One clarification about MARC 21 coding practice for silent films:  if there is dialogue presented as "titles" inserted into the film, one would code 008/35-37 for that language even though the audio track of the film contains no linguistic content.


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From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Anila Angjeli
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2005 6:51 AM
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Subject: [ISOJAC] Réf. : Re: code for "non-linguistic content"

This is an issue we deal with in the libraries as well, since we catalog audiovisual materials : sound recordings without language, silent motion pictures, still images and so on.
- 101 Unimarc field is declared "Mandatory if document has language".
Consequently if the document is considered as not having language the field should be empty.
- Marc21 states : **Three fill characters (|||) may also be used if no attempt is made to code 008/35-37** (which is the space for language code in this format).
- Intermarc (the format used by the Bibliothèque nationale de France) declares Mandatory the filling of the 008/31-33 (space for language code).
It provides a ### (blankblankblank) value for documents without language.

Then each library establishes specific instructions for filling these fields.
In practice one may find not always the same code used to represent the same (or nearly the same) thing, as is the case of the language coding of "non linguistic materials". Somme would use "und", somme would use fill characters, some leave blank, some create "local" specific codes like "zzz"
to indicate a specific kind of "non linguistic material" such as silent movies (to distinguish them as a category which potentially should have had a language but actually does not have one, due to historical evolution of technologies, or maybe by a simple choice of the film-maker), etc. I'm aware that in this last example people mingle up two different kinds of categories : the one being the presence or lack of a  language that may be percieved by the human senses, the other being the justification of the lack of this language - both given by the same identifier.
Keep in mind that what you call "non linguistic materials" are of different kinds. As I mentioned hereabove there are sound recordings (music, or sounds of the nature, etc.), silent films, grafic materials and images, objects (in a broad sense of the word), and so on.
Should a "zzz" or "xzz" code solve the problem ?
I wonder if it is the role of a standard that codes linguistic unities, to takle with the problem of presence or absence of the linguisitc unity ?

Anila Angjeli

Peter Constable <[log in to unmask]>> le 08/06/2005 00:38:02

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Objet :     Re: code for "non-linguistic content"

> From: ISO 639 Joint Advisory Committee [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On
Behalf Of
> Michael Everson

> >Perhaps "zzz" for this special-purpose code?
> Well, in ISO 15924 Zzzz is "Code for uncoded script" which still 
> implies "script"

If 15924 is used as an example, then perhaps "zxx" for non-linguistic content (analogous to "zxxx" for unwritten languages).

Peter Constable