OLAC Cataloger’s Judgment: Questions and Answers

Newsletter Issue: 
Volume 37 no.2 June 2017

OLAC Cataloger’s Judgment:
Questions and Answers

Jay Weitz

Running Out of Time


When cataloging videodiscs containing two or more films, should the running time(s) be rendered as:

300 $a 1 videodisc (90, 98 min.)
300 $a 1 videodisc (188 min.)

with the individual films' running times specified in the 505 subfield $g?

I've seen it done both ways (though the latter method is by far the more common). Is it up to individual judgment, or is one method preferred/mandated over another? Most of the examples I've worked on have been single-sided discs containing two films plus special features. But what if there are two films on the disc, one on each side, so that each is the “primary content?” Should these durations then be added together? I always thought this was misleading. Is it really wrong to enter both running times in the 300 field but have the total time in the fixed field?


The OLAC Best Practices for Cataloging DVD-Video and Blu-ray Discs Using RDA and MARC21 says the following regarding RDA 7.22 for Duration: “Total duration of the primary content of a resource (e.g., the duration of the feature film, excluding any ‘bonus’ features) is recorded in MARC 300 subfield a following the extent.” The “primary content” most often corresponds to the moving image resource represented by the title proper in field 245. The durations of any bonus materials that accompany the primary content could be included as part of a note, such as a 505 contents note, where the bonus materials are enumerated. As far as I can recall going back through AACR1, AACR2, and RDA, there has never been provision for recording multiple durations in the Physical Description Area. The exception is, as stated in AACR2 1.5B4c, “if the parts of a multipart item have a stated uniform playing time or an approximate uniform playing time, give the playing time of each part followed by each. Otherwise, give the total duration.” RDA is much less explicit than that, but I take RDA literally when it says “Record a duration …” rather than allowing for durations in the plural. Similarly, I read RDA on “Duration of Component Parts” as both the OLAC (”Duration of individual parts may be recorded in the contents note (MARC 505))” and the Music Library Association’s respective best practices documents seem to do, accounting for the durations of component parts in contents or other notes and/or in MARC 306 (see the MLA BP If a single disc contains more than one film such that a “primary content” cannot be chosen (where, for one example, there is no collective title in field 245), if a duration is to be recorded in MARC 300, I’d say the total duration added together would be the proper treatment. LC-PCC PS 7.22 does state in part that “Duration is a core element for PCC for audio recordings and moving images when readily available,” but I don’t believe that means a duration of any sort must be recorded in the physical description in field 300. If you consider a total duration in field 300 to be misleading, by all means specify the individual durations as part of a contents note or other appropriate enumeration of the various parts; that would satisfy the “core-ness” of duration for moving images. The MARC 21 fixed field “Running Time for Motion Pictures and Videorecordings,” Visual Materials 008/18-20 (006/01-03) (“Time” in WorldCat), has the refreshingly clear statement: “Three-digit number that indicates the total running time of the motion picture or videorecording.” Kathy Glennan (University of Maryland), the ALA Representative to the RDA Steering Committee, adds this observation:

Recently RDA intentionally changed from using the definite article to the indefinite article, pretty much throughout the instructions.
Compare, from April 2016:

Record the duration ...

To February 2017:

Record a duration ...

My understanding of this change is to promote more flexibility in recording information, and a recognition that at least with certain elements, there will not be agreement among agencies, especially internationally, in identifying the value for that element. Now, how all this plays out in MARC is truly a different question.

Running Out of Time, Again


Recently there was a question about how to record running time when the disc has two features. What if the disc has two versions of the same feature? My item has on the container "theatrical and extended versions" and "Special Features: includes both theatrical and extended versions of the film," and gives the running times of each version. In the menu, you select "play movie" then select which version. What should I use in 300 and 008? Pick one, or combine both times, or something else?


With the previous question and answer in mind, my suggestion would be to try to determine which version of the film is intended to be emphasized in the resource at hand. If it presents itself, through design, layout, and/or typography as featuring the extended version, consider that the primary content, and use that duration in the 300 and the Visual Materials 008/18-20 (006/01-03). If an extended version is merely incidental and not particularly stressed, consider the standard version to be primary. If the featured version isn’t fairly obvious, go with the theatrical version (or toss a coin). In any case, you’ll want to record both durations (and any others that may be appropriate) in a 505, 520, or other note.

Persistence of Bibliographic Memory


Did the definition of code “c” (catalogs) in BKS 008/24-27 (Cont) in the input standards once say that exhibition catalogs are included? I could swear it did. Or was that just my imagination?


In 1987, the MARC 21 definition of Books 008/24-27 (Nature of Contents; OCLC Fixed Field “Cont”) code “c” for “catalogs” grew in length, reading:

This code is used when the work is or contains a list of items in a collection, such as a collection of books, a collection of art objects, etc. It also includes lists of collectable objects, such as stamp catalogs, coin catalogs, trade catalogs, etc. Code c is used whenever the subdivision “Catalogs” or “Catalogs and collections” is used as a form subdivision under a subject heading. It is also used for catalogs of exhibitions for which the subdivision “Exhibitions” alone is used. For catalogs of books, sound recordings, or films, code for both Catalogs (code c) and Bibliographies (code b), Discographies (or other bibliographies or recorded sound) (code k), or Filmographies (code q), as appropriate.

The next year, though the definition shrunk, and would subsequently simplify further until it currently reads in its entirety: “Also includes lists of collectible objects, such as stamps and coins, or trade catalogs, etc. For catalogs of books, sound recordings, or motion pictures, code b (Bibliographies), code k (Discographies), or code q (Filmographies), are given with code c.” The definition in Bibliographic Formats and Standards and its predecessor documents grew and shrunk similarly over the years. Through at least the early 1980s, the old Books Format document, at least, contained a definition similar to the expanded 1987 version above. Since then, it has also grown shorter and simpler. It was not your imagination, just the persistence of memory. As far as I can tell, the intention of actual practice never changed, just that the definition fluctuated in detail and redundancy. You’re safe to consider an exhibition catalog as a code “c”.

Not a Half-Baked Idea


We are starting a small cake pan collection at the library, and I am not finding any MARC records to associate with the items. I was wondering if I was not searching correctly. Is there a way to create a blanket record to include all cake pans that would allow individual libraries to add unique cake pans to their collection without needing to send each one out?


My colleague Linda Gabel responds: “There are lots of records for cake pans in WorldCat. I just tried the search ‘kw:cake pan and mt:rbj’ and got almost 700 records. The ‘mt:rbj’ stands for the material type ‘real object.’ Look also for the makers of your pans as if they were the publisher, like ‘pb:wilton’. You have two options:

  • Create a single record for your collection, and then just create item records for the individual pans.
  • Create (or find) records for each individual pan.

I think doing the individual records will give your patrons a bit more flexibility in searching, so they could specifically look for Dora the Explorer (see #935887942), or a skeleton pan (#919549821).”

Consider the Implications


I just ran across something in the OLAC Best Practices for Cataloging DVD-Video and Blu-ray Discs Using RDA and MARC21 that requires further clarification. There are many examples of English language videos (please see the example for 1001 Classic Commercials on page 207) for English language titles that have the following field:

041 01 $a eng $h eng

Is it necessary to add field 041 to records lacking subtitles/captions that are solely in English? I don’t know why I did not notice this scenario in the past and I want to make sure we are using this field correctly. We have been omitting the 041 unless there are other languages and/or subtitles present. Should we be using field 041 more often and across formats?


Longstanding practice has been to omit field 041 when a single Language Code (in the Language fixed field, 008/35-37) covers all the language aspects of a resource. As we have moved toward a Linked Data future, however, we have increasingly recognized that some elements that have been omitted because they are implied by other data result in a loss of information. The trend has been moving toward explicitly coding elements that had previously been merely implied. This is at least part of the idea behind the OLAC Best Practice recommendation (page 49): “Always include the original language in MARC 041 subfield h when that information is present.” Aside from the obvious insistence on the consistent use of subfield $a, the document also suggests the routine use of field 041 subfield $j when it applies. The notion of spelling out what had been previously omitted or relegated to only coded form (most often in fields 007) is also behind some of the elements in 34X fields. This applies especially to elements that had historically been left out of bibliographic records because they were considered the standard for a particular kind of resource. Think of the several AACR2 instructions in 6.5 that included such text as “Do not give the playing speed if it is standard for the type of item (e.g., 1⅞ inches per second for an analog tape cassette; 1.4 metres per second for a digital disc)” (AACR2 6.5C3) or “Do not give the projection speed if it is standard for the item (24 fps for a sound film; 16 fps for a silent film)” (AACR2 7.5C5). The official positions of the OLAC and MLA best practices documents generally continue to consider many of these elements to be optional, but they may be explicitly expressed in field 344 subfield $c (Playing Speed) and in field 345 subfield $b, respectively. In theory, each element has its own potential value in a Linked Data world, where explicit presence is much more useful than simply implied presence. How broadly to use field 041 beyond videos and audio recordings under appropriate circumstances is a question I’ll have to leave up to your judgment. LC-PCC PS says: “In addition to recording the language of the primary content, also supply the languages of other content (summaries, tables of contents, etc.) if it will assist identification and selection.” That translates to 041 subfields $a, $b, and $f, at least. MLA BP 7.12 boils down to suggesting routine use of field 041 subfields $a, $d, $e, $g, $h, $j, and $m, when appropriate and ascertainable; and MLA BP says to follow the PS. Coding all of the applicable subfields with the same Language Code for everything begins to look a bit obsessive. In some instances, it may be useful and in others, less so, so I’d opt for using judgment.

More Evidence That Size Doesn’t Matter


In Connexion, will a 10-inch 33 1/3 rpm recording be picked up in a search limited by mt:lps? The underlying question is whether LPs are considered just by the speed or also by diameter. I can't find in the documentation online any explanation that would clarify this.


The criteria for each Material Type are spelled out in Searching WorldCat Indexes under "Material Type Names and Codes." The "lps" Material Type, which is on the "Sound Recordings" page, takes into consideration the speed of the disc but not the disc diameter. We did that because there were both 12-inch and 10-inch LPs.

Twilight Zoning Code


Some years ago, a colleague of mine bought a little recorded music from all corners of the globe, with an emphasis on East Asian pop. RDA was about to hit, and to get the stuff on the shelves I put brief records in our catalog for most of the CJK material. I’m now circling back to fully catalog them in WorldCat and add them, or add our holdings when I am lucky enough to find copy. I do a couple a month. I was especially proud to crack the first one, as the only word in the Latin alphabet on it was “stereo.” Thank goodness for YesAsia.com which let me know what I was looking for, and for Wikipedia once I knew where to look. Truly a case of the blind leading the blind. The records are Encoding Level K, not because they are missing a lot of fields but to advertise that I don’t have a clue what I’m doing. But I have become accustomed to getting a system-supplied 066 with subfield $c coded “$1” for CJK in these records. With these records, for the first time an additional subfield $c, with “Hani” also appears. The recently-revised page for 066 in BFAS lists all the possible codes, and there ain’t no “Hani.” I checked the official MARC 21 format but it does not give the codes at all. Of course it is system-supplied so I can’t delete it. Do you know why the system is supplying a code that doesn’t exist? (Cue The Twilight Zone.)


You are traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind. BFAS, however, offers a signpost up ahead in the form of a link to the ISO 15924 Code Lists, which defines the code “Hani” as “Han (Hanzi, Kanji, Hanja).” Since OCLC’s implementation of support for all of Unicode in 2016, not all of the relevant codes are listed in BFAS, although we should probably make that much more clear on the page for field 066. Searching WorldCat Indexes, under the entry for field 066 offers a link to the OCLC document “066 Script Codes,” which offers the same definition plus the following note: “CJK script is used for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters as well as other scripts. The script designated as Hani and/or $1 is for CJK characters only. A search of vp:hani will include all CJK script, both MARC-8 and Unicode characters.”