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The Library of Congress > Cataloging, Acquisitions > PCC > BIBCO > Most Frequently Asked Questions about BIBCO Cataloging
  1. Is it true that I may supply classification other than LC and still create a BIBCO record?
    New LC Classification, Cutter, and Shelflist Numbers
  2. What indicators should I use in the MARC field 050 for my BIBCO record?
  3. When supplying LC classification numbers, are both subfield $a and $b required in an 050 in a BIBCO record?
  4. When should an alternative classification number be added in the 050 of a BIBCO record?
  5. What about collected set classification numbers used on SARs? ...
  6. Do I need to check LC's shelflist for every classification number that we assign to a BIBCO record?
  7. If I add an LC classification number to a BIBCO record and LC uses it as copy, will our number be accepted without question?
    New LC Classification, Cutter, and Shelflist Numbers
  8. If an LC classification number does not exist, may I make one up (based on my knowledge of the schedules, etc.) and assign it to a BIBCO record (without submitting a classification proposal)?
  9. If LC changes my proposed classification number, do I have to correct it on the bibliographic record ...?
  10. Can cutter numbers for authors,* musicians, and artists be assigned to a BIBCO record without submitting a classification proposal?
  11. What are the correct indicators to use in the MARC field 053? . . .

  1. Is it true that I may supply classification other than LC and still create a BIBCO record?
    • Yes. Any number from a classification scheme recognized within the MARC 21 formats may be used in a BIBCO record.
    Using LC Classification, Cutter, and Shelflist Numbers in BIBCO Records
  2. What indicators should I use in the MARC field 050 for my BIBCO record?
    • Generally, the 050 of all BIBCO records (042=pcc) should have the first indicator set to "blank" (MARC 21 = no information provided) and the second indicator set to "4" (MARC 21 = Assigned by agency other than LC). When/if a BIBCO record is used by LC the indicators are changed to 00.

      In OCLC when upgrading an LC-MLC bibliographic record to include a classification number, the first indicator of the 050 should be set to "1" (MARC 21 = not in LC/not shelved under that number in LC).

      In other cases setting the 1st indicator to "blank" prevents the need to determine if LC holds the item and improves the efficacy of supplying a classification number.
  3. When supplying LC classification numbers, are both subfield $a and $b required in an 050 in a BIBCO record?
    • No. Only subfield $a is required. Subfield $b is defined in the MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data as an "item number" and refers to the Classification and Shelflisting Manual in which LC defines the elements that go into a subfield $b of the 050 as: "A book number: an alpha-numeric device appended to a class number to arrange material on the same subject in a specified order, usually alphabetically by author."

      The shelflisting manual also states this number (subfield $b) is also called "author number" which may be why catalogers sometimes get confused when discussing literary author numbers which are contained in the subfield $a. For literary works the subfield $b is generally based on the title of the item. cf. question no. 10 of this FAQ.
  4. When should an alternative classification number be added in the 050 of a BIBCO record? Are BIBCO libraries required to adhere to the LC practice of classifying bibliographies, etc. in class Z rather than a number for the subject in the other LCC classes? What about bound-withs, etc.?
    • LC recognizes that it is not practical for all libraries to follow LC classification policies in all respects. LC classes topical bibliographies in specific topical numbers in Class Z and provides an alternative number for those same topics from other classes. This is performed as a service of the national cataloging agency.

    • BIBCO libraries may choose to classify a PCC designated bibliographic record either in an established number for the topic in Z or in a number for that topic in other LCC classes. In either case BIBCO libraries are not expected to provide an alternative number but may do so if they wish.

      Other instances in which BIBCO libraries are not expected to provide an alternative number (but may do so if they wish) include: classifying under a collected number instead of individual analytic numbers (see also Question 6), microfilms containing multiple titles on a single reel, and bound-withs classified under the first title.
  5. What about collected set classification numbers used on SARs? If LC classes together a multi-part set but a BIBCO library decides to analyze each volume, should the collected set number be supplied in the 050 of a PCC designated bibliographic record?
    • No. The BIBCO policy on series analysis and classification practice allows for BIBCO libraries to vary from the LC decision with respect to both these procedures (Cf. DCM Z1, 64X section). This means that a BIBCO library may choose to follow LC practice or choose to analyze and classify separately a BIBCO designated record.
      When assigning an individual classification number, BIBCO libraries are not expected also to supply the collected set number in the bibliographic record but may do so if they wish.
  6. Do I need to check LC's shelflist for every classification number that we assign to a BIBCO record?
    • In most cases, rather than check against LC's online shelflist, it is best to check the LC classification schedules to assure that an assigned classification number is current. By policy, LC does not routinely reclass obsolete call numbers if the numbers were correct when originally assigned.
    Note: for literary author numbers see question no. 10 of this FAQ
  7. If I add an LC classification number to a BIBCO record and LC uses it as copy, will our number be accepted without question?
    • Not necessarily. LC will generally use the assigned 050 number in a PCC coded record; however, if there is a conflict with another "item/book number" (subfield $b) in the file or if the class portion (subfield $a) of the 050 is assigned in error, LC will change the number.
    New LC Classification, Cutter, and Shelflist Numbers
  8. If an LC classification number does not exist, may I make one up (based on my knowledge of the schedules, etc.) and assign it to a BIBCO record (without submitting a classification proposal)?
    • No. A BIBCO library using LC Classification should establish new numbers where needed, working through the SACO program. This assures that the number is established to represent the concept, and to make the new number available to other catalogers.. This includes topical Cutter numbers that are printed in the schedules.
    • BIBCO catalogers may formulate a LC number based on their knowledge of the schedules, etc., assign the number to their bibliographic record, code the record 042=pcc, and then submit a classification proposal with the caveat that number may be changed as it goes through the classification editorial process.
    • To submit a classification proposal, follow the guidelines.
    • The SACO Participants' Manual also found on the SACO home page, provides many examples and offers guidance in proposing classification numbers.
  9. If LC changes the classification number I proposed, do I have to correct it on the bibliographic record in my utility and in my local database?
    Yes, the number should be changed in the utility. Local policies should be followed regarding bibliographic file maintenance (BFM) in local databases.
  10. Can Cutter numbers for authors,* musicians, and artists be assigned to a BIBCO record without submitting a classification proposal?
    • Yes. Cutter numbers for authors, musicians, and artists generally are not printed in the LC classification schedules and need not be established. BIBCO catalogers may formulate a number after checking the LC online shelflist and assign it to a BIBCO record (042 = pcc) without submitting a classification proposal.

      Other examples of types of "unprinted Cutter numbers" include personal, corporate and geographic names, names of languages (when a topic is sub arranged by language), and titles of individual works, except for literary works from early periods up to 1500.

      * In the case of literary author numbers, a concerted effort is made by NACO participants to assure that LC and others will use their assigned "author number". This is accomplished by submitting a request to LC for verification of the number. This action triggers two results:

      • The number once verified is added by the NACO participant to the MARC field 053 (2nd indicator 0) in the name authority record in order for that number to be associated with that author for all who use LC classification.

      • The number is reserved in the LC shelflist assuring that LC will use this same number.
    • To submit a request for verification of a literary author number, NACO participants may follow the guidelines for searching the LC online shelflist and use the 053 web form found on the NACO home page.

  11. What are the correct indicators to use in the MARC field 053? Why is the second indicator of an 053 sometimes coded "blank" instead of "0."
    • The MARC 21 Format for Authority Data currently defines the first indicator as "blank" (undefined) and defines two possible values for the second indicator (0 and 4). The LC Guidelines Supplement to the MARC 21 Format for Authority Data instructs NACO participants to consult LC before using field 053 or to add a literary author number found on a LC bibliographic record. To indicate that the number is a verified LCC, NACO participants are asked to code the second indicator "0".
    • Second indicator "blank" is an obsolete value and is not to be used in newly created 053s. In authorities the second indicator in 053 was not defined until 1995, and not implemented by LC and the utilities until 1998-99. Second indicator value "blank" is synonymous to value "0"