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I have recently encountered a USMARC record in which the directory entry
for a field specified a length of 20 characters.  But the field, in
addition to the field terminator in the 20th position, also had a
spurious(?) field terminator within the first 19 characters.  (It is clear
from a human interpretation of the data that, in this case, the field
length was correct and the intervening field terminator erroneous.)

My questions:
        1. Is there a rule or best practice tenet that declares which of the field
length or field terminator takes precedence in interpreting a USMARC record?
        2. Shouldn't a processing program look at both field definition indicators
and report a discrepancy?
        3. What was the original intent in allowing two - potentially conflicting
- ways to define the length of a field?

TIA for your help.
Ginny
Virginia M. Iandiorio
Inforonics, Inc.
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(978)698-7378
http://www.inforonics.com