Report on MARBI meetings and BIBFRAME Update at ALA Midwinter, Seattle, January 2013

I want to emulate Dan by sending a version of this to ARLIS-L (for the ARLIS-L version, less about the proposals, more about the background to MARBI)

[All papers are linked to the MARBI agenda:]

Proposal No. 2013-01: Identifying Titles Related to the Entity Represented by the Authority Record in the MARC 21 Authority Format
NOTES: Defines new fields in the MARC 21 Authority Format for making titles related to the entity represented by the authority record machine-actionable. (You can still cite titles in the 670$a, but these new fields allow you to code the titles more precisely, for machine matching, display, and sorting). Field 672 is used for titles related to the entity, 673 is used for titles not related to the entity (since it is often useful to other catalogers to know that X did NOT write such and such a work. Passed, with redefinition of $a Title to $a Title proper (so that catalogers will know that this field can be used not just for the 245$a, but also the $k, $p, $n, and $f), and with addition of $f (date) to definition of field 673.

Discussion Paper No. 2013-DP03: Defining a control subfield $7 in the Series Added Entry Fields, for the Type and the Bibliographic level of the Related Bibliographic Record
NOTES: Needed by the German libraries, which use bibliographic records rather than authority records for series. Will be brought back as a proposal.

Discussion Paper No. 2013-DP04: Separating the Type of Related Entity from the RDA Relationship Designator in MARC 21 Bibliographic Format Linking Entry Fields
NOTES: RDA calls for identifying the RDA entity type (Work/Expression/Manifestation/Item) when providing an access point for a related work. RDA calls for supplying the terms in a parenthetical phrase. This is a required field in RDA, since it is expected to support the display and retrieval of related resources. There is currently no way in MARC to encode these entity terms separately, which would facilitate suppressing or offering more user friendly versions of the FRBR terms (for example, end users may wonder whether something labeled a “manifestation” was created by a disembodied spirit). The question is complicated by the fact that Joint Steering Committee is still working on relationship designators within RDA, and would prefer a very general solution that applies to all formats. Subfield $4 might be the appropriate choice, but a proposal should await more work by the JSC.

Discussion Paper No. 2013-DP02: Defining Subfields for Qualifiers to Standard Identifiers in the MARC 21 Bibliographic, Authority, and Holdings Formats
NOTES: This will have a big impact on ISSN and ISSN numbers in particular. What is really needed is a way to clearly indicate that the number in the $a subfield is for the resource being described, as opposed to an incorrect number, or a number for a related resource. Discoverability (which is served by including incorrect numbers or numbers for related resources) wars with control (what exactly is being described, and—in the case of electronic resources—being linked to?)

Proposal No. 2013-03: Making Field 250 Repeatable in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format
NOTES: Repeatable 250s are needed for recording multiple edition statements. These are particularly common in music resources, which may contain 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. But they are not unknown for, e.g. serials and multi-part resources, or even for monographs (“Canadian ed.” and “3rd ed. revised and updated”). The case for music and serials seemed stronger than for monographs, where it would be easy to make the mistake of treating as two statements information that belonged together, so some caution is needed when repeating the field. The proposal was passed as written.

Discussion Paper No. 2013-DP01: Identifying Records from National Bibliographies in MARC 21 Bibliographic Format
NOTES: OCLC requested this, to make it easier to identify records for items that are part of a national bibliography (as opposed to records created by a national library). Various options for doing this were offered in the paper. It was eventually decided that the simplest option, addition of a single, shared code to field 042 meaning “national bibliography record”, was preferable. This will be added to the MARC documentation.

Proposal No. 2013-04: Defining New Code for Score in Field 008/20 (Format of music) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format
NOTES: Proposal passed.

Proposal No. 2013-02: New Fields to Accommodate Authority Records for Medium of Performance Vocabulary for Music in the MARC 21 Authority Format
NOTES: Proposal passed.

[Three proposals from the Subject Analysis Committee Subcommittee on Genre/Form Implementation]

NOTES: These three proposals, all of which passed, grew out of the need to support the full implementation of Library of Congress Genre/Form Terms for Library and Archival Materials (LCGFT). Unlike LCSH, LCGFT terms consist of a single word or phrase that contains only one concept; no qualifiers are allowed within a term, and there is no subdivision. Hence the need for new fields to encode the information that used to be included with LCSHs that functioned as de facto genre/form terms. There was a lot of discussion about the need for controlled vocabulary for these terms (there is no vocabulary for periods yet); flexibility is needed, since the singular is appropriate in some contexts but not in others, and different user groups or constituencies may have different preferences: RDA calls for “Male” and “Female” but our users probably think in terms of “Men” and “Women”.

Although this wasn’t raised in the discussion, I wondered whether the LCGFT approach will lead to greater support for faceting in library discovery tools. The Art and Architecture Thesaurus, used by many art museums and art libraries, supports faceted indexing, but since our systems still generally do not, most users of AAT construct precoordinated headings. Perhaps this will change.

[BIBFRAME update]
I also attended an update on progress on the Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative (BIBFRAME for short). A major focus of the initiative is to determine a transition path for the MARC 21 exchange format in order to reap the benefits of newer technology while preserving a robust data exchange that has supported resource sharing and cataloging cost savings in recent decades.

In 2012, early work by participants has produced a BIBFRAME Primer Document, and some testing by early experimenters. In 2013, discussions will be opened to a wider audience. New software will let the general community experiment with what their MARC records look like using the BIBFRAME models. They will also reach out to non-bibliographic communities, such as archivists and object catalogers.

There is now a website devoted to BIBFRAME:

It provides background information on the initiative, demos of what MARC21 bib records look like as BIBFRAME resources, and a tools page that offers:

  1. Comparison service: Enter the bibliographic identifer (MARC BIB field 001) or a Library of Congress Control Number (LCCN) and view a before and after presentation of a MARC record from the Library of Congress's database as BIBFRAME resources.
  2. Transformation service: Submit your own MARC Bibliographic records (as MARC/XML) and view them as BIBFRAME resources in Exhibit. The resulting data are also available for download.

I am particularly looking forward to viewing our own records as MARC/XML, and I encourage you all to run your records through the tool. Don't be surprised if some of your fields don't appear on the transformations, since I understand that Bibframe hasn't yet incorporated all MARC fields.

Prepared by Elizabeth O'Keefe, Morgan Library & Museum
ARLIS/NA representative to the MARC Advisory Group

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