I wouldn’t recommend changing this longstanding practice at this late date for heading strings though I agree the music example in the authorities format for the X00 $n is horrendous and should be removed. It is from an old NAR that was part of a recon project in the 1980s. This accounts for the strange 400s for non-distinctive titles. Why it was chosen is beyond me.

The instruction referring to music in the authorities format for the X00 $n needs to be edited as well. The correct instruction, which is found in the authorities format for the X30 $n and in the bibliographic format for the X00 and X30 $n states:

“In music uniform titles, the serial, opus, or thematic index number, or a date used to distinguish one work from another, is contained in subfield $n.”

Valerie Weinberg
Senior Music Specialist
Music Division
Library of Congress

From: Program for Cooperative Cataloging [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Kathy Glennan
Sent: Tuesday, April 04, 2017 1:46 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [PCCLIST] Subfields in music titles

This is a long standing problem.

In my email archive, I found a copy of a detailed report from Richard Hunter (a music cataloger at LC, now retired) dated April 1999 "about the discrepancies in the instructions for subfield $n in the eight places in the two MARC formats in which they occur." I have not compared his analysis and recommendations with the current documentation.

I would be happy to share this analysis with anyone who would like to work on clearing up the usage of $n.


Kathy Glennan
Head, Original & Special Collections Cataloging
University of Maryland Libraries
[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

On Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 4:21 PM, John Hostage <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
There are 3 versions of Beethoven’s Fidelio in the authority file: 1805, 1806, and 1814.
They have authorized access points in the form:
Beethoven, Ludwig van, ǂd 1770-1827. ǂt Fidelio ǂn (1805)

Subfield $n is defined as “number of part/section of a work.”  (
The MARC authority format includes the example

1#$wnnaa$aHindemith, Paul,$d1895-1963.$tSonata,$mpiano, 4 hands$n(1938)
[Parenthetical date in music titles is a part/section of a work.]


1#$aHindemith, Paul,$d1895-1963.$tVierhaendige Sonata fuer zwei Klaviere, 1938
[Date is not a part/section number.]

It only serves to muddy the water since it uses a pre-AACR2 heading and the bracketed notes say that the same date is a part/section of the work in one case and not a part/section in the other case.  The AAP for the work includes no date.

The MARC bibliographic format ( includes “or a date used to distinguish one work from another” in the definition of $n.  What is the justification for this treatment?  It includes very different types of data in the same subfield, and it treats the same type of data (date of a work) differently depending on the genre of the title.  “Date added parenthetically to a title to distinguish between identical titles entered under the same name is not separately subfield coded” is noted in the authority format under subfield $f (Date of a work), which seems more like a date of manifestation.  The dates for Fidelio seem to be dates of expressions (RDA 6.10), which the RDA to MARC Authority Mapping maps to subfield $f, but subfield $s (Version) seems like a better match.

Considering everything else that has been turned on its head, why is this still being done?

John Hostage
Senior Continuing Resources Cataloger
Harvard Library--Information and Technical Services
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Harvard Law School Library
Cambridge, MA 02138
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