American Library Associatiion
MARC Advisory Committee (MAC)
2014 Midwinter, Philadelphia

This was the first meeting of the independent MAC (Marc Advisory Committee), which formerly met under the aegis of MARBI. For the first time, all members of MAC were allowed to vote on the proposals (previously, members of MARBI were the only attendees with voting privileges).

Proposal No. 2014-01: Defining Indicator values of Field 588 Source of Description Note in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format
This proposal defined a first indicator in the 588 field for two display constants: “Source of description:” (first indicator 0) and Latest issue consulted:”(first indicator 1). It is still permissible to use a blank indicator, and supply a label of your choice (or no label at all). The proposal was approved.

Proposal No. 2014-02: Making Subfield $c Repeatable in Fields X10 and X11 of the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Formats
This proposal make subfield $c repeatable in headings for conferences, to allow for granular encoding of multiple conference venues. The proposal was approved.

Discussion Paper No. 2014-DP03: “Miscellaneous information” in Topical Term and Geographic Name Fields of the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Formats
This paper discussed the need for a new subfield for explanatory qualifiers added to headings, in cases when the heading is ambiguous or otherwise in need of explanation. German catalogers frequently add such qualifiers to headings, and would like to be able to record this information in a separate subfield from the heading. Although American catalogers would probably not use this subfield, the German cataloging community made a good case for its usefulness, and was encouraged to bring the issue back to MAC.

Proposal No. 2014-03: Renaming and Redefining 347 $f (Transmission speed) in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format
This proposal renamed and redefined subfield $f. Previously known as “Transmission speed,”, it was renamed “Encoded bitrate”, and redefined to include all streamed resources, instead of being limited to audio and video. The proposal was passed.

Discussion Paper No. 2014-DP01: Designating Never Published in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format
This paper, submitted by the Deutsche National Bibliothek, discusses the problems caused when bibliographic records are created for “ghost” publications, i.e. resources that were never in fact published. These ghost publications include resources that never even got through the planning stage (so content does not exist) and resources for which content exists but which were never published. The DNB database prefers to retain the pre-publication record, but its presence in the database causes confusion, as does its export into other catalogues. Possible fields for encoding this data include the leader encoding level, the 008/06, or the 263 (projected publication date). The British cataloging community welcomed the idea, but suggested that it would be preferable to use the 366 field (trade availability information), which includes cancellation information. It would be important to distinguish these ghost publications from resources such as original artworks and manuscripts that were never intended for publication, or from resources such as literary manuscripts that represent a stage in the publication process, being intended for eventual publication, but are themselves considered unpublished. The ONIX code list contains many different codes for publications abandoned for various reasons, but MARC would probably not want to be that granular. The points raised in the discussion will come back as a proposal, probably at ALA Annual.

Discussion Paper No. 2014-DP02: Relationships Between Subject Headings from Different Thesauri in the MARC 21 Authority formats
This paper, also submitted by the German National Library, examined methods for identifying relationships between terms coming from various thesauri. The paper suggested that the $i or $4 in a 7XX field within the Authority Format would be the best carrier for this information. This approach was approved, so a proposal will be forthcoming.

Discussion Paper No. 2014-DP04: Recording RDA Relationship Designators in the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Formats
This paper dealt with the issue of making RDA relationship designators between the four FRBR entities (work/expression/manifestation/item) more comprehensible to the general public. One participant noted that the problem goes deeper: ordinary catalogers don’t understand the WEMI relationships, and are likely to misidentify them. Since half the FRBR levels don’t exist in Bibframe, why identify them in bibliographic records? But if these relationships are not explicitly coded in the record, record linking using RDF will not happen. But there is a fundamental problem with bringing MARC into line with RDA: a MARC record describes a resource, which may embody multiple WEMI relationships, while RDA is describing various entities. Since the JSC is going to be looking at the relationship between RDA and public displays, it was judged best to await the results of their deliberation.

Report compiled by Elizabeth O'Keefe, Morgan Library & Museum, New York

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