What does MARC mean?

Table of Contents:

What is a MARC record?

A MARC record is a Machine-Readable Cataloging record.

What is machine-readable?

“Machine-readable” means that one particular type of machine, a computer, can read and interpret the data in the cataloging record.

What is a cataloging record?

'Cataloging record' means a bibliographic record, or the information traditionally shown on a catalog card. The record includes (not necessarily in this order): 1) a description of the item, 2) main entry and added entries, 3) subject headings, and 4) the classification or call number. (MARC records often contain much additional information)

What is a description of an item?

Librarians follow the rules in Anglo-American Cataloging Rules, 2nd ed., 1998 revision (popularly known as AACR2R) to compose the bibliographic description of a library item. This 'description' is shown in the paragraph sections of a card. It includes the title, statement of responsibility, edition, material specific details, publication information, physical description, series, notes, and standard numbers.

What are main entry and added entries?

AACR2R also contains rules for determing 'access points' to the record (usually referred to as the 'main entry' and 'other added entries'), and the form these access points should take. Access points are the retrieval points in the library catalog where patrons should be able to look up the item.

In other words, the rules in AACR2R are used to answer questions such as: For this book, should there be entries in the catalog for more than one author or more than one title? Should the title of the series be noted? How should the author's name be written? Is this a 'title main entry' item (no author)?

What is a subject heading?

The librarian uses the Sears List of Subject Headings (Sears), the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), or some other list of standard subject headings to select the subjects under which the item will be listed. Use of an approved list is important for consistency, to ensure that all items on a particular subject are found under the same heading and therefore in the same place in the catalog.

For instance, the subject headings list indicates that all books about cats should be assigned the subject CATS. Using this authorized heading eliminates the possibility of listing some books under CATS and others under FELINES. Even if a book is called ALL About Felines, the subject headings will be listed in one place in the catalog for the patron to find. The patron does not have to imagine all the possible synonyms for the word he is looking for.

What is a call number?

The librarian uses the Sears List of Subject Headings (Sears), the Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH), or some other list of standard subject headings to select the subjects under which the item will be listed. Use of an approved list is important for consistency, to ensure that all items on a particular subject are found under the same heading and therefore in the same place in the catalog.

For instance, the subject headings list indicates that all books about cats should be assigned the subject CATS. Using this authorized heading eliminates the possibility of listing some books under CATS and others under FELINES. Even if a book is called ALL About Felines, the subject headings will be listed in one place in the catalog for the patron to find. The patron does not have to imagine all the possible synonyms for the word he is looking for.

Test your knowledge: Quiz 1
Bib Services AcquisitionsCatalogingAuthority Control Serials