Merlin Consortium Standards for Bib Records

Material Type Code Consistency

Approved by Consortium: October 26, 2004
It is stated that the following fixed field in the bibliographic record needs checking and revising if necessary:

MAT TYPE                     

When cataloging a new item, please fill in the necessary data as it represents the specific format of the work.  The following codes are available:

5    EBOOK
6    CD-ROM
O    ILL
T    MAP
U    KIT
Y    TOY

While most Mat Type codes found in older records in Merlin are correct, new records downloaded through z39.50 databases need changing.  This is because libraries found in the z39.50 list use Mat Type codes that are different than ours.  For example, you will notice that OCLC WorldCat uses a “g” to code not just videos, but also motion pictures, DVDs, filmstrips, slides, transparencies, and overhead projections.  Most, if not all, of the other library databases in the z39.50 list follow OCLC rules and use the Mat Type codes OCLC uses.  Merlin, on the other hand, has a Mat Type listing based more specifically on the type of work being cataloged.

Consistency is important because the media icon seen in the OPAC comes from the Mat Type code.  Inconsistencies are not only ugly, but they are also confusing to patrons and staff members at the library.  If a patron searches for a title in the OPAC and sees a media icon showing the item is a government document and the bracketed General Material Designator (GMD) shows the item is a videorecording, the patron will lose trust in the accuracy of the catalog.  Consistency in this case is a must.  Member catalogers must be conscious of this requirement and follow it.  NWLS staff will fix retrospective problems linked with Mat Types.

Removal of Tags 050 and 09

Approved by Consortium: May 14, 2001
It is stated that the following unnecessary call number fields should be deleted from the MARC record if they exist:

050    Library of Congress Call Number
090    Locally-Assigned Library of Congress Type Call Number

If a record contained either of these call numbers in the bib record and a library held a copy but inadvertently did not represent their own call number, the system would default to displaying either the 050 or 090 for that libraries call number.  Often times, records imported into the Merlin system from other utilities have duplicate 050s listed.  This circumstance also results in the above problem.  

It is noted that while the libraries in the Northern Waters Library Service area do not use Library of Congress call numbers, any new libraries potentially could.  It is also possible that existing libraries could change their designation from the Dewey classification to LC classification.  If this occurs, the Cataloging Standards Committee will revisit this recommendation.

Bibliographic GMD Consistency

Approved by Consortium: January 16, 2007

Revisions approved by Consortium: August 22, 2013

It is stated that the General Material Designation (or GMD) in many media records tends to contain a description too general to aid in searching the Merlin catalog.  Therefore it is recommended that when cataloging movies, audiobooks, and music items, to change the GMD in the bibliographic record to a more useful description.  The GMD is found in the bibliographic record title tag as the subfield h[GMD].

Example for movies or films:

Previous form                                              245 |h[videorecording]
New form for videos, add (VHS)                     245 |h[videorecording (VHS)]
New form for DVDs, add (DVD)                      245 |h[videorecording (DVD)]
New form for Blu-Ray DVDs, add (BLU-RAY)    245 |h[videorecording (BLU-RAY)]

Example for audiobooks and music:
Previous form                245 |h[sound recording]

New form for books on cassette, add (BookTape)  
245 |h[sound recording (BookTape)]

New form for books on CD, add (BookCD)        
245 |h[sound recording (BookCD)]

New form for music on CD, add (MusicCD)        
245 |h[sound recording (MusicCD)]

Example for magazines       
No previous form       
For magazines, add |h[magazine]               245 |h[magazine]

NWLS staff will provide retrospective changes for the standard, but it is up to the librarians to make the changes to new records that they add to the catalog. 

Adding To The Physical Description

Approved by Consortium: May 14, 2001
It is stated that the following MARC field in the bibliographic record need full descriptive analysis and editing:
p. cm.

When a librarian comes across this unedited field, please fill in the necessary data as it is presented in the piece in hand.  The following subfields may need to be added:

  • $a (extent – in units or pages or volumes)
  • $b (other physical details – in illustrations, graphics, projections, or sound characteristics)
  • $c (dimensions – listed in centimeters)
  • $e (accompanying materials – like additional pamphlets, booklets, and discs)

Please be sure to use the proper punctuation between subfields.  For example:
300    iv, 356 p. :$bcol. ill. ;$c28 cm. +$e1 floppy disk.

Adding NonFiction Notes

Approved by Consortium: January 16, 2007
It is suggested that a specific MARC note field displaying “nonfiction” will add value to searches performed by library patrons.  Catalogers who pull in new bibliographic records should be sure to add the note field for materials considered “nonfiction.”

Use the correct form as shown below:
500 __ Nonfiction.

NWLS staff will provide retrospective changes for the standard, but it is up to the librarians to make the changes to new bibliographic records that they add to the catalog.  This standard will be applied to the Merlin Verification & Cataloging Cheat Sheet when it becomes available.

Bibliographic Contents Notes

Approved by Consortium: November 26, 2001
There can be two kinds of MARC record contents notes (tag 505) in a bib record: a basic display or an enhanced display.  In the basic display, the individual titles are listed in a single subfield “a” and separated by dashes.  In the enhanced display each title is preceded by a subfield “t”.  The advantage of a 505 enhanced display is that each title will be searchable when someone performs a title search in the OPAC. Since it was found that Innovative is unable to index the basic contents field as a title search, it is suggested that we deal with contents in one of two ways. The first choice is to use enhanced contents. This may work if the collection of titles is not long.  The second choice is to keep the basic contents form, but add 740 fields (added titles) for every title listed in the contents note.  NWLS libraries are advised when editing contents notes to pick one of the two choices listed above.  If libraries search for new records in z39.50 and find a choice for both, pick the record with the enhanced contents.  These decisions basically affect records where the contents are different titles of a collection and not a listing of the different sections of a single work.  Note the following examples to distinguish types of contents notes and how to correct the title search problem.

505 0b Volume 1 (National Organizations of the U.S.): Part 1 (Sections 1-6), Entries1-10315 -- Volume 1 (National Organizations of the U.S.): Part 2 (Sections 7-18), Entries 10316-22878 -- Volume 2 (Name and Keyword Index).
This is a basic contents note of a work showing volume breakdowns.  Most likely, patrons will not want to search for the volume titles and so no enhancement is needed.

505 0b The celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County -- The story of the bad little boy -- Answers to correspondents -- Concerning chambermaids.
This is a basic contents note for a work of collected stories that needs to be enhanced.  Enhancement method A below shows the contents titles preceded by a subfield “t.”  When an article (such as “A,” “An,” or “The” precedes the main title, the article must be deleted and the first letter of the main title capitalized. Method B shows additions of added titles to allow OPAC title searches.

(A)    505 00 |tCelebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County -- |tStory of the bad little boy -- |tAnswers to correspondents -- |tConcerning chambermaids.

(B)    505 0b The celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County -- The story of the bad little boy -- Answers to correspondents -- Concerning chambermaids.
740 42 The celebrated jumping frog of Calaveras County.
740 42 The story of the bad little boy.
740 02 Answers to correspondents.
740 02 Concerning chambermaids.

Standardized Local Subjects

Approved by Consortium: November 26, 2001
It is suggested that certain standardized local subjects will add value to some searches performed by library patrons.  The conformity of these subjects will allow ease of access to the linking records in the Merlin catalog.  At this time, only four local subjects are being announced for recommendation, but this list may expand as other subjects representing literary merit are considered.  Correct forms of these local subjects are found in the examples below:

  • 690 b0  Board book.
  • 690 b0  Caldecott Medal.
  • 690 b0  Newbery Medal.
  • 690 b0  Oprah’s book club.

Handling Works Continued From Previous Creation

Approved by Consortium: September 24, 2001
It is suggested that when librarians come across books that are written by authors writing “in the style of” a previous creator or series author, to follow the correct guidelines in the cataloging, but present any independent means necessary in the call number and shelving decisions.

For example, the title McNally’s Chance is written by Victor Lardo but he uses characters created by Lawrence Sanders.  The name Lawrence Sanders is also found on the cover and title page of the book.  Our decisions would show that Lardo would receive the Main Entry (100) in the bibliographic record.  Sanders would receive an added entry (700) in the record so a patron can be lead to this record as well when searching for titles by or “in the style of” Lawrence Sanders.  

In terms of shelving this copy, it should be up to the owning library as to what call number to assign it and where to place it.  Some may find that using Lardo in the call number would be the conservative but proper option.  However, the choice should benefit both the patron and the librarian browsing the collection. Others may assign Sanders name to the call number and shelve this title with Sanders’ other works.

For multiple authors writing for the same series, the shelving decisions can be more beneficial to the patron. The way some libraries deal with the physical location for these books is by designing a section of shelving specific for the series and organizing it by the author.  Others may use the series name in the call number (like using STA for Star Trek or Star Wars) to keep the series together on the shelf.

Hardcover And Paperback Editions on Same Record

Approved by Consortium: March 26, 2001
It is stated that paperback editions of titles can be added to the hardcover edition of the same title when:
1.    the item is a work of fiction,
2.    has the “same intellectual content,” and
3.    the publisher and the copyright date are the same.

When a paperback edition is added to the hardcover record, three things have to be included in the record:
1.    the ISBN for the paperback  along with “(pbk.)” after the ISBN,
2.    a 500 note field that says the “physical description is based on the hardcover edition,” and
3.    the call number in the item record should include “pb.”

Records could also be merged when there are two paperback editions with the same publisher and copyright date, but with different ISBNs and printing dates.

This also applies to re-releases of old videos, and to children’s fiction (with the only difference being the binding).

Records that need to remain separate are: all non-fiction books, large print editions of books, abridged and unabridged audios, DVS videos, and wide-screen videos.

Multiple Magazine Records

Approved by Consortium: April 10, 2003
In the last couple of years, NWLS has not needed a separate serials module for the shared system since the inclusion of magazine titles to the catalog had been slow.  However, as more libraries join the Merlin Consortium, these libraries are becoming more comfortable in adding their magazine items to the records in the catalog.  This practice, although not nearing the structure limit of 3,000 items attached to one bibliographic record, has created other problems of slow retrieval response and long browsing lists.  Purchase of the Innovative Serials Module would run somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000.  This does not seem necessary, productive, or financially sound at this time.

Therefore, it is suggested that magazines should have the bibliographic magazine records separated by years so that the year specified will have the appropriate library holdings attached to it.  For example, we will no longer have one bibliographic record per magazine title, but instead one record for 2003 with year 2003 items attached to it, one for 2002 with year 2002 items attached to it, and so on, depending on the last year of holdings.

NWLS has provided retrospective clean up for what is currently in the catalog, but it is up to the library adding a new title in Merlin to set the trend.  Adding the current year after the Tag 245 title can easily make this change.  Others can then copy this record and make a date change for earlier or later years of holdings.  Attached is the list of magazine titles that have been changed in the retrospective project.

On Order Records

Approved by Cosnortium: August 20, 2008

Purpose and Rule

Library patrons are satisfied to see new materials come into their libraries.  In order to maintain a high level of patron satisfaction, libraries may create On Order records so patrons may place holds on these anticipated new titles.  The process works as long as certain standards are followed:

  • On Order records will only be created for materials with a scheduled published date of six months.
  • On Order records must comply with the acceptable forms and record life rules listed below.

Acceptable Forms

On Order records may take the form of either a full MARC record or a short record.  Libraries may attach to a pre-existing record in Merlin or add one through the Remore/z39.50 function.  If no pre-existing record is found, one can create a short record by choosing the On Order bibliographic template and filling in the fields.  

If the library creates a short record, the library is also responsible for updating the short record to a full MARC record once the material comes into the library.  To update a short record, a library may find a new full MARC record in Remote/z39.50 and overlay the full on the short On Order record. The library must know the Merlin bib record number of the short record in order to perform an overlay.  

Item: Item records for On Order materials do not contain a barcode and must have a status of On Order.  Call numbers and other codes can be added at the time of creation.

Record Life

Backorders should only be kept a minimum of six months.  Regular On Order records are given one year to arrive at libraries and become regular circulating materials.  NWLS will send out quarterly reports to libraries for On Orders older than one year so the library can remove the records from the database.  Holds will automatically be deleted on these items after one year of status as On Order.  Any On Order items over a year and not removed by the owning institution(s) will be removed by NWLS.