Dear colleagues,

on behalf of the Committee on Data Formats ("Fachgruppe Datenformate") for libraries in German speaking countries, here are our comments on the papers which are on the agenda of the MARC Advisory Committee meetings next week.


Proposal No. 2022-07: Modernization of Field 856 Second Indicator and Subfield $3 in the MARC 21 Formats 

In general, we continue to support the approach taken here. In German speaking countries, we have a clear focus on catalog enrichment, i.e. tables of contents as pdf files, but also many other types of information provided by publishers and third parties. As in January, some concerns were raised regarding actual benefits of the new distinctions, compared to the costs of possible future implementation, and the handling of undifferentiated legacy data. 

Proposal No. 2022-08: Recording Persistent Identifiers and File Formats in Field 856 of the MARC 21 Formats 
There is some support from our side, as well as some skeptical voices. Subfield "$g" has potential in the distinction of information otherwise provided in fields 024 and/or 856 $u (although here the problem of legacy data seems to be significant). Moving non-functioning URIs from $u to "$h" may prove to be an ambitious task, especially at large scale (e.g. in the German National Library) and on a regular base. The extended scope of subfield $q would cause the need for significant adaptations of workflows, especially when it comes to _versions_ of electronic format types, and their sometimes imperfect automatic determination. Further concerns were caused by the extended repeatability of subfield $u.

Discussion Papers:

Discussion Paper No. 2022-DP06: Defining a New Field to Record Electronic Archive Location and Access in the MARC 21 Formats 

Some of the concerns which we raised in January do still apply. Field "857" looks like a shadow field to field 856 if many of the subfields defined in field 856 will be systematically defined in field "857", too. Much of the technical information should possibly not be contained in bibliographic records, but may better be maintained and kept externally, in the background.

Discussion Paper No. 2022-DP07: Adding Subfield $3 to Field 041 in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format 

We support this paper.

Discussion Paper No. 2022-DP08: Adding Subfields $0 and $1 to Fields 720 and 653 in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format 

In general, we support the approach taken by this discussion paper. Field 720 seems to provide a clearer picture when it comes to adding $0 and $1, while field 653 probably will have to be discussed more in detail: To what extent is the content of field 653 still "uncontrolled" if it has a link to an external source? We welcome the section on differences to the recently defined field 688. We do appreciate the paragraph on field 758 as another option, and agree that field 758 is different in scope. As a friendly amendment, the addition of subfield $2 "Source" may be taken into account in both fields.

Discussion Paper No. 2022-DP09: Defining a Field for Standardized Provenance Information in the MARC 21 Bibliographic, Holdings, and Authority Formats 

This is our own discussion paper. We have recognized the helpful comments so far, and look forward to further comments and fruitful discussions.

Discussion Paper No. 2022-DP10: Defining a New Subfield in Field 264 to Record an Unparsed Statement in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format 

We have mostly skeptical voices here. Providing a _lower_ level of granularity is fairly unusual in the development of the MARC format (with the recent exception of the RDA manifestation statements, covering different use cases, and mentioned in the paper). The new subfield "$s" is to be structured by ISBD punctuation, so it seems to be fully redundant to information already contained in subfields $a, $b and $c. Importing routines would become more complex, as they would have to cover both the subfielded and the general structure.  

Discussion Paper No. 2022-DP11: Defining a New Subfield in Field 490 to Record an Unparsed Statement in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format 

Most of the skeptical comments mentioned above do apply here, too. We don't see real benefits here, either.

Best regards,



Reinhold Heuvelmann
German National Library
Information Infrastructure
Office for Data Formats
Adickesallee 1
60322 Frankfurt am Main
Telephone: +49 69 1525-1709
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