Ask Ms. MARC

Got cataloging questions? Turn to Ms. MARC. Just enter your question in the box below and our MARC cataloging experts will find the answer. Include your email address to ensure you receive a direct response.

Click to expand the boxes below for recently asked questions, along with Ms. MARC's answers.

  • Z Sources in Destiny

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    Sometimes when I am cataloging a resource, I am not able to find a MARC record on Alliance. Shouldn’t there be a MARC record for everything that is published? Are there sources in addition to Alliance, where I can find MARC records to download into Destiny?


    Dear Reader:

    While Alliance Online and Alliance AV provide access to over 10 million MARC records, these databases do not contain a MARC record for every resource that has been published. No single database is that comprehensive. Having access to various sources is beneficial because a record not found in one source may be found in another.

    The good news is that when a record is not available on Alliance, Destiny Library Manager can help you locate and download records from other sources. Within Destiny is a Z39.50 client which allows the software to search other library databases. Z39.50 is an international standard that allows one computer system to search and retrieve information from other computer systems that have also implemented that standard. With Destiny’s Z39.50 client you can search and freely download MARC records from libraries around the world that have Z39.50 servers and which allow access to their data.

    Z-Sources can be added in Destiny via the “Update Z-Sources” tab, thus allowing you to search multiple databases at the same time. When cataloging a resource, in addition to searching Alliance, you can search for a MARC record in national databases such as the Library of Congress or National Library of Canada, state databases such as ACCESS PA or OhioLINK, school library databases such as Denver Public Schools or Rhode Island K-12 schools, OCLC FirstSearch, plus many other types of library catalogs.

    A domain name or IP address and a port number are needed for each source in order for it to be added to Destiny. A large selection of Z39.50 databases from around the world – including name, address, port and other useful information for setting up the source can be found at “The Z39.50 Target Directory.” You can access this directory at:

    For detailed guidelines in setting up Z-Sources in Destiny, consult the Help section and search “Set up Z-Sources.”

    Save time cataloging today by taking advantage of this Destiny feature. Set up some Z-Sources and retrieve MARC records for many of your library materials.


  • MARC 650 - Second Indicator

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    Please help me understand the specifics on the 650 tag: I see 650 0; 650 1; 650 7. What do the zero, one, and seven mean?


    Dear Reader:

    The zero, one, and seven are MARC codes for the second indicator position in MARC 650 identifying the subject heading system or thesaurus used for the heading. A subject heading thesaurus is a list of controlled vocabulary or authorized terms. Two main subject authorities are used by the vast majority of libraries: Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) and Sears List of Subject Headings (Sears). LCSH tends to use scientific and more complex technical terms for topics while Sears uses simpler, natural language terms to meet the needs of smaller libraries. For example, LCSH uses "Felidae" while Sears uses "Wild cats" and LCSH uses "Treasure trove" while Sears uses "Buried treasure".

    When LCSH terms are not age-appropriate for children, the Library of Congress establishes a more simplified Children’s Subject Heading (CSH) for use with children’s materials. An example is the term "Moon rocks" used for CHS while "Lunar petrology" is the LCSH term. Sometimes no LCSH term exists for the topic of the children’s material that is being cataloged so a children’s subject heading is established, e.g., Bullies, Buried treasure,
    Spaghetti, etc.

    MARC 21 coding is used to distinguish between the different subject heading systems. A "zero" in the second indicator position in MARC 650 means the heading is from the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH).

    650 #0 _aPuppies.

     A second indicator of "one" means the heading is from the Library of Congress Children’s Subject Headings (CSH) list. In this example, the term "Babies" is more appropriate for children’s materials than the LCSH term "Infants".

    650 #1 _aBabies.

    When "seven" is used as the second indicator, a subfield "two" is also entered indicating the source of the heading. The most common source you will see in subfield two is "sears" indicating the heading came from the Sears List of Subject Headings. Destiny templates have a default of seven in the second indicator position, with subfield two containing "sears". The default is Sears because that is the subject heading thesaurus used most frequently by school libraries.

    650 #7 _aComputer science.


    For more information on the Library of Congress Children’s Subject Headings (CSH) see: 

    For more information on Sears List of Subject Headings see:

    Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) can be searched at:


  • RDA Core Elements

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    I heard that when cataloging a resource following RDA guidelines, some information is mandatory and must be included in the bibliographic record.  What information is mandatory in an RDA record?


    Dear Reader:
    Bibliographic records are made up of data elements.  The data elements are the identifying characteristics of resources.  RDA designates certain specific elements as “core elements”.  The core elements are mandatory and must be included in the bibliographic record, if they are applicable to the resource that is being cataloged and if the information is available. 

    The RDA core elements, MARC tags and subfields where these elements are recorded, and the RDA guidelines for these elements are as follows:
    Title Proper (245 _a _n _p) (RDA 2.3.2)
    Statement of Responsibility relating to title proper (245 _c) (RDA 2.4.1)
    Edition Statement (250 _a) (RDA 2.5)
    Serial numbering (362 _a) (RDA 2.6)
    Publication Data (264 _a _b _c_) (RDA 2.8)
    Extent of Resource (300 _a) (RDA 3.4) (Core if the resource is complete or if the total extent is known)
    Content type (336 _a) (RDA 6.9)
    Carrier type (338 _a) (RDA 3.3)
    Series (490 _a _v) (RDA 2.15) Title of series and number within series (if applicable)
    Identifiers for the Manifestation (020, 022, 024, 028) (RDA 2.15)

    Additional “non-core” elements should also be included in a record to distinguish one resource from another similar resource.  Agencies creating bibliographic records may establish policies and guidelines regarding what additional elements will be included in the records.  The Library of Congress and the Program for Cooperative Cataloging have established a set of policy statements called the “Library of Congress-Program for Cooperative Cataloging Policy Statements” (LC-PCC PSs).  More information about accessing these policy statements can be found at:


  • Assigning a Dewey Decimal Classification Number

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    I am creating an original MARC record and need to assign a Dewey number for my resource.  How do I determine what Dewey number to assign?


    Dear Reader:

    In order to assign a Dewey number, access to a Dewey Decimal Classification Schedule (DDC) is necessary. DDC is published in full and abridged editions in both print and electronic versions. You can find more information on the various versions, view a WebDewey demo, and request a free trial of WebDewey at:
    The first step in assigning a Dewey number is to determine the subject of the resource being cataloged.  This may be done by examining the title, table of contents, preface, and even scanning the text itself.  After determining the subject, the proper discipline or field of study of the resource must be determined because a specific subject may appear in any number of disciplines.  For example, a work on “families” may be classed in several different places depending on its emphasis, e.g., Family planning would be classed in 304.666, Family relationships in 306.8, Ethics of family relationships in 173, Counseling and guidance for families in 362.8286, Family reunions in 394.2, Family names in 929.4, etc.

    Another way of determining a potential Dewey number is to look at other items in your collection under the same subject heading and see what Dewey number is assigned to them. 

    Some MARC records have a suggested Dewey number in the 082 field. This number is assigned by the Library of Congress or another cataloging agency and offers a place where a particular item may be classified.
    Dewey numbers in the 082 tag may contain a prime mark ( ' ) or slash mark ( / ) to separate the segments of the Dewey number. The prime marks or slashes indicate logical places to shorten a long classification number if a library does not want to use the complete number. Slash marks were originally used at the end of standard subdivisions, so in older MARC records, you may see multiple slash marks in the 082 tag.  In 2005 the Library of Congress began adding only one slash mark, and that slash is to end an abridged Dewey number.  If a shorter number is desired, this would be the logical place to shorten it.
    If you use the suggested number from the 082 field, be sure your software can handle the prime mark or slash, or determine if these need to be removed from the number.  You may want the slash removed so it does not appear in your spine label. 
    Some software systems such as Destiny use the 082 tag to automatically generate the classification number in the holdings information for the item. Destiny does not remove the slash in the call number.  However, the call number can be edited and the slash and numbers following it can be removed if a shorter number is desired. The cutter number/book number (generally first three letters of main entry) can also be added to the call number. 

    For more detailed information and samples of the 082 tag, see the Tag of the Month at:

  • Getting Ready for RDA!

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    I heard that RDA is coming soon. What is it? How can I get ready for it?


    Dear Reader:

    RDA (Resource Description and Access) is a new cataloging standard scheduled to replace AACR2 (Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd edition) on March 31, 2013. RDA is designed for the digital environment providing comprehensive guidelines for the description and access of all resources and all types of content and media, with more focus on cataloging digital resources.  RDA is based on international cataloging principles and will be used world-wide, opening the doors for more resource sharing. 

    The underlying principle of RDA is to help users find, identify, select, and obtain the resources they want.  To aid users in these tasks, RDA guidelines call for more exact transcription of information including listing more names in the statement of responsibility and entering the complete publisher name, as given on the resource.  Three new elements, content type, media type, and carrier type, will replace the General Material Designators (GMD).  RDA also replaces most abbreviations and Latin terms used in AACR2 with spelled out words and more common usage terms.

    With RDA emphasis is placed on showing relationships among resources, persons, families, and corporate bodies.  Expressing relationships in bibliographic records helps users find what they want and also lets them know about other available resources.  These noted changes, plus many more not mentioned in this brief summary, will lead to more user friendly bibliographic records.

    The best way to get ready for RDA is to become familiar with the differences between the two cataloging standards.  A way to do this is to look at MARC record examples of RDA cataloging.  The Library of Congress provides “RDA Record Examples” for various types of media including printed texts, websites, cartographic materials, graphic materials, musical and nonmusical sound recordings, as well as some records in Arabic and Urdu.  These examples can be found at:

    Another way to get ready for RDA is to become familiar with the RDA Toolkit, which is the primary resource for the new cataloging guidelines.  The RDA Toolkit can be purchased as an online subscription at  RDA is also available in a print version. Information on pricing, purchasing, how to sign up for a 30-day free trial, plus other valuable information such as RDA examples, teaching and training materials, and the latest RDA news and Blog posts can also be found at this site.

    Training materials used by the Library of Congress for their internal preparation for RDA including Webinars, cataloging manuals, practice exercises, and more are available at:

    Destiny Library Manager will support RDA and AACR2 MARC records allowing both AACR2 and RDA MARC records to co-exist in library databases.  Cataloging updates will be made to Destiny so that RDA MARC records may be imported and original cataloging may be performed using RDA guidelines.  Destiny will allow a choice of RDA to be selected as the preferred cataloging form or the option to stay with AACR2.  Destiny will also allow the ability to convert records from AACR2 to RDA, if desired. 

    RDA will be fully implemented by the Library of Congress on March 31, 2013.  What this means is from that date forward, all MARC records created by the Library of Congress will be created following the new cataloging guidelines.  The planned timeframe for all the Destiny changes are in line with the Library of Congress plans.  Follett plans to support customers move to RDA by the end of March, 2013.  At this same time, Follett Library Resources will begin providing RDA records for customers who want them; however, they will also continue to provide AACR2 records for those customers who are not ready for RDA.

    Please stay tuned for more information as the RDA adoption deadline approaches.  Please address questions, comments, or concerns to:


  • BISAC Subject Heading in MARC Records

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    We are finding many MARC records on Alliance Plus that include BISAC Subject Headings. What are these headings? Why are they being entered in MARC records? Will all new Alliance Plus records include these subject headings? Should I delete them from my records or leave them in?


    Dear Reader:

    BISAC Subject headings are a thesaurus of terms/headings created by the Book Industry Study Group (BISG).  These headings are used by book industry companies such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble to categorize books based on topical content.  BISAC terms are identified by a major heading term followed by a subheading of a more specific term or term(s) that are an aspect of the main heading.  Examples of BISAC headings include: COOKING / Beverages / Coffee & Tea; COOKING / Courses & Dishes / Salads; PETS / Dogs / Training; PETS / Horses / Riding.

    BISAC subject headings are entered in the 650 field in the MARC record. The major heading term is entered in subfield a in all capital letters. The subheadings are entered in lower case letters and each subheading is separated by a slash. The second indicator is coded seven and a subfield 2 is added with “bisacsh” to indicate that it is a BISAC subject heading.

     650  7 _aCOOKING / Methods / Quick & Easy

    The Library of Congress started adding BISAC subject headings to MARC records in 2011, so you will continue to see more and more MARC records on Alliance Plus with these headings.  However, these headings will not be included in all Alliance records.  Inclusion of the headings depends on the cataloging policy of the agency that created the MARC record.

    Whether you remove these headings from your catalog or not is a local decision. You may not see a need for them now, but they may be useful in the future. Take caution in removing potentially useful data from your records. It may be easier to ignore the headings than to add them back in later, if deemed useful.


  • Cataloging E-Reader Devices

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    Our library recently purchased some Kindles and Nooks.  How do I catalog them in Destiny?  I want the titles and authors of the books loaded on each device to be searchable.

    Should I create a MARC record for each title on the device? 


    Dear Reader:

    The e-books contained on the Kindles and Nooks are tied to the device, so the general practice is to catalog the device using the “Equipment” template in Destiny, adding a copy and barcode for each device.  Titles and authors may be made keyword searchable by adding a 505 Contents Note for each title/author.  Additional tags need to be entered in order for the titles and authors to appear in their respective indexes.  The author’s name will appear in the author index when a 700 tag with the author and title is added.  Titles for each book will appear in the title index when a 740 tag is added for each title.

    Individual title records will not work for the titles contained on the Kindle or Nook because each title would need a copy and a barcode and each barcode would need to be unique. In Destiny there is no way to link a bibliographic record for each individual title to the item record for the Kindle or Nook, so an individual MARC record for each title is not an option. However if you have a title in print that is the same as the title on the Kindle or Nook, you could add a 530 tag in the MARC record for the print copy indicating that the same title is available on a Kindle or Nook.

    For a sample MARC record of a Kindle, see the Tag of the Month example:

  • Entry of Personal Names in Statement of Responsibility and Main Entry

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    Why are personal names entered in the 100 field not always spelled the same as the personal names entered in subfield c of the 245 field? For example, for books written by Tomie DePaola, in the 100 field, his last name is consistently spelled DePaola; however in subfield c of the 245 field it might be spelled dePaola, DePaola or de Paola.


    Dear Reader:

    A personal name is entered in a particular MARC field based on the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2).

    For entry of the Statement of Responsibility AACR2 rule 1.1F1 states: “Transcribe statements of responsibility appearing prominently in the item in the form in which they appear there.” In following this rule for cataloging, the personal name entered in subfield c of the 245 field is spelled as it appears on the title page. An author’s name may appear differently on the title page depending on how the author submitted the information to the publisher. The title page for one of Tomie DePaola’s works may have his last name written as dePaola, another as DePaola, and yet another as de Paola; thus you may see the name spelled differently in the statement of responsibility.



    The name entered in the 100 field is the “authorized” form of the name established according to Chapter 22 of AACR2. An authorized personal name heading is established so that one form of a name is recorded for an author in the access points (main entry 100 or added entry 700 field) in bibliographic records.  Authorized personal name headings assure that all books by an author will be indexed in the same place in the author index, e.g. all books by Tomie DePaola will appear in the author index with his last name spelled – DePaola – thus bringing consistency to the library catalog.


    Authorized forms of the name are contained in authority records. One of the most widely used name authority files is the “Library of Congress Authorities” which can be accessed free, online at:



  • Cataloging Playaway Devices

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    How do I catalog a Playaway and Playaway View?  Do I catalog them as equipment or catalog the content on the device?  What template should I use in Destiny?


    Dear Reader:

    Playaway devices contain pre-loaded audio and video content.   The original “Playaway” contain audio content while the new “Playaway View” contain video content.

    The content on the Playaway is cataloged rather than the device itself.   In 2008, a Joint Task Force released the "Guide to Cataloging Playaway Devices Based on AACR2 Chapters 6 and 9.”  At the time the guide was written only Playaways with audio content existed.

    The guidelines state that the nature of the content for the original Playaway is sound.  Thus, the “Type of Record” or Leader sixth position is coded “i” for a non-musical sound recording or if appropriate “j” for a musical sound recording. (Most Playaways with sound are non-musical). 

    In Destiny, the “Recordings (nonmusical)” template is used to catalog an original Playaway or the “Recording (musical)” template, if the content is musical in nature.  There is a subtype of Playaway that may be selected in the “Recordings (nonmusical)” template.  The guidelines for cataloging Playaways give the GMD (subfield h of 245) as [electronic resource]; however, the guidelines state that a library may choose to use [sound recording] instead for the GMD.  Dimensions for a Playaway are 3 3/8 x 2 1/8 in.

    Playaway Views contain video content.  The “Type of Record” or Leader sixth position is coded “g” for projected medium.  In Destiny, the “Videos” template is used to catalog a Playaway View.  The GMD (subfield h of 245) would be [electronic resource], the same as for an original Playaway device; however, a library may choose to use [videorecording] instead for the GMD.  Dimensions for a Playaway View are 3 3/8 x 4 1/4 in.

    There is a sample MARC record for a Playaway at:
    There is a sample MARC record for a Playaway View at:

  • Ways to Prepare for RDA

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    The slated implementation date for RDA is still a year away.  Should I be concerned at this time about getting ready for it?  If so, what can I do to prepare for RDA?


    Dear Reader:

    The implementation date for RDA (January 2013) seems like a long way off.  You may be planning on implementing it but think there is plenty of time to learn about it; or, for one reason or another, you may not even be planning on implementing it in your library, so preparation for it may be the furthest thing on your mind.  However, whether you plan to implement RDA in your library or not, you still need to get ready for it because RDA MARC records from the U.S. RDA test  already exist in shared databases and some libraries that participated in the test have continued to catalog using RDA guidelines.  The Library of Congress will continue to create MARC records using RDA on a small scale in 2012. So no matter what your plans are for the future, you still need to get ready for RDA.

    In preparing for RDA, you need to know what RDA MARC records look like, what some of the main differences are between AACR2 and RDA MARC records.  You also need to know about the underlying models on which RDA is based, namely, Functional Requirements for Bibliographic Data (FRBR) and Functional Requirements for Authority Data (FRAD). 

    Some ways that you can prepare for RDA…

    1.    Visit the Library of Congress link “Resource Description and Access (RDA):  Information and Resources in Preparation for RDA” to keep up with the latest news about RDA as well as to find training materials used by the Library of Congress at:

    2.    View webcasts/webinars and attend workshops.  There are some free webinars on RDA and FRBR at the Library of Congress website at:

    3.    Review recent and past presentations on RDA by people connected to its development at the “Joint Steering Committee for Development of RDA” website.  Presentations go back to 2007 and are as current as June 2011. These presentations can be found at: 

    4.    Sign up for a free trial of the RDA Toolkit at:

    5.    Use the RDA Toolkit to create practice RDA records.  Destiny 10.0 is RDA compliant.  RDA MARC records can be created and imported into the software.

    6.    Consult the Library of Congress’ “RDA Transition: Frequently Asked Questions” and find answers to questions you may have at:

    7.    Talk with colleagues in your own library, district, or consortium.  Share what you know about RDA and learn more about what you don’t know.

    8.    Learn what changes were made to the MARC formats for RDA.  See the Library of Congress “RDA in MARC” at:


  • MARC and RDA

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    I heard that MARC records will still be used when cataloging with RDA and that some changes were made to the MARC format for use with the new cataloging standard. Where can I find information on these MARC changes for RDA?


    Dear Reader:

    In my previous Ask Ms. MARC article “Resource Description and Access (RDA),” I stated that RDA will be adopted, with certain conditions, by the three U.S. national libraries (the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Library of Agriculture).  One of the conditions recommended by the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee is that before RDA is implemented, a replacement for MARC must be initiated and development begun toward that replacement.  To achieve this condition for adoption, the Library of Congress has launched the “Bibliographic Framework Transition Initiative.”  Information, announcements, and resources related to this initiative can be found at:

    Even though the Library of Congress has launched an initiative for a replacement for MARC, this replacement will not happen overnight and will not happen before January 2013 when RDA is slated to be implemented by the three U.S. national libraries.  Thus RDA will be implemented with the MARC encoding format and RDA MARC records and AACR2 MARC records will coexist in library databases.

    Over the past few years, the MARC formats have been updated for use with RDA.  New tags, subfields, and codes (in the 007and 008 tags) were added.  Perhaps the most noticeable addition to MARC 21 is three new tags (336) for RDA content types, (337) for RDA media types, and (338) for RDA carrier types.  When cataloging with RDA, these three new tags will replace the General Material Designators (GMDs) or subfield “h” in the 245 tag, which is used when cataloging with AACR2.  GMDs or General Material Designators are used in AACR2 to give a general description of the content or carrier of the resource that is being described.  The GMD terms used in AACR2 are not consistent, they are a mixture of both content and carrier types and the list provided in AACR2 is not a complete list of terms.  RDA provides a clear separation of content and carrier types and to designate these types, the three new tags (336, 337 and 338) were added to the MARC Bibliographic format. 

    There are other MARC changes besides these three new tags.  All RDA MARC changes as well as proposed future changes for RDA can be found at the Library of Congress MARC Standards page titled “RDA in MARC – Summary of Additions” at:

  • Resource Description and Access (RDA)

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    Why was a new cataloging standard written?  When will the new standards replace AACR2?  Where can I learn more about this new standard?


    Dear Reader:

    With the increase in digital formats and new ways in which information is published, there came the need for new cataloging rules.  Resource Description and Access (RDA) is a new set of descriptive cataloging rules that will replace the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2).   AACR2 was written based on the card catalog environment, while RDA is designed for use in the digital environment providing rules for the description and access of all types of resources and content.  These new rules were also written so that one set of standards could be used among various communities such as libraries, museums, and archives both nationally and internationally.

    RDA was in the process of being written for a number of years, and after many delayed publication dates, it was published in June, 2010 as a web resource, the “RDA Toolkit. “  You can find ordering information, sign up for a free trial, as well as view some Webinars on how to use the Toolkit at:   A print version is also available for purchase.

    After RDA was published, the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Library of Agriculture coordinated a test of RDA to determine whether they would implement it as the new cataloging standard. During the test period, June 2010 to March 2011, the three national libraries along with some selected institutions created catalog records using RDA.  If you are interested in how the test was conducted, the methodology used, and would like to view some RDA Train-the Trainer Webcasts that were used in preparation for the test, see the “National Libraries RDA Test” section at:

    After a thorough review of the test results, in June 2011, the U.S. RDA Test Coordinating Committee issued its recommendation on the implementation of RDA. The committee recommended that the national libraries adopt RDA with certain conditions and that the implementation not occur before January 2013.  The entire report and recommendations of the U.S. RDA Test Committee (192 pages) or a shorter Executive Summary of the report and recommendations can be found under the “Final Report and Recommendations” section at:

    As the Library of Congress prepares for RDA, they are launching a new website “Resource Description and Access (RDA) Information and Resources in Preparation for RDA” at: .  This site provides links to the Library of Congress’ training documents, presentations, and practice exercises for RDA and also gives examples of RDA MARC records.

  • Cataloging Streaming Media

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    What is streaming media and how do I catalog it?


    Dear Reader:

    Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC) defines streaming media as “video or audio transmitted over a network that can be played immediately, with no need to download an entire file before playback. Audio and/or video content are sent to the user as a data stream.” 

    The first step in cataloging streaming media is to choose the template. If the content is primarily video, the “Video” template in Destiny is chosen.  If the content is primarily sound, either the “Recording (musical)” or Recording (nonmusical) template is chosen.

    The 008 tag “Form of Item” position is coded “o” if remotely accessed and “s” if not remotely accessed (downloaded). “Form of Item” is the 29th position for videos and the 23rd position in the 008 tag for sound recordings.

    Subfield h of the 245 tag contains [electronic resource].

    Many different types of files are used for streaming video and audio. Some of the common files are wma, wmv, mp3, mp4, wav, etc. Entry of the 300 tag for streaming media is optional. However, if entered, information about the type of file, number of bytes, and transmission speed are considered important if it is available. Following are examples of how the 300 tag may be entered for streaming video and audio.

    300 _a1 streaming video file (35 min.) :
      _bdigital, stereo., RM file, sd., col.
     300 _a1 streaming sound file (15 min.) :
      _bdigital, stereo., WMA file.

    A 500 tag is always added with the source of the title, for example, “Title from resource home page” and the date the title was viewed is also always added e.g. (viewed on Feb. 10, 2011).

    Include system requirements (538 tag) for playback whenever the information is available.

    The 856 tag should provide a direct link to the resource.

    For a sample MARC record for a streaming video, see The Tag of the Month example

    For a sample MARC record for a streaming audio, see The Tag of the Month example 



  • Cover Title Used in Cataloging

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    I am cataloging a book that does not have a title page, so I have taken the title and statement of responsibility from the cover. Do I enclose the entire 245 tag in square brackets, or use separate sets of brackets for subfields “a” and “c”?


    Dear Reader:

    If there is no title page and the cover is being used for the title information, no brackets are necessary in the 245 tag according to Anglo-American Cataloging Rule (AACR2) 2.0B1 which states: “The chief source of information for printed monographs is the title page or, if there is no title page, the source from within the publication that is used as a substitute for it. For printed monographs without a title page…use the part of the item supplying the most complete information, whether this be the cover …” The rule then states to specify the part of the item used for the title in a note.

    When cataloging a book without a title page, record the information in the 245 as you would normally do when looking at a title page. Add a 500 note indicating that the title was taken from the cover as the following example shows.

    245 10    _aBig Dog and Little Dog /
      _cDav Pilkey. 500
     500 _aTitle from cover.


  • Cataloging Podcasts

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    How do I catalog podcasts?


    Dear Reader:

    Podcasts are video or audio digital media files maintained on a distributor’s server as a web feed, which can be remotely accessed or downloaded and stored locally on a user’s computer or some other portable device such as a smartphone or MP3 player. The first step in cataloging podcasts is to determine the primary content (audio or video) and then select the template for that content. In Destiny, the “Videos” template is used for podcasts that are predominantly video and either the “Recordings (nonmusical)” or “Recordings (musical)” template is used for podcasts that are predominantly audio.

    After the template is chosen, enter data in the tags and subfields as applicable making changes as needed. The primary changes are outlined below.

    Because podcasts are continuously added to and updated, they are considered to be integrating resources, so Leader “Bibliographic Level,” 7th position is coded “i.”

    Podcasts are digital so the 008 tag “Form of Item” position is coded “o” if remotely accessed and “s” if not remotely accessed (downloaded). “Form of Item” is the 29th position for videos and the 23rd position in the 008 tag for sound recordings.

    Subfield h of the 245 tag contains [electronic resource].

    Because podcasts are frequently updated, they will have a beginning and an open ended date. Dates of publication may be entered in either subfield c of the 260 tag or in the 362 tag. If a beginning date is explicitly stated in the resource, this date is entered into subfield c of the 260 tag. If a beginning publication date is not explicitly stated in the resource, a probably date is given in the 362 tag.

    Many different types of files are used for video and audio podcasts. Some of the common files are mpeg, mp3, mp4, wav, etc. Entry of the 300 tag for podcasts is optional; however, if it is entered, the type of file and number of files should be included if the information is readily available. Following are examples of how the 300 tag may look for podcasts. 

    300       _aPodcast webpage (video files) :
      _bdigital, HTML and MPEG–4 files, sd., col.
    300       _aPodcast webpage (sound files) :
      _bdigital HTML and MP3 files.

    If known, frequency of updates for podcasts is entered into the 310 tag, using words such as updated daily or updated weekly.

    A 500 tag is added with the source of the title, for example, “Title from title screen” or “Title from webpage (viewed on Feb. 10, 2011).”

    If the resource is available only by remote access, a note should be added in the 538 tag beginning with the words: “Mode of Access” followed by what the mode of access is such as “World Wide Web.”

    The 856 tag should provide a direct link to the resource.

    For a sample MARC record of a video podcast, see the Tag of the Month example

    For a sample MARC record of an audio podcast see the Tag of the Month example 

  • MARC Organization Code

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    I am setting up Library Manager and am required to use my MARC Organization Code. What is this? How do I get one?


    Dear Reader:

    A MARC Organization Code is a short alphabetic code used to represent names of libraries, organizations, and institutions that need to be identified in cataloging and in bibliographic control. For example, the organization responsible for creating or modifying a MARC record or the organization holding a copy of the resource needs to be identified. These organizations are identified in the MARC record by the MARC organization code in the 040 and 852 tags respectively.

    MARC organization codes generally follow the same structure based on geographic location and name of the organization. Codes are composed of one to four subunits. The first subunit represents a geographical jurisdiction such as a state or territory (if the organization is outside the United States, this could be a country), followed by a local jurisdiction such as a city or town, and followed by the name of the institution. Some codes have a fourth subunit when larger organizations are broken down into subdivisions.

    Some examples of MARC organization codes are: “DLC” for the Library of Congress. The subunits for this code are “D” for District of Columbia and “LC” for Library of Congress. Follett Software’s MARC organization code is: “IMchF.” The subunits are “I” for Illinois, “Mch” for the city of McHenry and “F” for Follett.

    The Library of Congress assigns codes for free to any organization requesting one. A request for a code can be made via this link “How to Request a MARC Organization Code” at:


  • Entry of Name of Publisher

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    Do you abbreviate the word "Publisher" or "Publications" in a MARC record? For instance, how would you enter “Chelsea House Publisher” in the 260 field? I have seen it recorded numerous ways in MARC records.


    Dear Reader:

    The name of the publisher may be entered differently depending on what rules/guidelines were followed when the MARC record was created.

    In the above example of “Chelsea House Publisher,” when the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2) are followed, you may see “Publisher” abbreviated in subfield c of the 260 field or not entered at all. AACR2 rule 1.4D2 states: "Give the name of a publisher, distributor, etc., in the shortest form in which it can be understood and identified internationally."

    When the Library of Congress Rule Interpretation (LCRI) is followed, you may also see “Publisher” abbreviated or not entered in the 260 field. The LCRI for name of publisher is as follows: “Shorten the name or not, whichever is more efficient and effective in the particular case--according to judgment. Do not, however, attempt to judge how well the name is known internationally."

    Some cataloging agencies follow the AACR2 rule while others follow the Library of Congress Rule Interpretation, thus creating different ways that you will see the name of the publisher entered in MARC records. Abbreviating the name, spelling it out, or not entering part of it are all acceptable cataloging practices depending on the rules that are being used for the description of that area.

    With the new cataloging rules Resource Description and Access (RDA), the publishers name will be entered as it is found on the resource, if "Publisher" is spelled out on the resource, it will be spelled out in the MARC record. If it is abbreviated on the resource, it will be abbreviated in the MARC record. If it is misspelled on the resource, it will be misspelled in the MARC record.

    When the name of the publisher appears as “Chelsea House Publisher” on the resource, subfield c of the 260 tag would be entered in the following ways according to the rules used in describing the resource.

    260   _aPhiladelphia :_b Chelsea House
          (Cataloged according to AACR2 and/or LCRI)
    260   _aPhiladelphia :_bChelsea House Pub.
          (Cataloged according to AACR2 and/or LCRI)
    260   aPhiladelphia :_bChelsea House Publisher
          (Cataloged according to RDA)

  • Form Subdivision in 6XX MARC Tags

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    What types of terms should be used in subfield v (Form Subdivision) in the 6XX MARC tags?


    Dear Reader:

    A form subdivision indicates a specific kind or genre of material. The terms used for this subdivision are taken from the subject heading thesaurus being used. Entry of a term into subfield v is only appropriate when added to a main term. For example, the form subdivision of “Dictionaries” may be added to a main term such as “Animals” if the book is a dictionary of animals.

    650 0 _aAnimals


    Terms used most often in subfield “v” in the 6XX tags are listed below. All the terms listed can be used with Library of Congress Subject Headings, with the exception of the three that are marked (Sears only). The terms that can be used with the Sears List of Subject Headings have two asterisks before them.


    The terms used in subfield “v” of the 6XX tags will appear in the “Genre” list under “Narrow Your Search” in a Destiny “Quest” search.


    ** Adaptations
    ** Anecdotes
    ** Atlases
    Audio adaptations
    ** Bibliography
    ** Biography
    ** Book reviews
    Caricatures and cartoons
    ** Cartoons and caricatures (Sears only)
    ** Case studies
    ** Catalogs
    ** Charts, diagrams, etc.
    ** Chronlogy
    ** Comic books, strips, etc.
    Computer games
    ** Cross-cultural studies
    ** Databases
    ** Diaries
    ** Dictionaries
    Dictionaries, Juvenile
    ** Drama
    Encyclopedias, Juvenile
    ** Exhibitions
    ** Fiction
    ** Folklore
    ** Guidebooks
    ** Handbooks, manuals, etc.
    ** Humor
    ** Interactive multimedia
    ** Interviews
    ** Juvenile drama
    ** Juvenile fiction
    Juvenile films
    Juvenile humor
    ** Juvenile literature
    ** Juvenile poetry
    Juvenile software
    Juvenile sound recordings
    ** Legends
    ** Literary collections
    ** Maps
    Maps for children
    ** Miscellanea
    Online chat groups
    ** Periodicals
    ** Personal narratives
    ** Pictorial works
    Picture Bibles
    ** Poetry
    ** Portraits
    ** Posters
    ** Prayers
    Prayers and devotions
    ** Problems, exercises, etc.
    ** Programmed instruction
    ** Quotations
    ** Reading materials (Sears only)
    Relief models
    ** Reviews
    ** Romances
    Sacred books
    ** Songs (Sears only)
    Songs and music
    ** Sources
    ** Statistics
    ** Stories, plots, etc.
    Studies and exercises
    ** Study guides
    ** Tables
    ** Terms and phrases
    Trials, litigation, etc.

  • Entry of Statement of Responsibility – (Transcription)

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    In subfield c of the 245 tag some MARC records have the word “by” before the author’s name and some do not. Which is correct?


    Dear Reader:

    The statement of responsibility or subfield c of the 245 tag is entered based on the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2) rule 1.1F1 which states “Transcribe statements of responsibility appearing prominently in the item in the form in which they appear there.” The statement of responsibility is transcribed from the chief source of information for the material that is being described. For books, the chief source of information is the title page; thus, if the word "by" or “text by” appears on the title page before the author's name, those words are entered, preceding the author’s name, into subfield c of the 245 tag. If the word “by” or “text by” or similar words do not appear before the author’s name on the title page, those words are generally not entered into subfield c of the 245 tag.

    An exception to the rule is if the relationship between the title and the person’s name is not clear; for example, if the item is an edited work or a collected work but this is not noted on the title page, the phrase “edited by” or “collected by” may be added to the statement of responsibility. The words are enclosed in square brackets when added.

    245 10 _aAmerica and Americans /
      _ctext by John Steinbeck.

    (Title page has words “text by” before John Steinbeck’s name)

    245 10 _aBreakfast :
      _ba short story /
      _cby John Steinbeck ; with wood engravings by Colleen Dwire Weaver.

    (Title page has word “by” before John Steinbeck’s name)

    245 10 _aCannery row /
      _cJohn Steinbeck.

    (Title page does not have any words before John Steinbeck’s name)

    245 00 _aCritical essays on Steinbeck’s The grapes of wrath /
      _c[edited by] John Ditsky.

    (Title page did not have words “edited by” before John Ditsky’s name)

  • Entry of Awards in MARC Records

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    Where should I add “awards” information in the MARC record? Right now, I've just been adding them in the general notes field of 500.


    Dear Reader:

    The MARC 21 standard contains a 586 “Awards Note” field where information pertaining to any awards associated with the item may be entered. For an in-depth explanation of the Awards Note field as well as sample entries for the 586 tag, see Follett’s “Tag of the Month” article: Tag of the Month Bibliographic Archives.

  • Entry of Statement of Responsibility – (Level of Description)

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    I sometimes see MARC records where there is no statement of responsibility entered in subfield c of the 245 tag but there is a 100 tag present with a personal name. Is subfield c required in the 245 tag if an author’s name is in the 100 tag?


    Dear Reader:

    The entry of the statement of responsibility in subfield c of the 245 tag is determined by the level of description that is used when creating the bibliographic record. Rule 1.0D of the Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2) outlines three levels of detail that can be used in bibliographic descriptions. Each level gives the minimum requirements as to what elements are to be entered for that level. The first level includes the least number of elements or least amount of detail in the description. When cataloging at the first level, the author’s name need only be entered in subfield c or the 245 tag if different from the main entry (100 tag) or if there is no main entry. The second and third levels of description require that the statement of responsibility be entered. There may be differences in what you see in subfield c of the 245 tag as it is based on the level of description that was used in the creation of the MARC record. Most cataloging agencies catalog at the second or third level of description.

  • Cataloging Multivolume Sets

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    How do I catalog a multivolume set?


    Dear Reader:

    There are two schools of thought regarding the cataloging of a multivolume set. One way is to catalog the set in a single bibliographic record using one barcode for the entire set or using multiple barcodes for each individual volume. When creating one MARC record for the entire set, titles of the individual volumes (when each volume has its own title) are entered into the 505 tag. The 300 and 505 tag for “History’s Turning Points II,” a multivolume videocassette set would be entered as follows:

    300 _a13 videocassettes (26 min. ea.) :
      _b sd., col. with b&w sequences ;
      _c1/2 in.
    505 0 _a v. 1. Plot to kill Hitler –- v. 2. Revolution in Paris -- v. 3. Search for
           Troy -- v. 4. Television explosion -– v. 5. Rise of the mob –- v. 6. Shot
           that started the Great War –- v. 7. Spanish Armada –- v. 8. Incredible
           march -- v. 9. Battle of Britain –- v. 10. First flight –- v. 11. Napoleon
           invades Russia -- v. 12. Crisis in Korea –- v. 13. Battle for Vietnam.

    If each volume in the multivolume set does not have its own unique title, such as a set of World Book encyclopedias, the total number of volumes is entered in the 300 tag and a 505 tag is not needed.

    300 _a22 v. :
      _bcol. ill. ;
      _c26 cm.

    The second way to catalog a multivolume set is to create separate bibliographic records for each part of the set with each volume having its own barcode. If the publisher has packaged the item as a single set, a single bibliographic record to represent the entire set is commonly used; however, if separate bibliographic records would better meet the searchers needs in selecting and obtaining the item, then separate MARC records for each volume should be created.

  • Adaptations of Works

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    When classics such as Treasure Island or The Emperor’s New Clothes are adapted by a different author, should the main entry be under the adapter or the original author?


    Dear Reader:

    According to AACR2 rule 21.10A, the main entry for a work that is a paraphrase, rewriting, adaptation for children, or a version that is in a different literary form should be entered under the heading for the adapter. A name/title entry would be made for the original work. If it cannot be determined whether the work is an adaptation, the author of the original work is given the main entry.

    Title, main and added entries for the adaptation of Treasure Island by Catherine Nichols and The Emperor's New Clothes by Eric Metaxas would be entered as follows:

    100 1       _aNichols, Catherine.
    245 10 _aTreasure Island.
      _pThe treasure map /
      _cby Robert Louis Stevenson ; adapted by
       Catherine Nichols ; illustrated by Sally
       Wern Comport.
     700 1     _aComport, Sally Wern,
    700 1    _aStevenson, Robert Louis,
      _tTreasure Island.
    100 1    _aMetaxas, Eric.
    245 14  _aThe emperor’s new clothes /
      _cretold by Eric Metaxas ; illustrated by 
       Robert Van Nutt.
    700 1   _aVan Nutt, Robert,
    700 1   _aAndersen, H. C.
      _q(Hans Christian),  
      _tKejserens nye klaeder.

  • Kit or Mixed Material (Leader Code)

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    When do I catalog an item using Leader “Type of Record” code o for kit and p for mixed materials?


    Dear Reader:

    A helpful way to determine which code to use is by looking at definitions for kits and mixed materials.   

    The Anglo-American Cataloging Rules (AACR2) define a kit as an item containing two or more categories of material, in which no one item is determined to be predominant. AACR2 does not give a definition for mixed materials, so with just the definition for a kit it still is not clear as to when code p would be used. The following definitions from the MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data help make it clearer.

    MARC 21 defines a kit as a mixture of various components issued as a unit, where no one component is predominant, and with the intended purpose for instructional use. An example of a kit may be a package of assorted materials such as a set of school math curriculum materials which includes rulers, clocks, number lines, pattern blocks, activity cards, teacher guides, etc.

    The definition of mixed materials in MARC 21 is two or more forms of materials that are usually related by having been accumulated by or about a person or corporate body. The intended purpose for these materials is for other than instructional use. An example of mixed materials could be a “package/item” containing a book, sound recording, video and photographs of an individual person.

    When cataloging an item with multiple materials, examine the materials that are contained in the item as to predominance and purpose of use to determine which code to use in the Leader “Type of Record” position. School libraries would only on very rare occasions use code p for mixed materials as most materials in the school library are used for educational purposes.


  • Two Titles Bound Together with No Collective Title

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    How do I catalog a book when there are two separate titles bound together in one volume? Sometimes the authors are different for each title and sometimes they are the same.


    Dear Reader:

    When there are two works bound together in one volume and there is no collective title, and no work predominates, the cataloging rules indicate to describe the item as a unit following rule 1.1G3 of AACR2. This rule states that if the individual works are by different persons, follow the title of each work by other title information and the statement of responsibility. Separate the groups of data by a period followed by two spaces.

    When there are two works bound together in one volume and there is no collective title, and no work predominates, the cataloging rules indicate to describe the item as a unit following rule 1.1G3 of AACR2. This rule states that if the individual works are by different persons, follow the title of each work by other title information and the statement of responsibility. Separate the groups of data by a period followed by two spaces.

    Following the above guidelines, the 245 tag would be entered as follows for an individually bound item with the following two titles: Life-size sharks: killer creature reptiles written by Daniel Gilpin and illustrated by Martin Knowelden; and Life-size reptiles written by Hannah Wilson.  
           245 10 _aLife-size sharks :
                      _bkiller creature reptiles /
                      _cwritten by Daniel Gilpin ; illustrated by Martin Knowelden. Life-size 
                         reptiles / written by Hannah Wilson.

    A 700 and 740 tag would be added as follows: 
           700 12 _aWilson, Hannah.
                      _tLife-size reptiles.
           740 02 _aLife-size reptiles.

    If both titles are by the same author, AACR2 rule 1.1G3 states to transcribe the titles in the order in which they appear on the chief source of information or in the order in which they appear in the item, separating the titles of the works by semicolons.

    For an individually bound item containing these two works by Dr. Seuss, Green eggs and ham and One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish, the 245 tag would be entered as follows.  

          245 10 _aGreen eggs and ham ;
                     _bOne fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish /
                     _cDr. Seuss.

    As above, a 700 tag with the author and title of the second item and a 740 tag with the second title would also be added.

    If each title has its own page numbering, give the number of pages of each title. For example, if the first title has 28 pages and the second title has 36 pages, give the page numbers in the 300 tag as follows.

             300   _a28, 36 p.

  • Entry of Series in MARC Bibliographic Records

    Dear Ms. MARC:

    Should the number of the series be entered in the record and if so, where should it be entered?


    Dear Reader:

    As Ms. MARC, I often receive questions about entering the number in a series. The series number is entered into subfield v of the 490 and 8XX tag when it appears on the physical item (a publisher's catalog is not the physical item, it must be the actual book/material). MARC records on Alliance will not contain the series number if it is not printed on the item itself. However, if you deem that the series number is important, you can add the number within square brackets in the subfield mentioned above.


    As of June 2006, the Library of Congress enters all series in the 490 tag with a first indicator of zero. Many cataloging agencies continue to do authority control on series and enter them into the 490/8XX tags. Because of the different practices, you will find series entered in various ways on Alliance.

    In December 2008, the 440 tag was made obsolete. The 490 and 830 tags are now used in place of the 440 tag. The 490 tag should always be entered in the record if a series statement appears on the item and it should be entered exactly as it appears on the item. The 830 tag should contain the authorized form of the series title as found in the Library of Congress Name Authority file or established according to AACR2 rules on series uniform titles. Often the 490 and 830 tags will be identical.

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Ms. MARCAbout Ms. MARC...

Judy Yurczyk assumed the role of Ms. MARC 10 years ago and answers many cataloging questions from school library staff just like you! In addition to writing "Tag of the Month," Judy is an integral part of maintaining Follett's Alliance MARC record databases. The author of Follett's past publications of MARC Bibliographic Format Guide and MARC Authority Format Guide, Judy has taught MARC workshop classes throughout the country.
Judy received her MLS from the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee. She is a member of the American Library Association (ALA), the Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) and its Cataloging and Classification Section (ALCTS/CCS), and Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC). She has served as a member of the Vendor Relations Committee and ALCTS/CCS Cataloging of Children's Materials Committee. She co-authored a chapter in Cataloging Correctly for Kids: An Introduction to the Tools published by the American Library Association.

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