Rules and Structures

Table of Contents:

Tags Divided by Hundreds

There are some general rules that help define what all the numbers used as field tags mean. The basic divisions of the MARC 21 bibliographic record are:
0XX Control information, numbers, codes
1XX Main entry
2XX Titles, edition, imprint
3XX Physical description, etc.
4XX Series statements (as shown in the book)
5XX Notes
6XX Subject added entries
7XX Added entries other than subject or series
8XX Series added entries (other authoritative forms)

The 9XXs are left for locally-defined uses, such as local barcode numbers, locations, and other types of local information.

The notation XX is used to refer to a group of related tags. For example, 1XX refers to all the tags in the 100s: 100, 110, 130, and so on.


100 Main entry -- personal name
110 Main entry -- corporate name
111 Main entry -- meeting name
130 Main entry -- uniform title

2XX refers to all the tags in the 200s. This group of tags contains the title of the item described in the bibliographic record and all of the variant titles that also apply to the item.

210 Abbreviated title
222 Key title
240 Uniform title
242 Translation of title by cataloging agency
243 Collective uniform title
245 Title statement
246 Varying form of title
247 Former title or title variations

Access Points

Access points (a main entry, subject added entries, and other added entries) are an important part of the bibliographic record to retrieve an item. In the traditional card catalog, separate cards were created for the headings, known as access points, which a patron or librarian today would choose to search in an on-line catalog.

Most of the access points are in:

 1XX   fields (main entries)
 4XX   fields (series statements)
 6XX   fields (subject headings)
 7XX   fields (added entries other than subject or series)
 8XX   fields (series added entries)

These are the fields that are under authority control. Authority control means following a standard or established form. To learn more about authority control, see Understanding MARC Bibliographic: Machine-Readable Cataloging

Parallel Content

The fields requiring authority control are also the fields that use parallel tag construction. In 1XX, 4XX, 6XX, 7XX and 8XX fields, the last two digits of the tag are 00 for a personal name heading. Therefore, for a main entry (1XX) that is a personal name (X00), the correct tag is 100. For a subject heading (6XX) that is a personal name, the tag is 600. An added entry (7XX) for a joint author, which is also a personal name, the tag is 700.

This parallel content can be summarized as follows:

  X00      Personal names
  X10      Corporate names
  X11      Meeting names
  X30      Uniform titles
  X40      Bibliographic titles
  X50      Topical terms
  X51      Geographic names

By combining the charts, it becomes evident that if, for example, the subject of a book (6XX) is a personal name, the tag will be 600; if the subject of the book is a corporate name, the tag will be 610; if the subject of the book is a topical term, the tag will be 650; if the subject of a book is a geographic name, the tag will be 651.

 1XX   fields (main entries)
 4XX   fields (series statements)
 6XX   fields (subject headings)
 7XX   fields (added entries)
 8XX   fields (series added entries)

 X00      Personal names
 X10      Corporate names
 X11      Meeting names
 X30      Uniform titles
 X40      Bibliographic titles
 X50      Topical terms
 X51      Geographic names


Test your knowledge: Quiz4

The Fixed Field 008

Now, we come to the last topic of our Tutorial : The 008 field. It is also referred to as Fixed-Length Data Elements, or Fixed Field. This field contains 40 character positions that provide coded bibliographic information, and precedes the main bibliographic part of a MARC record (the variable fields). The display of fixed field might differ from system to system. Below is an example of fixed field for book format from an OCLC MARC record:
Type: a ELvl: 1 Srce: Audn: Ctrl: Lang: eng
BLvl: m Form: Conf: 0 Biog: MRec:

Ctry: ohu
Cont: GPub: Fict: 0 Indx: 0

Desc: Ills: a Fest: 0 DtSt: s Dates: 1956,

. . ... ... ... ...
4 100 1 Chute, Marchette Gaylord, ‡d 1909-
5 245 10 Stories from Shakespeare.
. ... ... ... ...

In the fixed field above, there is a code to indicate the country of publication -- Ctry: ohu means the item was published in Ohio, United States. There is also a code for the date of the publication -- Dates: 1956, a code for the language of the text -- Lang: eng, and so on. The fixed field can be useful for retrieving records matching specific criteria. Special bibliographic aspects of an item is coded in an abbreviated form. To learn more about fixed field, please go to Understanding MARC, Part IX and Part X.

Test your knowledge: Final Quiz

Bib Services AcquisitionsCatalogingAuthority Control Serials