ISO does give terms as well as codes. English language agencies (040 $b eng) using ISO would presumably use the English terms found in the standard.       

Maybe we need a MARC proposal to add a subfield $b for a coded value for gender?

Adam L. Schiff
Principal Cataloger
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA 98195-2900

On Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 2:55 PM -0800, "Matthew C. Haugen" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:


Adding $2 iso5218 to the existing RDA gender terms doesn't seem appropriate for two reasons:

1. ISO-5218 specifies codes in the form of language-independent numerical values (1, 2, 0, or 9), not English language terms, as the current DCM-Z1 text also indicates (though I know Dave Reser said it's going to be revised): “Prefer use of RDA gender terms over the ISO 5218 codes."  

2. ISO-5218 specifies human sexes, not genders:

And, while it sounds like DCM-Z1 is going to be updated to "prefer a controlled vocabulary," consitent with other 3xx fields, uncontrolled terms are not forbidden. So catalogers could continue to use the RDA forms (which the OCLC macro supplies for you), without controlling them. So long as "male," "female" and "not known" was a controlled list within RDA, RDA also allowed for another appropriate term or phrase to be recorded. For example, Kate Bornstein's NAR includes the term "transgender" in 375, which is compatible with RDA as currently written and is not controlled. So I hope there is no plan to strip those from records just because there isn't a $2.


On Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 5:06 PM, Adam L. Schiff <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Gender Code and Term Source Codes at currently only defines three sources:
LC Demographic Group Terms (Washington, DC: Library of Congress)
Library of Congress subject headings (Washington, DC: LC, Cataloging Distribution Service)
            Codes for the Representation of Human Sexes (ISO/IEC 5218:2004) (Geneva: International Organization for Standardization)
The ISO terms are identical to what is being removed from RDA.  You can obtain the ISO standard free at [ ] [ [ ] ]   (or, go to and find ISO/IEC 5218:2004 in the list).
So catalogers have the immediate option of continuing to use “male”, “female”, and “not known”, but now if they do they should add $2 iso5218 to the field.   Otherwise, the only other currently approved sources with assigned codes are LCDGT and LCSH, both of which use plural forms, e.g.
375   Males $2 lcdgt
Unless PCC/NACO is planning to strip all existing 375s that don’t include a subfield $2 in them, it might be useful as a retrospective project if $2 iso5218 could be added to all of the fields that use one of the ISO terms that were in RDA.
Adam L. Schiff
Principal Cataloger
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA 98195-2900

Matthew C. Haugen
Rare Book Cataloger
102 Butler Library
Columbia University Libraries
E-mail: [log in to unmask]
Phone: 212-851-2451