Annual 1999 (26 and 27 June 1999)

This report is numerically arranged by proposal and discussion paper, followed by notes from the business meeting. The papers are available on the MARC web site at

Proposal 99-08: URL/URN subfields in bib format

The usefulness of including URLs or other uniform resource identifiers in various bibliographic fields had been discussed in DP 112. Since 856 applies to the record as a whole (though $3 can be used to designate specific materials), URLs in specific fields might ease linking. General concerns include excessive proliferation of URLs throughout the record, and lack of available subfields in some fields. The Society of American Archivists is interested in using URLs in 545 (biography or administrative history) and in 530 (digital versions of parts of collections). Aggregator resources might want to give URL in 773 (for host items). Concern was expressed about giving URLs in other 76X-78X linking fields, with some consensus that the related record was the appropriate place for the related title's URL. A straw vote supported adding only one subfield rather than separate subfields for URL and URN ($u for URL as much as possible). A motion was then passed to add $u (repeatable) to 555 and 583. A motion to add a subfield to 773 failed. Rather than add URI subfields broadly now, LC and MARBI agreed that each field must have a proposal; proposals for additional fields in the next round should be sent to LC by October.

Proposal 99-09

This proposal to make 852 $k and $m repeatable passed with minimal comment.

Discussion paper 114: seriality

Jean Hirons briefly described the paper and then opened the floor for discussion. The paper presents three options for dealing with seriality for electronic resources. Option 1 would divide the electronic world into monographs and serials. This basic division of the world provides some predictability and field 006 helps with defining secondary characteristics. Only additive databases would change under this option. Option 2 would expand Bibliographic Level "s" to include looseleafs, databases and websites which are now generally coded in "m." Option 3 would define Bib Level "i" for integrating resources. Defining a new value requires solid demonstrated need. The American Association of Law Librarians is basically happy with the current cataloging procedures for looseleafs according to the Hallam guidelines from LC; many serials control modules are not especially good for handling these as serials. Website needs to be more concisely defined. Karen Coyle noted that we are packing a lot of (too much?) information into the Bib Level.

There is demonstrated need for having the current serial or integrating resource publisher in the 260, i.e. claiming, identification. It is much harder to use if the information is included in a note. NLM prefers a 26X solution. If indicators are used for earliest and current publisher, there is also need for an indicator for intervening publishers; using $3 would give more flexibility in defining periods of publishing.

Discussion paper 115: anonymous artist relationships

Though there were many questions, there was general support for the idea of a new subfield to express anonymous artist relationships. Since the available unused subfields are limited in number, the definition will be broadened if possible. Possible other uses included "cupbearer of King ..." or "vizier of ..." and others identified in relationship to ruler, etc. The rare book community has proposed using corporate names for widows and other heirs of printers, etc. but there is not consensus among art catalogers that this would work for anonymous artist relationships. More concern was expressed about the use of this subfield in authority records though the need would be significant, particularly for uniform titles for works of art.

Discussion paper 116: bound-with relationships

The methodology of expressing bound-with relationships via the 876-878 fields in the Holdings format were largely supported. The MARC changes are largely in documentation, rather than in field definitions. It should be possible to express bound-with relationships both in simple or complex ways, depending on the circumstance.

Discussion paper 117: non-Gregorian dates

The Association of Jewish Librarians expressed support for the proposed methodology for dealing with Hebrew dates. No significant reservations were expressed about the methods. There are also complicated Gregorian dates (e.g. natural history, art) but they can be dealt with by the current 008 and 046.

Discussion paper 118: non-filing characters

At earlier MARBI meetings, the use of beginning and ending control characters for nonfiling characters was approved, though the specifics were left for further discussion. This methodology is supported for initial articles, in all parts of the bibliographic record, and for authority records. It is not so strongly supported for correcting error conditions (misspelled words, etc.). There was no agreement on using the control characters for enumeration/chronology information in 4XX/8XX $v; Marti Scheel will write up NLM's comments on this matter for the list. CC:DA expressed support for keeping initial articles (and marking them for non-filing), according to AACR. Rather than defining each field in which this technique could be used, MARBI supports carefully defining the manner in which it would be used.

MARBI's Monday time slot was devoted to a joint meeting with CC:DA to discuss seriality and metadata. (I was not able to attend most of the joint meeting. For notes on joint metadata concerns, see the report on METAMARDA.)


Paul Weiss will revolve off MARBI, replaced by Michael Fox. Michael Fox's term as intern is over, and he will be replaced by Barbara Weir.

MARBI expressed support for the metadata preconference proposed by the joint CC:DA/MARBI task force. For a description of the preconference, see the TF web page at

The MARC 21 (harmonized USMARC/CanMARC) edition of the bibliographic format has just been released, with the edition in French also available from National Library of Canada. The joint edition of the authority format should be available next year. Language codes will be changing; see notice on MARC web site. The Cataloging Distribution Service will start a pilot project of online classification schedules early in 2000. LC has a website devoted to implementation of the new ILS.

The Unicode and East Asian character task forces have not seen much action in the last six months. A task force on multilingual characteristics in records has been formed and is working on its charge. They will look at recent discussion papers, find salient issues. One issue is marking pinyin at the field level, as well as at the record level; LC had looked at this a number of years ago and dismissed the need, but it keeps coming up.

The Catalog Use Committee of the Management and Operation of User Services Section of the Reference and Adult Services Association (RUSA MOUSS) is planning a program entitled "Is MARC dead?" and asked for MARBI co-sponsorship. After considerable pre-conference list traffic, MARBI heard from a representative of MOUSS and supported the program, including proposing an additional speaker who could speak to the value of MARC in handling information. The Committee on Cataloging: African and Asian Materials is planning a program on the effects of pinyin; MARBI is also interested in this topic.