Tag of the Month

Category: Tag of the Month Bibliographic Archives
Title: 505 - Formatted Contents Note (R)

The Formatted Contents Note (505 tag) of the MARC 21
bibliographic record helps identify specific contents 
within a book or holding. Use this note to list the 
poems within a collection or the short stories within 
an anthology. The author's names may or may not be 
included in the contents note. Many of the indexes for 
different materials such as Index to Poetry or 
Index to Short Stories only index a selected 
portion of the vast number of anthologies published. 
The 505 contents note makes those anthologies that are 
not indexed accessible to the library searcher. 

The 505 tag can also be used to list the chapter 
headings from the table of contents if the headings 
would create better access to the contents of the 
book. For example, a collective biography of the 
children who grew up in the White House may have a 
chapter on Lucy Johnson, another on Caroline Kennedy, 
another on Margaret Truman, and another on Amy Carter. 
The patron could then use the keyword search and 
locate the biographical information on any one of 
these people who may not have a separate biography. 
This example shows how keyword searching becomes much 
more powerful when the MARC record contains more than 
just the title, author, and subject headings. 

AACR2 governs the construction of the contents note 
with rule X.7B18. The X represents the particular 
chapter number depending on what type of media the 
librarian is cataloging. For book materials it would 
be rule 1.7B18 in chapter one and for projected 
graphics it would be 8.7B18 in chapter eight. The 
structure itself looks remarkably similar to the title 
proper and statement of responsibility. 

RDA provides instructions on entry of the contents note
in with additional instructions for analytical
titles in 1.5.3.

Subfield a of the 505 tag is most commonly used, 
however, this tag also allows separation of the title 
and statement of responsibility in two different 
subfields. The indicators define if the contents are 
complete, incomplete, (library owns only part of the 
complete set), or there should be no display constant 

Adding the contents notes to the bibliographic record 
will make the many anthologies, story collections, 
fairy tale collections, and other materials more 
accessible to library users through keyword searching. 


First  Display constant generated

     0 Contents 

     1 Incomplete contents 

     2 Partial contents 

     8 No display constant generated

Second  Level of content designation

 blank Basic

     0 Enhanced


     a Formatted contents note (NR)

     g Miscellaneous information (R)

     r Statement of responsibility (R)

     t Title (R)

     u Uniform Resource Identifier (R)


A space hyphen hyphen space ( - ) separates the 
different titles within the contents note. 

This tag ends with a period when it contains complete 
or partial contents, unless another mark of 
punctuation (!, ?, -) is present.

If the tag contains incomplete contents, no period is 
recorded, unless the last word is an initial or 
abbreviation ending in a period.


Basic contents note

     505 0  _aPatterns / Amy Lowell -- Fire and ice / 
                    Robert Frost -- Grass / Carl Sandburg.

     505 0  _aLucy Johnson -- Caroline Kennedy -- 
                     Margaret Truman -- Amy Carter.

     505 0  _aGeneral reference works -- The 
                    humanities -- Social and behavioral 
                    sciences -- History and area studies -- 
                    Science, technology, and medicine.

Enhanced contents note

     505 00 _tPatterns /
                 _rAmy Lowell --
                 _tFire and ice /
                 _rRobert Frost --
                 _tGrass /
                 _rCarl Sandburg.

     505 00 _tGeneral reference works --
                 _tThe humanities --
                 _tSocial and behavioral sciences --
                 _tHistory and area studies --
                 _tScience, technology, and medicine.

     505 10 _gv. 1. _tThe ship  --_gv. 4. The land.
       (Spaces used to represent missing intermediate