Tip #179: RDA fields 336, 337, 338 & a cheat sheet

The 336 (Content Type), 337 (Media Type), and 338 (Carrier Type) fields should be included in all RDA records. The 337 field is not core, but is rarely omitted. These fields replace the GMD (245 |h).

  • Content Type (336) is the form of expression. Is it performed music, a cartographic image such as a map, or spoken word such as a downloadable e-book?
  • Media Type (337) is what device (if any) is needed to use the resource. Do you need an audio player, a video player, a microform reader, or nothing?
  • Carrier Type (338) describes the storage medium. Is the music on an audiodisc? Is the movie on a videocassette? Is the document online?
  • The terms used in subfield ‘a’ of these fields are a controlled vocabulary, which means we can’t just make up our own descriptive words. Here’s a link to a cheat sheet for what terms to use for the resource you have.

    Here’s some examples:

    336 __ |a text |2 rdacontent
    337 __ |a unmediated |2 rdamedia
    338 __ |a volume |2 rdacarrier

    336 __ |a performed music |2 rdacontent
    337 __ |a audio |2 rdamedia
    338 __ |a audidisc |2 rdacarrier

    Subfield ’2′ is just the code for the source of the terms used, which is always going to be the same.

    Note there is no ending punctuation for the 3xx fields.

    A subfield ‘b’ can be used in addition to or instead of subfield ‘a’. The difference is that subfield ‘a’ is the actual term and subfield’ b’ is a code for that term. Evergreen catalogers should use subfield ‘a’ when original cataloging or adding fields 336/337/338. If the record already has these fields and uses subfield ‘b’ rather than ‘a’, it’s okay to leave the record as is.

    If your resource has more than one component, such as a book packaged with a CD or an audiobook with a CD-Rom, you are only required to include the 336/337/338 fields for the primary material. So if you are cataloging a book with a CD inserted in the back, you’ll probably catalog it with the primary material being the book, which means the 336/337/338 fields would reflect text rather than spoken word. However, if you are cataloging a kit or a resource where there is no dominant element, you’ll want to include a 336/337/338 field for each component.
    Originally published on May 10, 2013.


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