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IFLA Universal Bibliographic Control and International MARC Core Programme (UBCIM)

UNIMARC Manual : Bibliographic Format 1994

4 Record Label and Data Fields General Information

4.1 Repetition of Fields and Subfields

Fields and subfields within a record may be repeated in line with the instructions given under Occurrence in each data field description and under the definitions of the subfields. Fields embedded in 4-- linking entry fields have the same repeatability within that field as they have within a record.

At every field a decision has been made as to whether data which recurs should be repeated by means of a repetition of the whole field or a repetition of the subfield within a non-repeatable field. This must be followed to ensure consistency of the use of UNIMARC between users. The designation of fields as mandatory has been kept to a minimum, since in many instances whether fields can actually be present in a UNIMARC record depends on the practices of the agency that prepared the source record.

4.2 Order of Fields

There is no specified order required for fields in a record. The order of their respective directory entries which is specified is not necessarily the physical order of the fields.

4.3 Order of Subfields

There is no specified order implied in the values of the subfield identifiers. In certain instances recommendations are made concerning the position of particular subfields. In the ISBD fields, the data is transcribed in the order specified in ISBD and this determines the ordering of the subfields.

Numeric subfields precede or follow the part to which they refer according to the following rules.

Subfields $0, $3, $6, $7 precede all other subfields and $2, $4, $5 follow all other subfields. Each set, preceding or following, is in ascending numeric order.

The numeric subfields are the following:

    $0 Control Number (see 4-- block)
    $1 Linking Data (see 4-- block)
    $2 System Code
    $3 Authority Record Number
    $4 Relator Code
    $5 Institution to which the Field Applies
    $6 Interfield Linking Data (see Section 3)
    $7 Alphabet/Script of Field (see Section 3)
    $8 Not Defined
    $9 Reserved for Local Use


    605 ##$aBible$xCommentaries$2lc
    710 02$3n##801234567b$aPittsburgh Research Center
    702 #1$aIrvine$bThomas Francis$4440
    012 ##$adete nkck vess lodo 3 Anno Domini MDCXXVI 3$5UkCU
    600 #0$601$aPlato [and] 600 #0$601$7ga$a[Plato in the Greek character set]

4.4 Characters

Within the data fields of UNIMARC any character is permitted that corresponds to a graphical character when the data is textual. Within the coded subfields of UNIMARC and in the indicator positions, the characters permitted are as specified in the appropriate field/subfield.

4.5 Characters for Use in Cases of Ambiguity

The fill character is intended to be used in those circumstances where it is not possible to assign the correct value to a coded data item. This may occur, for example, when there is no corresponding value at all in the source format. The fill character is a graphic character in ISO 646: "|" (vertical line), position 7/12 in the 7-bit code table.

The fill character may not be used in the Record Label, Directory, tag or textual data. It may not be used to replace a mandatory coded data element, a subfield identifier, punctuation or other special characters, or all codes in an optional coded field (the field should not be used).

Fill Character in Coded data

The fill character is used when the agency never assigns values to a particular type, e.g. field 100 (General processing data) character positions 17-l9 (Target audience codes) where the agency does not use any code to describe the target audience.

This use of the fill character should be contrasted with the use of other general codes such as #, u, v, x, y, z in certain areas. The following is a description of the commonest use of these codes:

# (blank) No more values. Used in fixed length fields where there are fewer values than there are characters allotted, e.g. field 105 (Coded data field: books and other monographic printed language materials) character positions 4-7 (form of contents codes), when, of all the possibilities, only "i" (statistics) applies the character positions will be "i###".

u Unknown. Used when the data could not be discovered by the cataloguer but a definite code would have been given if possible.

v Combination. Used when a combination of the individual coded characteristics appear in the item.

x Not applicable. The characteristic is not appropriate to the type of material being presented, e.g. field 115 (Projected and video material codes) character position 9 (technique for motion pictures and video recordings) when the item is a slide set.

y Not present. Used when the characteristic being coded is not present for the particular item e.g. field 100 (General processing data) character position 20 (Type of government publication).

z Other. Used when codes are being assigned and the characteristics of the item are known, but none of the defined codes is appropriate (e.g. see field 105, character position 11, and field 110, character position 1). This code is occasionally also used for Unknown when code u is not in the list for that category or has been used for a specific type.

Fill Character in Indicators

For indicators, the fill character is also used when the agency never assigns values to a particular type, e.g. field 710 (Corporate body name) indicator 1 (Meeting indicator). It is also used when situations arise that, for codes, would be dealt with using u, v, or z, i.e. unknown, combination or other. The fill character is also used when UNIMARC has a specific indicator which cannot be derived from any value in the source format.

4.6 Non-Filing Control Functions

Characters in data that do not have filing value may be so designated using the non-filing control functions in the Bibliographic Control set (ISO 6630). The NSB, Non-Sorting Characters Beginning, is inserted in the data immediately before the characters without filing value and the NSE, Non-Sorting Characters Ending, is inserted in the data immediately after the non-sorting characters. The Bibliographic Control set is described in Appendix J of the UNIMARC Manual. In the examples, NSB and NSE are represented by {NSB}and {NSE}.

4.7 Form and Content of Data

UNIMARC is primarily an exchange format and the intention is that it should carry data originating from agencies and systems that use different formats. Because this data may originally have been recorded according to the provisions of different cataloguing codes, it is not always possible to prescribe exactly the form of the data in a UNIMARC record or to list the data elements that must be present in a UNIMARC record. However, since by their very nature bibliographic records produced by different agencies tend to have a great deal in common, there are a large number of areas where practices are similar. One such area is in the descriptive portion of the record for which the International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD) has been developed. UNIMARC recommends that the descriptive elements of a record be formulated according to the provisions of ISBD. For details of the relevant ISBDs see Appendix M in the UNIMARC Manual.

Since ISBD concerns the presentation of data in a record intended to be read by a user of a catalogue or a bibliography, it makes no provision for conventions to be followed in a record in machine-readable form from which an eye-legible catalogue record in ISBD format may be generated. This Manual recommends certain practices in order to assist users of the format to make decisions in these areas and to establish as much consistency as possible between records converted into UNIMARC by different agencies. More information on specific practices related to ISBD can be found in 2-- DESCRIPTIVE INFORMATION BLOCK and in individual fields within that block. In other areas where no standard practices are being developed, this Manual generally recommends a choice of approaches based on existing practices. The examples used in the Manual have been based on recommended definitions and practices, but are in no way prescriptive or exhaustive.

In some cataloguing codes data related to several variant issues or editions of one title may be carried in a single record. This may be encoded by various means in UNIMARC including use of a note field, repetition of field 010 ISBN or field 011 ISSN with a note in the qualification or terms of availability subfields or use of the 4-- LINKING ENTRY BLOCK fields.

Given the variations in practice described above, it is recommended that documentation accompanying exchange tapes explain these variations. For details see Appendix K in the UNIMARC Manual.

4.8 Punctuation

In the interests of consistency between users of UNIMARC, this Manual also makes certain recommendations with regard to punctuation. It recommends that, with a small number of exceptions, ISBD punctuation be omitted at subfield boundaries, since it can be supplied automatically from the subfield codes. Specific directions for this are included with the field specifications.

Punctuation in other parts of the record is recorded according to the practice of the agency preparing the record. Such punctuation should be entered consistently by each agency so that the source of the record will indicate for a recipient the processing required to provide any punctuation needed. Many agencies do not carry punctuation at subfield boundaries in access point fields (e.g., in the 7-- INTELLECTUAL RESPONSIBILITY BLOCK) in their own MARC records, since that punctuation can be supplied when the record is printed out in the same way as in the ISBD fields. The examples in these fields illustrate both use and omission of punctuation.

4.9 National and Local Use

All fields with tags containing a 9, i.e. 9--, -9-, --9, are reserved for national and local use; their definitions and indicator and subfield values remain undefined by the Permanent UNIMARC Committee. This is also true of indicator value 9 and subfield $9.


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