PROPOSAL NO. 2005-04/R

DATE: May 27, 2005


NAME: Hierarchical Geographic Names in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: ALA MAGERT Cataloging and Classification Committee

SUMMARY: This paper proposes expanding the definition of Field 752 (Added Entry - Hierarchical Place Name), adding new subfields to 752 and the newly defined 662 and making some current subfields repeatable to enable a hierarchical approach to subject-oriented geographic coverage.

KEYWORDS: Field 662 (BD); Subject Added Entry - Hierarchical Place Name (BD); Field 752 (BD); Added Entry - Hierarchical Place Name (BD); Hierarchical Place Name (BD)

RELATED: 2004-DP02 (January 2004); 2004-07 (June 2004); 2005-04 (Jan. 2005)

STATUS/COMMENTS: 05/27/05 - Made available to the MARC 21 community for discussion.

06/25/05 - Results of the MARC Advisory Committee discussion - Approved as amended. Participants agreed to add subfields $e and $4 for relator term/code to field 662 and 752. The following subfield code changes will be made: 1) change city subsection to subfield $f; 2) change other geographic regions and features to subfield $g; 3) change extraterrestrial areas to subfield $h. The use of subfields in terms of 1) extraterrestrial bodies; 2) nonjurisdictional entities; 3) order of subfields must be clarified.

10/12/05 - Results of LC/LAC/BL review - Approved

Proposal 2005-04/R: Hierarchical Geographic Names in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format


In current MARC 21 documentation, Field 752 (Added Entry - Hierarchical Place Name) is used "to give access to a bibliographic record by way of 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)." Some applications, such as online catalogs of graphic images, have used the hierarchical geographic name structure of field 752 to provide subject access.

Some users expressed a need to distinguish between a hierarchical approach providing place of manufacture/publication information for an item described in a bibliographic record and a hierarchical approach that provides subject-oriented geographic coverage. Discussion Paper 2004-DP02 (Applying Field 752 (Added Entry - Hierarchical Place Name) for Different Purposes in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format) was presented to the MARC Advisory Committee for review and discussion in January 2004. It described the variety of current usages of field 752 and the need of some institutions to differentiate between place of manufacture/publication information and subject-oriented geographic information. The discussion paper suggested either adding an indicator to field 752 to show whether the place name provided manufacture/publication information or subject information, or defining a new field in the subject range for subject-oriented access. No consensus was reached; a straw poll showed participants rather evenly split between the two options. The group decided that a formal proposal presenting both options should be written.

The MARC Advisory Committee reviewed and discussed Proposal 2004-07 (Applying Field 752 (Added Entry - Hierarchical Place Name) for Different Purposes in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format) in June 2004. The paper presented two alternative methods to facilitate distinguishing between place of manufacture/publication information and subject-oriented geographic information: 1) adding indicators to the 752 field to show whether the name designated the place of manufacture/publication or provided subject access; and 2) defining a new field (field 652) for subject access. The proposal also suggested adding subfield $2 to field 752 to cite thesauri used as sources for field content, possibly expanding some subfields' definitions, and changing their repeatability as a means of extending geographic hierarchies.

The second option of defining a new field was approved in part. Participants agreed that field 662 (rather than field 652, which had been defined earlier but made obsolete) was an appropriate field for encoding hierarchical forms of geographic names that provided subject coverage. Participants also decided that the portion of Proposal 2004-07 concerning the definition of a subfield $2 and the expansion of subfields' definitions and changes to their repeatability in both the 662 and 752 fields should be covered in a new proposal.

In January 2005, Proposal 2005-04 (Hierarchical Geographic Names in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format) was presented for review and discussion. After some deliberation participants agreed to:

  1. Consider the usage of different vocabularies/thesauri and how methods for coding the field.
  2. Keep the the two fields parallel in terms of structure. Rare book and newspaper users do not think the proposed changes would affect their usage
  3. Expand the definition of existing subfields. Make some subfields repeatable and demonstrate repeatable subfield usage.
  4. Define the subfields more clearly, particularly subfield $a, and provide more guidance on how to code newly-added subfields.
  5. Add subfield $2 to record the source of terms used.


2.1. Current definition of Field 752.

Current indicators and subfields in Field 752 are:

2.2. Limitations of Field 752 and desirability of defining additional subfields and/or expanding current subfields.

As noted in Proposal No. 2004-07, field 752's structure is limited in terms of providing geographic coverage because it does not permit the inclusion of many types of geographic entities. This is due at least in part to the field's original purpose, as it was originally defined to provide access to bibliographic records for newspapers through a hierarchical form of a geographic place name. The definition was later expanded to facilitate a more generalized application of the field.

The subfields in field 752 do not specifically allow for coverage of terrestrial areas larger than countries, for named sections of cities, extraterrestrial bodies or many types of non-jurisdictional geographic entities.

2.3. Usage of multiple vocabularies/thesauri.

There are a number of hierarchical geographic vocabularies/thesauri that some users might use, depending on the type/level of information desired in the record. Some examples of other vocabularies/thesauri include: the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names (TGN); the Geographic Names Information System (GNIS) from the United States Geological Survey; the Canadian Geographical Names Data Base (CGNDB)/ La Base de données toponymiques du Canada (BDTC); and the Mountain Range Classification System (PEMRACS).

The entries listed below, extracted from the vocabularies/thesauri cited above, demonstrate the range of hierarchical structure and level of specificity present in these lists.

2.4. Revisions to 752/662 usage


Examples from Section 2.3.

Other examples.


Additional comments.

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