Forty character positions (00-39) that provide coded information about the record as a whole and about special bibliographic aspects of the item being cataloged. These coded data elements are potentially useful for retrieval and data management purposes.
Data elements are positionally-defined. Character positions that are not defined contain a blank (#). All defined character positions must contain a defined code; for some field 008 positions, this may be the fill character (|). The fill character may be used (in certain character positions) when a cataloging organization makes no attempt to code the character position. The fill character is not allowed in field 008 positions 00-05 (Date entered on file). Its use is discouraged in positions 07-10 (Date 1), 15-17 (Place of publication, production, or execution), and the 008 position defined for Form of item (either position 23 or 29 depending upon the 008 configuration).
Character positions 00-17 and 35-39 are defined the same across all types of material, with special consideration for position 06. The definition of character positions 18-34 was done independently for each type of material, although certain data elements are defined the same in the specifications for more than one type of material. When similar data elements are defined for inclusion in field 008 for different types of material, they occupy the same field 008 character positions.
In the following documentation, character positions are described in the order of their listing at the beginning of this section. Field 008 positions 00-17 and 35-39 (All materials) for all types of material are described first, followed by seven groups of sections for positions 18-34 (Books, Computer files, Maps, Music, Continuing resources, Visual materials and Mixed materials).