DATE: December 12, 2003

NAME: Applying Field 752 (Added Entry – Hierarchical Place Name) for Different Purposes in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: ALA MAGERT Cataloging and Classification Committee

SUMMARY: This paper explores the variety of current usage of the MARC 21 field 752, Added Entry – Hierarchical Place Name, and the ways that some online systems index the field. It suggests the need of some institutions to index the different uses differently, and presents a possible way to facilitate such capability by either adding an indicator to show whether the place name designates place of publication or subject or defining a new field in the subject range for subject use.

KEYWORDS: Field 752 (BD); Added Entry – Hierarchical Place Name (BD); Hierarchical Place Name (BD)



12/12/03 - Made available to the MARC 21 community for discussion.

01/10/04 - Results of the MARC Advisory Committee discussion - A straw poll of the participants indicated that the group was split between either adding an indicator to show whether the place name designates place of publication or subject or defining a new field in the subject range for subject use. If the latter solution is chosen, the group suggested that field 652 could be defined. Large library databases should first be searched to ascertain whether field 652 has been used in the past since it was previously defined. The group decided that a formal proposal should be written that presents the two options. It should also delineate on how authority records will be impacted by the proposed changes.

Discussion Paper 2004-DP02: Applying Field 752 for Different Purposes


According to MARC 21 documentation, the field 752 added entry "is assigned … to give access to a bibliographic record through a hierarchical form of a place name related to a particular attribute (e.g. for newspapers, the name of the community served; for rare books, the place of publication or printing)." For rare books and likewise for early cartographic materials, it is desirable for research purposes to have access to these resources by a controlled-vocabulary form of place of printing or publication, and by the indirect hierarchical form of the place which collocates, for example, cities in France that were early centers of printing. In the card catalog era, imprint catalogs were useful tools for users of rare book collections, with card entries by place of imprint. (See New York Public Library. Rare Book Division. The imprint catalog in the Rare Book Division. Boston : G. K. Hall, 1979.) Field 752 offered the potential for an online substitute for access to hierarchical place names similar to the imprint card file.


2.1 Current use of the field

Not many institutions have taken full advantage of the capability offered by the existence of the 752 field. In October 2003, OCLC's WorldCat contained approximately 612,842 records with at least one occurrence of the 752 field. There were approximately 382,829 records coded as monographic language material (Type a/BLvl m), 191,537 coded serials (Type a/BLvl s); and 18,991 coded monographic cartographic material (Type e/BLvl m).

In the study of printing history, there is research value in an indexed 752 field providing access to place of printing or publication for early printed materials. Interest of rare book librarians in use of the field is evidenced on the ACRL/RBMS Bibliographic Standards Committee's website, with its Guide to Rare Book Records in Online Systems.

For manuscript and archival materials, the 752 field can be used for place of production. The "Content Designator History" in the MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data shows that the field definition was explicitly expanded for this purpose in the mid-1980s.

In newspaper cataloging, the 752 field has been used to provide access to "the name of the community served," as described by the MARC 21 Format, though the CONSER Cataloging Manual, 2002 edition, indicates that the newspaper's place of publication (in many cases the same as the name of the community served) is input in the 752 field; field 651 may be used for area of coverage. The field is widely used in the U.S. Newspaper Program (USNP).

Since digitizing maps for its American Memory project, the Library of Congress Geography & Map Division (LC G&M) has added 752 fields to map records to provide a browsable geographic subject access in indirect hierarchical form to the area of coverage of maps on its website within the web search mechanism. The 752s remain in the MARC 21 records in the bibliographic databases that load LC records (e.g. OCLC's WorldCat and the RLG Union Catalog). As of September 2003, there were 4,612 LC G&M records with one or more of these occurrences of the 752 field. That kind of access to map coverage areas (indirect hierarchical) is useful for various reasons, not just in the web environment. (LC classification via the G-schedule as well as field 052 Geographic classification code provide for that access, but are not as universally understood as the terms used in 752, and the 052 field is rarely indexed.) The LC G&M use has become a key indexing point; its content is directly tied to the geographic hierarchy in field 052. The MARC 21 Format explicitly states, in the definition and scope for added entry fields 70X-75X, that "Fields 752-754 provide for access to an item through other aspects of its content or description," therefore not precluding this content-related use.

The Prints and Photographs Division of the Library of Congress has used the 752 field extensively when cataloging large archives of photographs. More than 150,000 MARC records contain field 752, but the bulk are inventory-level or preliminary cataloging of photographs. Currently, these records are not distributed outside of LC, although the wider use of the field may be considered. In describing photographs the goal of using field 752 is to provide information about where the item was produced while also conveying geographic coverage information in ways that are easy for users to understand. At times a hierarchical approach is important to a collection.

2.2 Current definition

Field 752 (Added Entry – Hierarchical Place Name)
  First indicator    
      # Undefined    
  Second indicator    
      # Undefined    
  Subfield codes    
      $a Country (NR)
      $b State, province, territory (NR
      $c County, region, islands area (NR)
      $d City (NR)
      $6 Linkage (NR)
      $8 Field link and sequence number (R)

2.3 Examples of current indexing

For those institutions that use 752 fields for any of the above reasons, the field may or may not be indexed by the local system. In some systems it is indexed only in the big pool of keywords. Brown University's JOSIAH catalog indexes the 752 field as part of its keyword index, and labels it as "Other info." While rare books in Harvard's HOLLIS catalog often have 752 fields for place of publication and the field is displayed in the MARC format record, the field is not displayed in the "Full View;" nonetheless, it is indexed in a command search, as "ypn" for "hierarchical place." The New York Public Library's local system, CATNYP, indexes 752 as a subject as well as keyword and labels it as a subject. In the Library of Congress' Voyager database, the field has two left anchored indexes as well as a keyword index. The display in the online catalog labels the field as a subject. The RLG Union Catalog via Eureka indexes it as an author, and labels it "Other entries". OCLC's FirstSearch does not display the field in its "Detailed record" display, but it does index it as a publisher location.

2.4 Problem

There is a desire to have local online systems create special imprint indexes for 752 fields at institutions that have such a research need. However, the effectiveness would be questionable because the 752 field is not limited to use as an entry for place of printing or publication, or compatibly, the place of production. There are no defined indicators or display constants to distinguish different uses. To create an index now for the 752 field, with the intent of providing access to place of printing, publication, or production, would mean the possibility of retrieving some records having 752 fields related to geographical subject content of the item described, as opposed to the imprint location. This would make it difficult to retrieve records for printers/publishers/publications for certain geographic areas during set periods, a need in particular for access to rare and special collections materials.

Indexing country of publication via use of the fixed field 008/15-17 or subentities via field 044 would not suffice for those researching printing history in particular cities.

2.5 Possible solutions

The ALA MAGERT Cataloging and Classification Committee suggests that MARC 21 introduce a method to be able to distinguish between use as subject and use for access to publication, printing, and production.

Option 1. Define the first indicator in 752. One possible solution it to define indicators for field 752 to convey how the field is being used. Since neither indicator has been used, it would be possible to define a first indicator position to distinguish how the purpose of the field. If defined, value blank could mean "no information provided"; value 0 could designate that the content of the field is being used as an access point for place of publication, printing, or production; and value 1 could designate that the field is being used as an access point related to the geographic content or coverage of the item being described. Such indicators would enable local systems to create indexes for controlled vocabulary searches by place of publication, printing, or production, and minimize the retrieval of records in which the content of the 752 field is unrelated to that attribute. Note that it is not desirable to redefine value blank as either place of publication or subject, since that would invalidate existing records. However, if an institution wants to make use of this new content designation, existing records would need to be corrected to either value 0 or 1.

Option 2. Define a new 6XX field. An alternate solution would be to introduce a 6xx field with the same subfields as field 752 for an indirect hierarchical approach to geographic coverage of an item being described. Thus, field 752 could be more narrowly defined and no longer used for a content-related attribute. If its uses related exclusively to place of production or publication, indexing could be more straightforward for these uses. Field 652 is currently available in the MARC 21 bibliographic format, but it was defined previously as Subject Added Entry–Reversed Geographic. This field was used in the late 1970s for a few years at the Library of Congress for maps and atlases classed in LCC G1000-G9999 for reversing the subject heading in field 650 (for each heading Topic–Place a reverse heading Place–Topic was added). The field was made obsolete when LC discontinued this practice in 1980. Maps records were corrected to delete the field. It is rare that a field is reused for another purpose; in this case, the field was defined differently than the current 752 hierarchical approach (subfields were $a, $x, $y, and $z as defined in other 6XX fields). There are no remaining 65X fields available, so a 662 field could be introduced in the bibliographic format. However, the 66X block is used in authority records for complex name references; 662 is not defined in the authority format.


3.1 How have institutions used field 752?
3.2 What would be the impact in terms of the necessity to make changes in existing records? What would be the approximate quantity of records needing changes? Will all 752 fields need to be changed to take advantage of the new content designation? Would it be worth the benefit?
3.3 Is it better to define an indicator for field 752 or a new field in the 6XX range?
3.4 If the latter is preferred, should 652 be reused with different subfields and a slightly different meaning, or is it better to use field 662?
3.5 Is it necessary to change the definition of (or broaden the definition of) subfield $a (in field 752 and/or in a future 6XX field) to accommodate geographic content uses such as for maps of the Western Hemisphere, North America, Atlantic Ocean, and non-earth locations?
3.6 Would there be some useful corollary additions to authority records to assist with the uniform authorized forms for the indirect hierarchical geographic entries (e.g. 781 field)?
3.7 Are further changes needed to the names of the subfields in field 752 (or a future 6XX field), since they are oriented to U.S. governmental divisions?
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