The need to be able to use ISO 639-1 and 639-3 language codes was recognized by the MARC community some time ago (actually in 2001), and there is a mechanism to record them in field 041, e.g.

041 07 $a en $a fr $2 iso639-1

I’m not sure how widely implemented it is. Subfield $2 contains the source of the code and the sources are in the list at At the time, the RFCs were being used (and as you can see from the list of source codes, they were revised a lot). BCP 47 could be added to the source code list so that it could be used in MARC records for now.


Rebecca Squire Guenther
215 W. 75th St. Apt. 16H
New York, NY 10023
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On Dec 14, 2017, at 2:48 AM, Osma Suominen <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Most existing MARC data incorporates use of the language codes found in ISO 693-2/B. While the codes in this standard are useful, it may be necessary in implementation to accommodate the codes from ISO 639-1 (2-letter codes) and ISO 639-3 as well.

Adhering to BCP 47 would already provide a mechanism for expressing ISO 639-1 and 639-3 language codes, so I don't see why the implementation-level consideration is not simply to use BCP 47 as was already stated under General considerations.


Robert J. Rendall kirjoitti 13.12.2017 klo 22:30:
Colleagues -
The ALA/ALCTS Committee on Cataloging: Asian and African Materials (CC:AAM) has voted to approve a Statement in Support of the Internationalization of BIBFRAME, containing recommendations on character encoding, the representation of original script and romanization, normalization, and language tags:
Robert Rendall
Chair, CC:AAM 2017-2018
Robert Rendall
Principal Serials Cataloger
Original and Special Materials Cataloging, Columbia University Libraries
102 Butler Library, 535 West 114th Street, New York, NY 10027
tel.: 212 851 2449  fax: 212 854 5167

Osma Suominen
D.Sc. (Tech), Information Systems Specialist
National Library of Finland
P.O. Box 26 (Kaikukatu 4)
Tel. +358 50 3199529
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