Library of Congress >> MARC >> Bibliographic >> 3XX  >> 340

340 - Physical Medium (R)

MARC 21 Bibliographic - full
May 2017

First Indicator Second Indicator
# - Undefined

# - Undefined

Subfield Codes
  • $a - Material base and configuration (R)
  • $b - Dimensions (R)
  • $c - Materials applied to surface (R)
  • $d - Information recording technique (R)
  • $e - Support (R)
  • $f - Production rate/ratio (R)
  • $g - Color content (R)
  • $h - Location within medium (R)
  • $i - Technical specifications of medium (R)
  • $j - Generation (R)
  • $k - Layout (R)
  • $m - Book format (R)
  • $n - Font size (R)
  • $o - Polarity (R)
  • $0 - Authority record control number or standard number (R)
  • $2 - Source (NR)
  • $3 - Materials specified (NR)
  • $6 - Linkage (NR)
  • $8 - Field link and sequence number (R)


Physical description information for an item that requires technical equipment for its use, and/or more granular description information of an item's material properties to facilitate access and discovery or to support collection management.

Coded physical information is contained in field 007 (Physical Description Fixed Field). The field is repeated for each subfield $3 (Materials specified).




$a - Material base and configuration

Physical substance (e.g., acetate, canvas, clay, film, glass, vellum, or wood) and configuration (e.g., cartridge, chip, dot, fiche, globe, sheet, and audio-, magnetic-, micro-, ultra-, or videotape) on which the information is recorded.

340 ##$amarble.
[The medium for a sculpture.]

$b - Dimensions

Measurements of the material configuration (e.g., 35 mm. (film), 12 inch (phonograph disc), 4" x 6" (microfiche)).

340 ##$aparchment$b20 cm. folded to 10 x 12 cm.

$c - Materials applied to surface

Physical substance applied to the material base (e.g., ink, oil, paint, specific photographic emulsions such as albumen).

340 ##$3self-portrait$arice paper$b7" x 9"$ccolored inks$enone$hbetween entry for April 7 and April 19, 1843.

$d - Information recording technique

Means or technique by which information was recorded in or on the material base (e.g., punched, pressed, cut, molded, thermofax, x-ray).

340 ##$dhandwritten$dtyped.

$e - Support

Physical material on or in which records are mounted, bound, or otherwise supported.

340 ##$acanvas$b30 x 57 cm.$ccolored oil-base paints$ewood.

$f - Production rate/ratio

Normal rate or ratio at which the information in the material must be used to be meaningful (e.g., how many revolutions per minute for recordings, the magnification for photographic reductions).

340 ##$3case files$aaperture cards$b9 x 19 cm.$dmicrofilm$f48x.

$g - Color content

Color characteristics of the content of a resource. Achromatic values (white, gray, and black) are considered to be colors.

340 ##$awove paper$cink$cgouache$dlithography$dcollage$gpolychrome
340 ##$acardboard$cprinting ink$dcollotype$gblack and white$gcolor

$h - Location within medium

Location of the described materials within the material base and configuration (e.g., band, page, frame number).

340 ##$aglass$b45 x 15 ft.$dembedded$elead$hcenter panel.

$i - Technical specifications of medium

Access requirements involving technical equipment.

340 ##$apaper tape$dpunched$iIbord Model 74 tape reader.

$j - Generation

The relationship between an original carrier and the carrier of a reproduction made from the original (e.g., a first generation camera master, a second generation printing master).

340 ##$joriginal$2rda
340 ##$jprinting master$2rda

$k - Layout

The arrangement of text, images, etc., in a resource.

340 ##$kdouble sided$2rda

$m - Book format

The result of folding a printed sheet to form a gathering of leaves (e.g., a sheet folded once to form a folio, twice to form a quarto, three times to form an octavo).

340 ##$mfolio$2rda
340 ##$m4to$2rda

$n - Font size

The size of the type used to represent the characters and symbols in a resource.

Font size may be expressed in general terms (e.g., large print), or by specifying in addition the dimensions of the type measured in points (e.g., 20 point).

340 ##$ngiant print (36 point)$2rda

$o - Polarity

The relationship of the colors and tones in an image to the colors and tones of the object reproduced (e.g., positive, negative).

340 ##$opositive$2rda

$0 - Authority record control number or standard number

See description of this subfield in Appendix A: Control Subfields.

$2 - Source

Identification of the source of terms when they are from a controlled list.

$3 - Materials specified

Part of the described materials to which the field applies.

340 ##$3case files$aaperture cards$b9 x 19 cm.$dmicrofilm$f48x.

$6 - Linkage

See description of this subfield in Appendix A: Control Subfields.

$8 - Field link and sequence number

See description of this subfield in Appendix A: Control Subfields.


Capitalization - Terms contained in the various subfields are not usually capitalized, except for proper nouns such as names of months, etc.


$g - Color content [NEW, 2017]
$j - Generation [NEW, 2011]
$k - Layout [NEW, 2011]
$m - Book format [NEW, 2011]
$n - Font size [NEW, 2011]
$o - Polarity [NEW, 2011]
$0 - Authority record control number or standard number [NEW, 2011]
$2 - Source [NEW, 2011]

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