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DATE: January 9, 2009

NAME: Changing field 257 (Country of producing entity for archival films) of the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format to include non-archival materials

SOURCE: Online Audiovisual Catalogers, Cataloging Policy Committee

SUMMARY: This paper suggests broadening the use of field 257 (Country of producing entity for archival films) of the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format to include non-archival materials by renaming it Country of producing entity. It also proposes removing non-repeatable (NR) restrictions on field 257 and field 257 subfield $a. Additionally, it recommends adding subfield $2 (Source) to be able to indicate a controlled list of terms from which information has been taken.

KEYWORDS: Field 257 (BD); Country of producing entity for archival films (BD)



01/9/2009 - Made available to the MARC 21 community for discussion.

01/25/2009 - Results of the MARC Advisory Committee discussion - The committee agreed that this could be brought forward as a proposal.

Proposal 2009-DP03: Changing field 257 to include non-archival materials


Information about the country of origin of films and other moving images is widely defined as being based on the country of production. Many users are interested in this information during the process of finding and selecting moving image materials. However, in non-archival cataloging, there currently is no standard place to record this information. Most non-archival bibliographic records for moving image materials include no explicit information about country of origin. In order to provide this information for patrons and to include this information in a standard format for shared cataloging and machine manipulation, Online Audiovisual Catalogers (OLAC) Cataloging Policy Committee proposes that the restriction on use of the existing MARC field 257 for non-archival cataloging be removed and that a few enhancements be made to the field.

OLAC's Cataloging Policy Committee (CAPC) wanted to resolve an issue that arose in the Library of Congress' moving image genre/form project. Throughout the project, catalogers in other institutions said that they wanted to be able to subdivide moving image genre/form headings geographically, to bring out the country or countries of origin, but LCSH does not allow the subject headings to be subdivided geographically. Although AACR2 does not provide guidance on including this information in bibliographic records, OLAC suggests that non-archival catalogers follow the guidelines in AMIM (Archival Moving Image Materials) for populating field 257.


2.1.Current definition of field 257

Field 257 (Country of Producing Entity for Archival Films) is currently defined in the MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data as follows:

257 Country of Producing Entity for Archival Films (NR)


First – Undefined
      # - Undefined
Second - Undefined
      # - Undefined 

Subfield Codes

     $a – Country of producing entity for archival films (NR)  
     $6 - Linkage (NR)  
     $8 - Field link and sequence number (R)

2.2. Changes to field 257 to include non-archival materials

Because many non-archival bibliographic records, particularly DVDs, describe more than one film, OLAC suggests that field 257 be made repeatable so that the countries of origin of each film may be listed separately. Note that punctuation has not been included between subfields in the examples. They could be generated for display as appropriate.


     1 film on 1 DVD, U.S./Italian  co-production:
          257 ## $a United States $a Italy $2 naf

     2 films on 1 DVD, 1 U.S. production, 1 Italian production:
          257 ## $a United States $2 naf
          257 ## $a Italy $2 naf

Many moving images are multi-country productions so more than one country might be listed in field 257.  In order to make multiple countries more amenable to machine manipulation, 257 subfield $a should be made repeatable.


     A French/German/Italian co-production:
           257 ## $a France  $a Germany  $a Italy $2 naf

In order to make this data available for effective computer-generated displays and limits, it is necessary to record it in a controlled form, with the source of the standard term given.  Subfield $2 (Source) could be defined for this purpose, as in many other MARC fields.  In the MARC formats, value 7 often specifies that the source of the data may be found in subfield $2, but this is when other values are already defined for other sources in the indicator. Thus, it is not proposed to define an indicator for this purpose.  At this time, the controlled list that moving image catalogers anticipate using is the LC/NACO Name Authority File, but other groups may wish to use different lists.


          257 ## $a United States
          257 ## $a Czech Republic $2 naf
          257 ## $a Russia (Federation) $a Japan $2 naf

In addition, the field name needs to be generalized to remove the restriction for archival films.

Summary of the possible changes to field 257:

2.3. Impact on existing use of the field

Moving image archivists that use MARC 21 currently use field 257 in conjunction with AMIM rules. Generally archival cataloging is more oriented to the expression level, rather than manifestation level, while non-archival cataloging is more oriented to the manifestation. There are dependencies for archival cataloging between the country of producing entity in field 257 and 008/15-17 and the producing entity recorded in the statement of responsibility. According to AMIM rules, the country listed in 260 $a would be the country of the version in hand with the country of producing entity in the 257. The two are not necessarily the same. For example, a U.S. release version of a British film would record 260 $a United States, while the country of producing entity would be $a Great Britain, with the 008 recorded for Great Britain. In field 008/15-17 the format says: " For archival moving images, the code represents the country of producing entity from field 257. For mass-produced videorecordings, the code represents the place of publication in field 260 (Publication, Distribution, etc. (Imprint))."

Another difference in practice is that non-archival catalogers may catalog as one item multiple moving images on a DVD, while archival catalogers would catalog each moving image separately. In archival cataloging the 008 is coded for the country of the producing entity and if there are multiple countries, the others are in field 044. AMIM rules require that 257 be used for archival moving images.

The purpose of opening up the field to non-archival moving image catalogers is to allow for recording and retrieval of the country of the original, since 260 is used for the country of the DVD production, which may not be the same as the origin of the individual moving image. Making subfield $a repeatable will allow for retrieval for multiple countries for non-archival usage. Current archival usage is to put all countries in one subfield $a. This practice could continue and be considered a policy issue.


3.1. How will these changes affect non-archival cataloging practice for country of producing entity? Will there be a negative impact?

3.2. How easy will it be for systems to index data in multiple $a subfields in field 257?

3.3. If subfield $a is made repeatable, should punctuation be included or not and generated for display (i.e. semicolon after each country)? How will this affect non-archival usage of the field?


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