leaders; records can be displayed together without sharing a MARC format; input templates can be distinctive (different staff might be responsible for CIF and bib records); author and subject are not as separable in CIF items (has an effect on indexing/retrieval). After substantial discussion, a straw vote was taken and no further work will be done on integration at this time.


Z39.50 attribute set (Lenny Stovel, RLG) A new architecture for Z39.50 communication has been under development since 1996. This new architecture -- Version 3 -- will allow for hierarchy, for example, you will be able to code for subject (LCSH) rather than just subject or LC subject. There will also be a utility set of attributes, e.g. word or phrase, and a set of cross-domain attributes which will follow Dublin Core. Version 3 will also allow you to use two attribute sets, e.g. utility set and bibliographic set. For more information, see

LC report * MARC 21 authority format is at GPO and should be out in February * classification and community information are ready to go to GPO * specs update was put on the web in July 1999 and the print version will be out soon * 3-character language codes (consistent with ISO) will be implemented in about 6 months * MUMS (LC’s old catalog) is now closed * LC is working with Endeavor to make authority records accessible, hopefully by end of 2000 * indicator change for compound personal surnames will be changed as encountered by catalogers * new LCCN structure will be implemented in January 2001 * a pilot of the classification records in MARC format was being demonstrated at the LC booth

The metadata preconference developed by the CC:DA Task Force on Metadata (unofficially a joint task force with MARBI) will be held on July 6-7 before ALA Annual 2000 in Chicago. Speakers will include Cliff Lynch, Michael Gorman, and hopefully a Microsoft futurist. The cost will be approximately $235.

MARBI will cosponsor a program called “Is MARC dead?” organized by the PLA MOUSS Catalog Use Committee. Karen Coyle will discuss the MARBI point of view. This program will be held on Sunday morning of ALA Annual 2000.

MARBI will hold a joint meeting with CC:DA during Annual 2000. Probable topics: seriality rule revisions and the report of the joint task force on metadata. Jean Hirons presented a report on seriality issues and stated that a 5XX for “Latest issue consulted:” is needed; for more information, see my CC:DA report.

CEAL is considering the findings of the East Asian Character Set Task Force.

The Multilingual Record Task Force (chaired by Jo Crawford) held its first meeting at Midwinter and is compiling a summary of the issues, particularly authorities.

MARBI was also asked to cosponsor a program called “Technology and multicultural library services” with the PLA Services to Multicultural Populations Committee. Probable speakers include the director of the Queensborough Public Library, a Canadian techie, a public librarian from South Carolina, and a demystifying vendor.

notes compiled by: