PROPOSAL NO.: 2004-06

DATE: May 24, 2004

NAME: Defining the First Indicator and New Subfields in Field 017 to Suppress Display Labels in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: U.S. Copyright Office

SUMMARY: This paper proposes the definition of a first indicator in field 017 to be used to suppress display labels as different types of copyright or legal deposit numbers are recorded in MARC records. This will provide flexibility in expressing a variety of types of registration numbers. The paper also proposes defining subfield $d to record the date of copyright registration.

KEYWORDS: Field 017 (BD); Copyright or Legal Deposit Number (BD); Display constant controller (BD); Date of copyright registration (BD)



05/24/04 - Made available to the MARC 21 community for discussion.

06/26/04 - Results of the MARC Advisory Committee discussion - Approved as amended. It was reported that the first indicator position in field 017 has been previously defined. Instead of the first indicator, the second indicator position will be defined as "Display constant controller". In the new indicator position, value blank (#) should be named "Copyright or deposit number." Subfield $a should be renamed "Copyright or legal deposit number" to match the name of field 017.

08/26/04 - Results of LC/LAC/BL review - Agreed with the MARBI decisions.

Proposal 2004-06: Defining the First Iindicator and New Subfields in Field 017 to Suppress Display Labels


The U.S. Copyright Office is currently migrating its non-MARC database to one that supports the MARC 21 formats. In doing this, a copyright conversion group has been given the task of mapping out how the current copyright bibliographic data will be converted to the MARC 21 standard.

The U.S. Copyright conversion group is using MARC 21 field 017 (Copyright or legal deposit number) to record its copyright registration numbers. It is necessary to distinguish between different kinds of registration numbers and generate a display label. Copyright registration numbers that need to be identified are numbers such as “Original registration” and “Supplemental registration.” There is currently no mechanism in field 017 to do this. The conversion group would also like to record the date of copyright registration in field 017. There is also no means in field 017 to do this.


2.1 Current definition

Field 017 is currently defined as follows:



First - Undefined
# - Undefined

Second - Undefined
# - Undefined

Subfield Codes

$a - Copyright registration number (R)
$b - Assigning agency (NR)
$2 - Source (NR)
$6 - Linkage (NR)
$8 - Field link and sequence number (R)

2.2 Options

2.2.1 Definition of indicator

One option to distinguish types of copyright registration numbers is to define the first indicator with values for the different types of numbers. No more than eight values could be defined in this indicator value, however, and thus, this option may not satisfactorily meet the data needs of the U.S. Copyright Office if more than eight types must be identified. The U.S. currently has identified five types and other countries may have additional ones. The registration number types currently used by the U.S. Copyright Office are: Basic; Cancelled; Non-verified; Original; Supplemental.

A better alternative is to define the first indicator as “Display constant controller” with the values of “# - Registration or deposit number” and “8 - No display constant generated.” This would allow for the suppression of the display label in OPAC displays. Subfield $i could also be defined to contain the “Display text” that should be displayed when the first indicator contains value 8. This option provides flexibility in expressing a variety of types of registration numbers.

In the current definition of field 017, one is advised to repeat the field when more than one agency has assigned a copyright or legal deposit number. If the indicator and subfield $i is defined, the field would also be repeated for a different type of number coded by a single agency.

2.2.2 Defining subfield $d for date in field 017

The Copyright Office would like to record the date on which the copyright registration number was assigned in field 017. To do this, it is proposed that a nonrepeatable subfield $d (Date) be defined. The date recorded in field 017 would be formatted according to ISO 8601 (yyyymmdd) as is the U.S. Copyright Office’s current practice. Each unique Registration Number should be placed in a new field 017 to make the relationship between the registration number and registration date explicit.


017 8# $iSuppl. reg.$aPA001116455$bU.S. Copyright Office$d20020725
[Display: Suppl. reg.: PA001116455]
017 8# $iOrig. reg.$aJP732$bU.S. Copyright Office$d19510504
[Display: Orig. reg.: JP732]
017 ## $aPA1116341$bU.S. Copyright Office$d20020703
[Display: Registration or deposit number: PA1116341]


  • In field 017 (Copyright and Legal Deposit Number) of the MARC 21 bibliographic format:


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