DATE: May 1, 1997

NAME: Notes in the USMARC Holdings Format

SOURCE: Harvard University

SUMMARY: This paper summarizes the note fields in the USMARC Holdings Format and suggests the inclusion of additional note fields that contain copy specific information but are currently defined only in the USMARC Bibliographic Format. If these fields are defined in holdings, it considers whether the tags should remain the same as in the bibliographic format or whether they should use different tags in holdings.

KEYWORDS: Note Fields [Holdings]



5/1/97 - Forwarded to USMARC Advisory Group for discussion at the June 1997 MARBI meetings.

6/29/97 - Results of USMARC Advisory Group discussion - Some concern was expressed that any field with a subfield $5 could also be defined in the Holdings format, since it can be local in nature. A suggestion was made to make $5 obsolete in bibliographic fields and define those fields only in Holdings. However, there was not much support for this suggestion, since many communities (especially Rare Books) are used to seeing local notes in the bibligraphic record, and holdings records are generally not indexed by systems. Members of the Rare Book community are interested in using the $8 linking technique to link notes fields to field 852; in this case a new link code would need to be defined for this $8 use. LC should prepare the following papers to continue this discussion:

Holdings Format


The USMARC Holdings Format has several note fields that are also
defined in the USMARC Bibliographic Format.  These fields contain
information that may be appropriate at the copy level, rather than
only at the bibliographic level.  Note fields in both formats are:
533 (843 in Holdings)                   Reproduction Note
540 (845 in Holdings)                   Terms Governing Use and Reproduction Note
583 (same in Holdings)                  Action Note

Other fields that exist in both formats include (among others): 007
(Physical Description Fixed Field); 010 (Library of Congress
Control Number); 020 (International Standard Bibliographic Number);
022 (International Standard Serial Number), etc.  These fields use
the same tags in both formats.

Other notes that are by their nature specific to a given holding
exist in the USMARC Bibliographic Format, but have not been defined
in the USMARC Holdings Format.  These are:

541             Immediate Source of Acquisition
561             Provenance (renamed in February 1997 as Ownership and
                Custodial History)
562             Copy and Version Identification Note

In a message sent to the USMARC list in October 1996 the need was
expressed for the above fields to be added to the holdings format
so that such information could be communicated at the holdings or
copy level.  Another field that might be considered is field 506
(Restrictions on Access Note).  The USMARC Advisory Group agreed in
February 1997 to consider this issue at the next meeting.


Harvard University has expressed a need to include note fields at
the holdings level for certain types of notes that are only defined
in the bibliographic format.  When information in one of these note
fields (for example fields 541 (Immediate Source of Acquisition)
and 562 (Copy and Version Identification Note)), applies only to a
particular copy, Harvard stores the fields internally at the
holdings level. 

Harvard can export holdings information either embedded in the
bibliographic record or in separate holdings records.  When
embedding holdings, it exports one copy of the bibliographic record
per holdings segment; the receiving system then manipulates the
data and de-dups the bibliographic record as needed.  The holdings
format allows for communicating the separate holdings records,
linked to the bibliographic record by field 004 (Control Number for
Related Bibliographic Record) after the bibliographic record is
distributed. When Harvard distributes one copy of the bibliographic
record with multiple separate holdings records, information in
these copy-specific note fields that cannot be legally communicated
in holdings records must be dropped or included in the
bibliographic record without indicating to which copy the
information applies.  This practice would result in ambiguity of
the copy/holdings information that is communicated.  

RLG implemented the USMARC Holdings Format in RLIN in 1996.  In the
system, holdings data (whether for single or multiple copies) are
contained in a holdings segment attached to the bibliographic
segment of the record.  Fields that are copy specific in nature but
do not exist in holdings have to be displayed with the
bibliographic segment even if there are multiple copies.  In
addition, fields like 583 that exist with the same tag in both
formats create special problems for the system, since it is not
possible to determine unambiguously whether they are intended to go
with the bibliographic or holdings data.  In cases like field 533
that carries a different tag in holdings, RLG staff has pointed out
that it is clear whether the field is appropriate at the
bibliographic or holdings level.  If additional note fields are
defined in holdings, whether to use the same or a different tag
must be considered.  However, having different tags is more
difficult for staff creating the records since they have to
remember one tag in bibliographic and a different one in holdings. 
In addition, it is a USMARC principle to use the same tag for the
same type of data.

The USMARC Holdings Format specifies the conditions under which an
agency can embed holdings data in bibliographic records and those
under which it must communicate separate holdings records.  It
stipulates that when holdings are reported for a single location
the information may be embedded.  If holdings are reported for
multiple copies and the location or call number data elements vary,
multiple 852 fields are used.  They can be embedded in a
bibliographic record only if there are no other associated fields
(e.g., 007, 842, 844, 853-855, 86X, 76X) unless these associated
fields are applicable to all copies/locations.  RLG felt that it
was more consistent to require holdings data always to be in
holdings records whether for single or multiple copies, and that
this would allow for note fields to be unambiguously attached to
the copies to which they relate.  To achieve this, certain note
fields that may apply only to a particular holdings segment need to
be available in the holdings format.


1.  Should the following note fields that can be copy specific be
defined in the USMARC Holdings Format?
        541     Immediate Source of Acquisition
        561     Provenance Note (now: Ownership and Custodial History)
        562     Copy and Version Identification Note

2.  Are there any other bibliographic note fields that should be
defined in holdings because they are by their nature copy specific
(e.g. field 506)?

3.  If defined in holdings, should the field retain the same tag as
in the bibliographic format, or should new tags be used?
Alternatively, if the same tag is used, should something in the
field indicate whether it is being used at the bibliographic or
holdings level (e.g. an indicator value) in case it is embedded in
a bibliographic record?

4.  Should the provisions of the holdings format dealing with
embedding holdings fields in bibliographic records be reconsidered?

5.  Are there copy-specific note fields that should be used only in
the Holdings Format?

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