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MARC: News and Announcements (May 31, 2013)

MARC and RDA Relators Reconciled

Network Development and MARC Standards Office
Library of Congress


The MARC Code List for Relators is a list of terms with their associated codes to allow the relationship between a name and a resource (i.e. roles) to be designated in bibliographic descriptions. The list has been used for many years in MARC and more recently in MODS. In MARC the term is carried in subfield $e in name and subject fields and in the code form in subfield $4. This list has been useful more broadly than just in the MARC community; in 2005 an agreement to use a subset of these roles as subproperties of Dublin Core Contributor was established between LC and DCMI. With the publication of RDA another list of roles showing the relationship between a person, family or organization and a resource was made available in Appendix I. The RDA list only includes English language terms and not codes. There is a great deal of overlap between the MARC and RDA lists, although they are presented differently.

The MARC Code List for Relators has been available for many years, initially in print and then on the web in HTML on the MARC site. For several years a richer dataset has been available at http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/relators.html as Linked Data. This revision is reflected in the HTML pages on the MARC site, but its most complete form is at id.loc.gov, using the relationships available in RDF.

The Network Development and MARC Standards Office at the Library of Congress conducted a thorough comparison of the MARC and RDA lists that resulted in a major revision of the MARC Code List for Relators. For consistency, this announcement refers to these designators as “roles”; in MARC they are “relators” and in RDA they are “relationship designators”. This revision reconciles the two lists in several ways:

Other changes and enhancements to the list include:

The publication of this revision will facilitate use of a broader set of roles than had previously been available in MARC and in other carrier formats. In assigning codes to all of the RDA roles, institutions may continue to use coded data if they choose for this information.

The list is available at: http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/relators and at http://www.loc.gov/marc/relators.

Please send comments to: [email protected]

May 31, 2013


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