DATE: May 14, 1999

NAME: Making field 852 subfields $k and $m repeatable in the MARC 21 Holdings Format

SOURCE: Library of Congress

SUMMARY: This paper proposes making subfields $k (Call number prefix) and $m (Call number suffix) in field 852 (Location) repeatable in the Holdings Format. This would allow for recording more than one call number prefix or suffix and being able to parse them in situations where there are two pieces of information to record about the location of an item within a call number run.

KEYWORDS: Subfield $k, in field 852 (HD); Subfield $m, in field 852 (HD); Call number prefix; Call number suffix


5/15/99 - Forwarded to the MARC Advisory Committee for discussion at the June 1999 MARBI meetings.

6/26/99 - Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: Approved.

7/21/99 - Results of LC/NLC review - Approved.

PROPOSAL NO. 99-09: Making subfield $k and $m repeatable in field 852


Discussion Paper No. 113 (Appropriate use for subfields in Field 852 in the MARC Holdings Format) was presented to the MARC Advisory Committee at the Midwinter meetings in January 1999. It discussed appropriate use of subfields in field 852 and pointed out some ambiguity in their use. Questions were raised about when to use subfields $k (Call number prefix) and $m (Call number suffix) rather than a sublocation. Participants felt that the ambiguity in the use of 852 subfields is helpful. Since the field is fundamentally local data, the flexibility enables users to make decisions that fit their situation. Participants did not foresee any problem in making subfield $k and $m repeatable, a change that was requested by the Library of Congress, and that a future proposal could address that.


Subfield $k contains a term that precedes the call number and is encoded before the call number in subfields $h and $i. An example in the format shows:

     852  01 $aViBlbV $bMain Lib $bMRR $kRef $hHF5531.A1 $iN4273

In this case, "Ref" is considered a call number prefix; the data is often used on spine labels for items.

Subfield $m is defined as a term that follows the call number. An example in the format includes:

     852 0# $aDLC $hG3820 1687 $i.H62 $mVault

In this case, "Vault" is considered a call number suffix, also used on spine labels.

LC is implementing an integrated library system and generating holdings records with 852 fields. It has had a need to repeat subfield $m in cases where there are more than one call number suffix which record information about the location of an item, but both subfield $k and $m are not repeatable. An example is an item that is housed in the folio section of a vault. LC needs to repeat the subfield as follows:

     852 00 $aDLC $bc-G&M $hG1200 $i.U57 $m Vault $m fol.
      [Currently it would have to be recorded as Vault : fol. in a single $m]

Another example is an item that is part a specific collection within an organizational division. The name of the collection might be considered a call number suffix or prefix, because the item is located in a separate run of the call number, rather than in the main run of the division's call numbers. Example:

          852 00 $aDLC $bc-RareBkCo $hAC20 $i.R4 $m Pre-1801 Coll $m fol

In this case, there is a run of that classification number within the main Rare Book Collection and another run in the Pre-1801 Coll. In LC's bibliographic records, the data appears together in a single subfield for local call number information. It would be preferable to parse these call number suffixes into separate repeatable subfields for future flexibility.

Although LC has not found a need for using subfield $k, since the use of the subfield is similar to $m it seems desirable to also make it repeatable.


In the MARC 21 Holdings Format:

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