The hunger games. Mockingjay / Lionsgate presents ; a Color Force/Lionsgate production ; produced by Nina Jacobson, Jon Kilik ; screenplay by Peter Craig and Danny Strong ; adaptation by Suzanne Collins ; directed by Francis Lawrence. (OCLC #961480896)

OLAC’s Best Practices for Cataloging DVD-Video and Blu-ray Discs Using RDA and MARC21 indicate that widescreen presentation of a DVD may be recorded as an edition statement when it is presented as such:

    250 __ $a Widescreen edition.

Regardless of whether it appears as an edition statement, it should also be recorded in a 500 note:

    500 __ $a Wide screen (2.4:1).

As many fields that we used to record as free-text in a 538 note now are recorded in specific fields (like 344 for sound characteristics, 346 for video characteristics), it is tempting to put this information into 345 (Projection Characteristics of Moving Image) which has a subfield for presentation format, but this should not be done. This field is only for use with actual motion picture film, and should not be used for DVDs.


La “Collation Sechehaye” du Cours de Linguistique Générale de Ferdinand de Saussure / édition, introduction et notes par Estanislao Sofia. (OCLC #954052946)

This title appears to be criticism/interpretation of a famous work, Course in General Linguistics by Ferdinand de Saussure. The copy we found for the book in hand had this LC call number assigned:

    P121.S369 S64 2015

It seemed odd that it had two cutters (one for Saussure, another for the editor?) so I checked the LC schedule. P121 is “Philology. Linguistics—Language. Linguistic theory. Comparative grammar—Science of language (Linguistics)—General works”, so it makes sense that our copies of Saussure’s work itself have call numbers like:


But what about that second cutter? Is there a rule somewhere in the Shelflisting manual about adding 9 and then a second cutter for the editor? I checked our catalog, and found two other titles around P121.S36 in our catalog with that same construction, but don’t know where it comes from.

G340 in the shelflisting manual says that for criticism/commentary of a work classified with one cutter, you should start with the call number of the main work, add the digit “3” and then a second cutter based on the main entry of the criticism/commentary work.

So is this a typo? (Repeated by several catalogers for commentaries of the same work?) Or is there a rule I haven’t yet found?


That mailbox full of stuff? It’s an artist’s book, and I’m cataloging it soon.


While cleaning up some records today, I noticed a few videos whose titles appeared in the catalog as:


I wondered if this was some sort of intense art film with no title, or if someone was intentionally or unintentionally messing with catalogers by giving their film a title more often seen as a GMD. (Was this a film about the history of the GMD??)

I clicked through and found that it was a perfectly normal film, with the title:

  $100 a day : justice and reparation in California's
    legal system

And this had somehow ended up in the MARC record as:

  245 00 ǂ1 00 a day : justice and reparation in California's
    legal system

The dollar sign is a particularly dangerous one to have in your data if you’re not careful with your processing. In many languages it signals the beginning of a variable, so “$100” may have unpredictable (or erroneous) behavior. It’s also a common convention for representing the subfield delimiter in a MARC record, so:

  245 00 $a $100 a day

might have looked like it contained an empty subfield $a and been cleaned up in text to form:

  245 00 $100 a day

and then reinterpreted as:

  245 00 ǂ1 00 a day

It’s important to sanitize your input!


The October 18, 2016 release of RDA Toolkit includes (among others) the following change to RDA (scope of Illustrative content):

Tables containing only words and/or numerical data are excluded, not considered as
illustrative content. Disregard illustrated title pages, etc., and minor illustrations. 

On the RDA-L listserv, reactions to this change seem mixed. Some appreciate RDA not overstepping (a library might consider a book illustrated when it has an illustrated title page) and others appreciate the guidance this rule has given in the past, anticipating questions about such illustrations from new catalogers.

Illustrative Matter is not a core element in RDA. Even LC PCC-PS only considers it a core element for resources intended for children. So we might consider why we record this element. If someone is looking for a book about musicians, and only wants an illustrated book, is it helpful to include among those results a book that has no illustrations except for a Pelican logo? Or should we only include books with illustrations that supplement the pages’ informative content, or guide the story?


Standards: ISO 2709

Did you know that ISO 2709 (the standard of which MARC21 is an instance) is fairly general? It allows for:

  • tags which include letters and numbers (though they must still be of length three, like MARC21′s numeric tags)
  • up to nine indicators (MARC21 always has two)
  • subfield codes of length up to nine (MARC21 always has this length as two, as subfield codes like “ǂb” are two characters long)

The indicator count and subfield code length are encoded in every MARC record’s leader in positions 10 and 11; note that the spec says these should always be “2″ and “2″.

I revisited this standard again recently to determine why some vendor records were causing trouble; their leaders had position 11 set to “0″, indicating that the subfield code length was zero:

    01710nam a2000385 a 4500

though the record was full of subfield codes of length 2 (like ǂa).

This was easy enough to fix in batch (that leader position should always be “2″, so I just overwrote what was there) and I’ve contacted the vendor to let them know about the strangeness in their records. Hopefully they’ll be fixed on the vendor’s site before they cause any more trouble!


Золотая книга сказок / Божена Немцова ; перевод с чешского А. Серобабина. (OCLC #959887720)

Whenever I create records in OCLC with non-Roman characters, I notice that it helpfully adds an 066 field to my record, like:

    066 __ǂc (N

In this case, the code “(N” indicates the presence of Basic Cyrillic script in the record, mostly as a signal to the user that extra processing may be required.

So why the weird code? I’d wondered this for a while, and finally looked it up. Longer blog post coming soon.


Nachalo ochenʹ khoroshego letnego dni︠a︡ : (simfonii︠a︡) ; Otet︠s︡ i dochʹ ; Svi︠a︡zʹ ; U Kolkova zabolela ruka / Daniil Kharms ; risoval Stansilav Zhit︠s︡kiĭ. (OCLC #38698598)

This set of books is published in a case together; though it has no collective title for the set, we can still catalog the books together on one record. All titles are included in the title field, separated by semicolons (ISBD

    245 10 ǂa Nachalo ochenʹ khoroshego letnego dni︠a︡:
        ǂb (simfonii︠a︡) ; Otet︠s︡ i dochʹ ; Svi︠a︡zʹ ; U Kolkova
        zabolela ruka / ǂc Daniil Kharms ; risoval Stansilav 

which may only provide title access to the first title in the list. OCLC’s Bib Formats documentation for 246 clarifies that “for items including several works but lacking a collective title, field 246 is used only for titles related to the title selected as the title proper, usually the first work named in the chief source of information. Titles related to other works are recorded in field 740”:

    740 02 ǂa Otet︠s︡ i dochʹ.
    740 02 ǂa U Kolkova zabolela ruka.
    740 02 ǂa Svi︠a︡zʹ.

Hebrew gifts are coming! Sing-a-long staff meeting?

(I kid, I kid)

We are going to all have to learn the alphabet again, though.