Tag of the Month

Category: Tag of the Month Bibliographic Archives
Title: 300 -Physical Description (R)

The 300 tag of the MARC bibliographic format contains the physical 
description of the item which consists of the extent of the item, 
its dimensions, other physical details, and accompanying materials. 

AACR2 covers the physical description area in rule 1.5 and in the 
X.5 rules for each format in chapters 2-12 (2.5, 3.5, etc.)  RDA
covers the physical description in Chapter 3 "Describing Carriers." 
The information included in the physical description varies with each 
type of material that is being cataloged. 

The physical description can help library users identify materials 
that best fit their needs. Knowing whether a book is 24 pages or 
300 pages gives the searcher a feel for the extent of the book. If a 
teacher only has 15 minutes to present, he or she probably can't use
a two hour videocassette for the class. 

Subfield a contains the extent of the item. For books this includes 
the number of pages or number of volumes. In other formats the extent 
is the number and description of physical units (maps, sound discs, 
scores, videocassettes, computer discs, microfiche, etc.) and the 
playing time for sound recordings and videorecordings. AACR2 and RDA
provide terms to be used in describing the physical units. 

Subfield b contains other physical characteristics of an item, such as 
identification of illustrative matter, coloration, portraits, etc. 
Various kinds of illustrative material are recorded in describing books, 
scores, maps, and print serials. For sound recordings enter the type of 
recording (digital, analog, acoustic), playing speed (33 1/3 rpm, 
etc.), and number of channels (mono, stereo, quadraphonic, surround). 
For other formats the presence of sound or color is noted and, in some 
cases, the materials used in producing the item. 

Subfield c contains the dimensions of the item. Dimensions are given 
in centimeters for books, scores, maps, and serials, but in inches 
for sound recordings, videorecordings, and computer discs.

Subfield e contains the descriptions of accompanying material. A 
physical description of the accompanying material can be included 
in parentheses. 


First  Undefined

 blank Undefined

Second  Undefined

 blank Undefined


     a Extent (R) 
     b Other physical details (NR) 

     c Dimensions (R) 

     e Accompanying material (NR) 


Subfield b is preceded by a colon.

Subfield c is preceded by a semicolon.

Subfield e is preceded by a plus sign.

This tag ends with a period if a 4XX tag is in the record and when
the last element is an abbreviation ("cm" is treated as an abbreviation 
in AACR2 but is not treated as an abbreviation in RDA)

Each example is presented twice, once as it would appear in an AACR2
record and again in an RDA record.

     300    _a149 p. :
               _bill. (some col.) ;
               _c28 cm.   (AACR2)

     300    _a149 pages :
               _billustrations (some color) ;
               _c28 cm
                   (A period is placed after "cm" only when a 490 tag is
                    present)   (RDA)

     300    _a11 v. :
               _bill., maps, ports. (some col.)  (AACR2)

     300    _a11 volumes :
               _billustrations, maps, portraits (some color) (RDA)

     300    _a1 videodisc (45 min.) :
               _bsd., col. ;
               _c4 3/4 in.   (AACR2)

     300    _a1 videodisc (45 min.) :
               _bsound, color ;
               _c4 3/4 in.   (RDA)

     300    _avi, 149 p. :
               _bill., maps ;
               _c21 cm. +
               _e1 teacher's guide. (AACR2)

     300    _avi, 149 pages :
               _billustrations, maps ;
               _c21 cm +
               _e1 teacher's guide. (RDA)

     300    _a2 v. (500 p.)  (AACR2)

     300    _a2 volumes (500 pages)  (RDA)

     300    _a[32] p. :
               _bcol. ill. ;
               _c24 cm.   
                   (Pages are not numbered)  (AACR2)

     300    _a32 unnumbered pages :
               _bcolor illustrations ;
               _c24 cm   
                  (Pages are not numbered, no 490 tag) (RDA)

     300    _a1 CD-ROM :
               _bsd., col. ;
               _c4 3/4 in.   (AACR2)

     300    _a1 CD-ROM :
               _bsound, color ;
               _c4/3/4 in.  (RDA)

     300    _a1 sound disc (20 min.) :
               _bdigital ;
               _c4 3/4 in. +
               _e5 books ([32] p. : col. ill. ; 27 cm.) (AACR2)

     300    _a1 audio disc (20 min.) :
               _bdigital ;
               _c4 3/4 in. +
               _e5 books (32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ;
                   27 cm) (RDA)

     300    _a25 p. :
               _bill. (chiefly col.) ;
               _c11 x 25 cm.  (AACR2)

     300    _a25 p. :
               _billustrations (chiefly color) ;
               _c11 x 25 cm.
                   (A 490 tag is present in record) (RDA)