Marc 21 Tutorial
Table of Contents: Introduction Let's Get Started! What does MARC mean? MARC21 Terms Rules and Structures Glossary
The Importance of MARC 21

Standardized bibliographic data input, utilizing MARC formats, insures the integrity of the online public catalog in storage and retrieval of information. When we talk about MARC, we hope to convey its importance to those who create and maintain MARC data in the online public catalog. Without good, accurate MARC records, patrons cannot find the great resources in the library. An OPAC, to some extent, hides the intricacies of MARC from the patron, but without MARC, the patron would not find the resources. MARC format cataloging has proven, for over thirty years, to be the most reliable foundation in building databases for the OPAC. This tutorial is a first step toward training library personnel in the particulars of MARC tags, indicators, fields, and subfields, and why each part is significant in the creation of the bibliographic record.

The MARC 21 training tutorial provides a means to study and practice bibliographic standards in descriptive and subject cataloging for machine-readable formats incorporating MARC 21 coding. These standards are utilized by all libraries, academic, public and school, and the automated library systems that support online catalogs.

This tutorial is made possible with permission from the Library of Congress, and Follett Software Company who developed Understanding MARC Bibliographic: Machine-Readable Cataloging.

The intended audience is library science students, as well as library cataloging personnel. The tutorial provides support for cataloging courses, taught either through distance learning opportunities or via the Internet. In addition, the tutorial is suitable for practicing librarians, who wish to update their knowledge of cataloging in the electronic environment, or to use as a tool for training personnel.

This interactive, self-directed, hands-on skills exercises and training will:

  1. supplement classroom and textbook presentation of MARC 21 bibliographic cataloging concepts.

  2. assist in training in a student practicum in technical services area of librarianship to perform basic MARC cataloging, and to utilize and repair bibliographic data in national and local online catalogs.

  3. support librarians and library staff in learning MARC 21 concepts, in conjunction with Understanding MARC Bibliographic: Machine-Readable Cataloging.

Ann Branton
Head of Cataloging      
University of Southern Mississippi
Aiping Chen-Gaffey
Database Management Librarian
Slippery Rock University
1(724) 738-2660
University of Southern Mississippi, Box 5053, Hattiesburg, MS 39406