The Library of Congress >> Especially for Librarians and Archivists >> Standards

MARC Standards

HOME >> MARC Development >> Discussion Paper List


DATE: December 20, 2013

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

SOURCE: German National Library

SUMMARY: This paper discusses 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 discusses the repeatability of subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" 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)


12/20/13 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

01/25/14 – Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: The Committee supported the approach taken by the paper.  DNB will submit a proposal at Annual 2014 for the definition of a repeatable subfield $g  in topical term and geographic name fields, and for the re-definition of $g as a repeatable subfield wherever it is defined as "Miscellaneous information" (field groups X00, X10, X11 etc., and field group 24X of the MARC Bibliographic format).

Discussion Paper No. 2014-DP03: "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 we manage to clean up, or as a permanent solution. Internally, we did so even in fields where $g is not defined, i.e. all X50 fields, for a "Topical term", and all 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 the clean-up process already mentioned. 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 uses paranthetical qualifiers or "Zusatz", using one 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 taken by this discussion paper 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"

For reasons of consistency, we can also imagine adding $g to the X48 (Chronological Term) and X55 (Genre/Form) fields of MARC Bibliographic and MARC Authority, but we don't have an immediate need for this.

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

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.


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 $g's:

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


BIBFRAME currently has the following elements for subjects (via MADSRDF):  Topic, Temporal, Geographic, GenreForm, Name, Title, Occupation, and Language.  MADSRDF also has a number of classes to more specifically define the parts of strings, such as a way to identify the date part of a name or a terms of address.  BIBFRAME  would probably treat this as another element for subdivisions or parts of a heading,  perhaps called Qualifier, depending on how MARC treats it.  MADSRDF contains structures to keep subparts of a subject string in order.   Qualifier would follow in order the element it qualified.


5.1. Does the definition of $g "Miscellaneous information" in the fields X50 and X51 solve the issue described in this paper? Are there better possible solutions?

5.2. Would the definition of $g "Miscellaneous information" in the fields X50 and X51 as described in this paper have implications on other cataloging workflows?

5.3. Is the (re-)definition of subfield $g "Miscellaneous information" as repeatable a possible direction

HOME >> MARC Development >> Discussion Paper List

The Library of Congress >> Especially for Librarians and Archivists >> Standards
( 03/10/2014 )
Legal | External Link Disclaimer Contact Us