PROPOSAL NO.: 2005-07

DATE: May 27, 2005

NAME: Revision of subfield $b in field 041 in the MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data

SOURCE: Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC)

SUMMARY: This paper proposes changing the coding convention of field 041 (Language code) subfield $b (Language code of summary or abstract/overprinted title or subtitle) for audiovisual materials by removing the phrase “when they [the languages of subtitles] differ from the language of the soundtrack.” It also proposes changing the terminology used for subtitles and clarifies that captions are also covered in the definition of subfield $b.

KEYWORDS: Field 041 (BD); Language code (BD); Subtitles (BD); Captions (BD); Subfield $b, in field 041 (BD)


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. Subfield $b will be renamed, "Language code of summary, abstract, or subtitles."

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

Proposal No. 2005-07: Revision of subfield $b in field 041 (Language Code)


Field 041 - Language Code (R)

  First - Translation indication  
  0 - Item not a translation/does not include a translation  
  1 - Item is or includes a translation  
  Second - Source of code  
  # - MARC language code  
  7 - Source specified in subfield $2  
Subfield Codes    
  $a - Language code of text/sound track or separate title (R)  
  $b - Language code of summary or abstract/overprinted title or subtitle (R)  
  $d - Language code of sung or spoken text (R)  
  $e - Language code of librettos (R)  
  $f - Language code of table of contents (R)  
  $g - Language code of accompanying material other than librettos (R)  
  $h - Language code of original and/or intermediate translations of text (R)  
  $2 - Source of code (NR)  
  $6 - Linkage (NR)  
  $8 - Field link and sequence number (R)  

Field 041 (Language code) contains codes for languages associated with an item when field 008/35-37 (Language) is insufficient to convey full information for a multilingual item or an item that involves translation. For audiovisual materials, field 041 is used with motion pictures, filmstrips, slides, transparencies and video recordings when one or more of the following conditions exist:

Subfield $b (Language code of summary or abstract/overprinted title or subtitle) contains the codes for languages of summaries when the language of the summary is other than that of the text. For audiovisual materials, subfield $b contains the language codes of overprinted titles (subtitles) when they differ from the language of the soundtrack (in subfield $a). If such titles are in different languages, the codes are recorded in English alphabetical order.


2.1. Subtitles

Prior to the advent of DVDs, most subtitles to movies and video recordings were in languages other than that of the spoken tracks. For example, a movie recorded in German may have had English subtitles so that English speakers in the United States could view the movie and understand it. However, with the advent of DVD videos, it has become common to have both multiple spoken language tracks and multiple subtitle tracks on one DVD. In fact, the same language may be both spoken and subtitled. On the OLAC discussion list, it was pointed out that a video with Chinese subtitles is accessible to a wider audience than a video with a Chinese soundtrack in a specific dialect of Chinese. In this example, both the soundtrack and subtitles could be on the same DVD. Subtitles may also be useful to language learners.

It is important to code that a language is subtitled, regardless that it is represented by the soundtrack to allow accurate representation of what a user will find on a DVD. The current coding convention does not allow a definitive determination of what languages are represented by subtitles because it cannot be determined that the language(s) of the soundtrack are also represented by subtitles. The only way to encode fully what languages are represented by textual subtitles and what languages are represented by soundtracks is to encode each of these in separate subfields (i.e., subfields $a and $b).

If the restriction that languages encoded in field 041 subfield $b must differ from those encoded in field 041 subfield $a for audiovisual materials is removed, an accurate representation of what may be found on a DVD is possible. For example, it would be possible to encode that a DVD contains both an English soundtrack and subtitles. This information would be useful to anyone learning the English language or who would like to know what exactly can be found on a DVD.

2.2. Terminology and Definition

Because it is outdated, the term “overprinted titles” should be dropped from the name and description of subfield $b. Doing this would name subfield $b as “Language code of summary or abstract/subtitle.” It would also make the definition of subfield $b easier to understand.

The definition of subfield $b should also make it clear that the language of captions (closed or open) should be recorded in it. Captions are text that transcribe the spoken dialogue as well as cues, such as sound effects and speaker identification, needed by viewers who cannot hear the dialogue. Including captions is important so that people with hearing disabilities are aware of the audiovisual materials that they can successfully view and understand. There is no mention of captions in the present definition of subfield $b.


008/35-37   dut
041 1# $adut$afre$ager$aita$aspa$bita$bspa
008/35-37   eng
041 1# $aeng$ager$beng
008/35-37   spa
041 1# $aspa$bspa


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