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DATE: May 22, 2014

NAME: Adding Miscellaneous Information in Topical Term and Geographic Name Fields of the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority Formats

SOURCE: German National Library

SUMMARY: This paper proposes a way to designate "miscellaneous information" in topical term fields and geographic name fields of the MARC 21 Bibliographic and Authority formats. In addition, the paper proposes the re-definition of subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" as a repeatable subfield in fields where it is already defined.

KEYWORDS: Miscellaneous information (BD, AD); Subfield $g, in Topical term fields (BD, AD); Subfield $g, in Geographic name fields (BD, AD); Subfield $g, in fields X50 (BD, AD); Subfield $g, in fields X51 (BD, AD)

RELATED: 2014-DP03

05/22/14 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

06/28/14 – Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: Approved as submitted.

07/24/14 - Results of MARC Steering Group review - Agreed with the MAC decision.

Proposal No. 2014-04: Adding Miscellaneous Information in Topical Term and Geographic Name Fields


When four of the authority files used in German speaking countries were merged into one "Gemeinsame Normdatei" (GND, Integrated Authority File), MARC was chosen as the format for cataloging, with some additions and modifications, based on cataloging traditions in German speaking countries. Some of the differences are located in the rules for descriptive cataloging, others in the rules for subject cataloging.

Describing the same entities, the four authority files used different subfields, and in addition not every MARC subfield available seemed to be exactly fitting. In some of the cases, internally we chose subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" as a catch-all subfield, either as an interim solution, before clean-up processes, or as a permanent solution. Internally, we did so even in fields where $g is not defined, i.e. in the X50 fields, for a "Topical term", and in the X51 fields, for a "Geographic name". In addition, internally we use $g as a repeatable subfield throughout the format. In contrast, externally we use $g wherever possible, and a local subfield "$9g:" where $g is not available. In cases where $g is used as repeatable, we had to add it to the content of the previous subfield. All this has the disadvantage of some inconsistencies, and more importantly of loss of information, as some partners (rightfully) ignored all local subfields, among them $9g:. As the structure of heading fields is the same across the MARC Bibliographic and Authority formats, the issues arose both in bibliographic data and authority data.

The scope of subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" is a very broad one; it is described as "data element that is not more appropriately contained in another defined subfield".

A prominent case of the internal usage of $g is a string needed when the different entities share the same word or words as their name, i.e. they are homonyms. So an additional string has to be added to make the heading a unique one. The additional string is called "Homonymenzusatz" in German, or more recently just "Zusatz" in the format for the GND. In some of the cases this "Zusatz" is of a type covered by a specific subfield, and thus is a candidate for a clean-up process. In many other cases, the existing subfields don't cover the miscellaneous information elements. Especially, it is to be pointed out that the "Zusatz" does not fit into any of the subdivision subfields:

$v - Form subdivision (R)

$x - General subdivision (R)

$y - Chronological subdivision (R)

$z - Geographic subdivision (R)

We are aware that other subject and rule systems result in different encodings in MARC, e.g. LCSH which uses parenthetical qualifiers added to the content of the same subfield:

150 ## $a Organ (Musical instrument)
150 ## $a Organs (Anatomy)

150 ## $a Canon (Art)
150 ## $a Canon (Literature)
150 ## $a Canon (Musical form)

However, we take the more granular approach here, as we are trying to model our data in a way that it can be used by automatic processes which will improve machine-parsing. Putting the element "Zusatz" into a distinct subfield would increase semantic clarity and therefore enhance identification and retrieval.


The immediate need for a new subfield is given in the fields X50 for topical terms and X51 for geographic names. So, the approach is to add subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" to the following fields:

MARC Bibliographic format:

650 "Subject added entry -- Topical term"

651 "Subject added entry -- Geographic name"

MARC Authority format:

150 "Heading -- Topical term"

151 "Heading -- Geographic name"

450 "See from tracing -- Topical term"

451 "See from tracing -- Geographic name"

550 "See also from tracing -- Topical term"

551 "See also from tracing -- Geographic name"

750 "Established heading linking entry -- Topical term"

751 "Established heading linking entry -- Geographic name"

In addition, wherever subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" is defined, or will be defined, we intend to define it as repeatable "(R)".  Subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" is defined in the following fields:

MARC Bibliographic format:

100, 110, 111, 130

240, 243, 246, 247

502 and 505 ($g already defined as repeatable)

600, 610, 611, 630

700, 710, 711, 730

800, 810, 811, 830

MARC Authority format:

100, 110, 111, 130

400, 410, 411, 430

500, 510, 511, 530

700, 710, 711, 730

Our decisions about solutions regarding the internal cataloging format of the GND are not meant to anticipate any solutions in the official MARC format. However, given the fact that nearly all of the available subfield codes are already used, we think that subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" has the potential of being an acceptable format solution.

During the meeting of the MARC Advisory Committee in January 2014 the preceding Discussion Paper was discussed. The Committee supported the approach taken by the paper, and recognized that a defined need has been identified by the German and Austrian library community. Advice was given to submit a proposal.


Topical terms with a "Zusatz"

150 ## $aAtlas$gDruckschrift
150 ## $aAtlas$gHalswirbel
150 ## $aAtlas$gRakete
150 ## $aAtlas$gTextilien

150 ## $aBindungstheorie$gChemie
150 ## $aBindungstheorie$gLinguistik
150 ## $aBindungstheorie$gPsychologie

150 ## $aEntlastung$gPsychologie
150 ## $aEntlastung$gRaumordnung
150 ## $aEntlastung$gRecht
150 ## $aEntlastung$gTechnik

150 ## $aEuropa$gMarke
150 ## $aEuropa$gRakete

150 ## $aInterferenz$gGenetik
150 ## $aInterferenz$gLinguistik
150 ## $aInterferenz$gÖkologie
150 ## $aInterferenz$gPhysik
150 ## $aInterferenz$gPsychologie
150 ## $aInterferenz$gVirologie

150 ## $aPerformance$gKapitalanlage
150 ## $aPerformance$gKünste

150 ## $aRadikal$gChemie
150 ## $aRadikal$gLinguistik
150 ## $aRadikal$gMathematik
150 ## $aRadikal$gSchrift

150 ## $aUntergrund$gBodenkunde
150 ## $aUntergrund$gPolitik

Geographic names with a "Zusatz"

151 ## $aAi$gFluss
151 ## $aAi$gInsel

151 ## $aAltar$gBerg
151 ## $aAltar$gFluss

151 ## $aAstrachan$gGouvernement
151 ## $aAstrachan$gOblast

151 ## $aBurgwald$gFrankenberg, Eder
151 ## $aBurgwald$gLandschaft

151 ## $aBute$gCounty
151 ## $aBute$gInsel

151 ## $aMoldau$gFluss
151 ## $aMoldau$gLandschaft

151 ## $aSamara$gFluss
151 ## $aSamara$gOblast

151 ## $aSamaria$gLandschaft
151 ## $aSamaria$gStadt

151 ## $aTura$gÄgypten
151 ## $aTura$gFluss
151 ## $aTura$gUngarn

Different types of entities with repeatable subfields $g:

110 1# $aDeutschland$gDDR$bBotschaft$gKuba
151 ## $aAugsburg$gRegion$xMONICA$gProjekt
151 ## $aMichelbach$gAlzenau, Unterfranken$xApostelgarten$gLage, Weinbau


BIBFRAME currently has Topic and Geographic Classes for subjects (via MADSRDF) and a number of SubClasses to more specifically define the parts of strings, such as madsrdf:TopicElement, madsrdf:TemporalElement, madsrdf:GenreFormElement, and madsrdf:GeographicElement.  BIBFRAME would probably treat this as another SubClass for elements that are parts of a heading, perhaps called madsrdf:QualifierElement.  MADSRDF contains structures to keep subparts of a subject string in order, so madsrdf:QualifierElement would follow in order the element it qualified. The use of the subfield in a bibliographic description is also covered by MADSRDF.   Since a BIBFRAME Work description can treat all subjects via MADSRDF, the new subfield is accommodated in the Work description.


In the MARC 21 Bibliographic format:

5.1. Define a repeatable subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" in the fields 650 and 651.

5.2. Re-define subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" as repeatable in the fields listed in section 2 of this paper (unless already defined as repeatable).

In the MARC 21 Authority format:

5.3 Define a repeatable subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" in the fields 150, 151, 450, 451, 550, 551, 750, 751.

5.4. Re-define subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" as repeatable in the fields listed in section 2 of this paper.

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