MARC 21: Harmonized USMARC and CAN/MARC

Network Development and MARC Standards Office
Library of Congress

The Library of Congress and the National Library of Canada are pleased to announce that the harmonized USMARC and CAN/MARC formats will be published in a single edition in early 1999 under a new name: MARC 21. The name both points to the future as we move into the 21st century and suggests the international character of the format, which is appropriate and important given its expanding worldwide use.

MARC 21 is not a new format. From 1994-1997 the USMARC and CAN/MARC user communities worked to eliminate all remaining differences in their two already-similar formats. Compatibility had been a feature of the development processes for both formats for many years. In 1997 and early 1998, updates to the formats were issued that made the format specifications identical. MARC 21, a continuation of both USMARC and CAN/MARC, publishes the formats in one edition under a new name.

Further announcements on the publication of the new editions of the five formats that make up the MARC 21 family of formats -- Bibliographic, Authority, Holdings, Classification, and Community Information -- will be made when printing of each is completed over the next year. The National Library of Canada will also be producing simultaneously a French edition of MARC 21. For further information on the shared format, visit the following official format web sites:

MARC Web Site (U.S.)
MARC Web Site (Canada)

October 22, 1998

Library of Congress Library of Congress
Library of Congress Help Desk (04/26/01)