NAME: Defining Field 856 in the USMARC Authorities Format
SOURCE: University of Georgia
SUMMARY: This paper discusses extending the 856 field to the Authorities format as a potential means of improving access to the web pages of organizations.
KEYWORDS: Field 856 [Authority]; Uniform resource locator [Authority]; Electronic Location and Access [Authority
RELATED: 96-6 (Jan. 1996)
12/5/97 - Forwarded to USMARC Advisory Group for discussion at the 1998 Midwinter MARBI meetings.
1/11/98 - Results of USMARC Advisory Group discussion - There were strong feelings expressed on either side of the issue of defining field 856 in authorities. Some participants felt it made for a richer record and prevented the authority record from having information that could just be linked to. Others felt that basic decisions as to the function of authority records need to be made before adding a field such as this. Some were concerned about the implications for doing authority maintenance in a large database considering the volatility of a URL. There was some feeling that MARBI should define the field and thus allow it to be used and that specific groups (e.g. PCC) could make decisions on whether or how to apply it to different situations.
DISCUSSION PAPER NO. 107: Defining Field 856 1. INTRODUCTION Provisions within the bibliographic format enable institutions to provide controlled access to the electronic resources available on the Internet, similar to what they provide for other materials. Field 856 in bibliographic records allows for a link to an electronic resource. It facilitates the same bibliographic control and subject access for electronic resources as has been provided for other more traditional library materials. Defining field 856 in the Authority Format would give institutions an option to provide access to substantive web sites for organizations and other supplementary information through a link within an authority record. This would be a useful augmentation of the authority record, providing historical and biographical information that is too costly for most institutions to develop and input into the 678 field currently. 2. DISCUSSION After the introduction of field 856 into the bibliographic and holdings formats, proposals were later approved to add it to the USMARC Classification Format (to link the classification number to visual aids meant to be used as a guide to the classification numbers) and to the Community Information Format. The latter, Proposal No. 96-6 (Definition of Existing Bibliographic Data Elements in the Community Information Format), established a procedure for adopting existing data elements across formats. That procedure involves using the USMARC list to announce intent to adopt and allows for a six-week discussion period. If the field is adopted as is, no proposal is needed and it is incorporated into the next update. The timing of this request to adopt field 856 into the Authority Format has provided an opportunity to discuss the issue at a MARBI meeting, rather than having the discussion electronically. Authority records would use field 856 to provide supplementary information about the entity for which the record was created, particularly corporate entities. It might link to an organization's Web site or point to other biographical or historical information that might otherwise be carried in field 678 in the authority record. Such access might be more efficient and useful than the creation of a bibliographic record for an organization's home page. A bibliographic record for such sites would require constant updating. For example the Library of Congress Home Page has had several different title page titles over its short life and the expectation is that it will likely continue to be revised at least once a year. The URL has been constant, however. The authority record might be a more desirable and useful place to record such data. Inclusion of URLs in note fields of authority records has been discouraged in the NACO program due to the likelihood of their becoming outdated, although contributors can cite information from Web pages. However, if reliably found in 856 fields, authority record URLs could be subjected to the same link-maintenance software as are those in bibliographic records. EXAMPLE: LDR 00624cz###2200181n##4500 001 n 79117971 003 DLC 008 791025n|#acannaab|##########|a#ana#||| 010 $an 79117971 040 $aDLC$cDLC 110 20$aLibrary of Congress.$bCopyright Office. 410 20$aLibrary of Congress.$bRegister of Copyrights 410 10$aUnited States.$bRegister of Copyrights 410 20$aLibrary of Congress.$bOffice of the Register of Copyrights 410 10$aUnited States.$bOffice of the Register of Copyrights 410 10$wnna$aUnited States.$bCopyright Office. 667 ##$aUnused subdivision: Research Unit 856 4#$uhttp://lcweb.loc.gov/copyright 3. QUESTIONS 1. While the need is probably less urgent, are there any reasons not to allow adding URLs for web pages to personal name authority records for authors, editors, et al.? 2. Would there be any problem with carrying over to the Authorities Format the repeatability and the full complement of subfield codes defined for use in the Bibliographic Format? 3. Is there any need for guidelines to determine when the link belongs in the authority record and when in the bibliographic record?