Tip #124: Matching up the Fixed and Variable Fields in a MARC record

The codes in the fixed fields of a MARC record correspond with the data contained in the record’s variable fields.

This means that when you change dates or add information in one of the variable fields, you need to also change the coding or dates in the fixed field grid.

Here are some basics:

  • If you change the place of publication in the 260 field, change the Ctry fixed field to match.*
  • If you change the publication or copyright date in the 260 field, also change the Date1 fixed field.
  • If you add or remove illustration information in the 300 field subfield ‘b’, code the Illus fixed field to match.**
  • If you find plates in a book and add it to the 300 field subfield a (example: [8] p. of plates), add a ‘f’ in the Illus fixed field.
  • If you change the time for a videorecording in the 300 field, change the Time fixed field.
  • If you add or remove a 500 field saying the book has an index, change the Indx fixed field (0 = no index ; 1 = contains an index)
  • If you add or remove a 504 field saying the book contains bibliographic references, add or remove the ‘b’ in the Cont fixed field.
  • If you add or change a 521 (Target Audience) field on a DVD record, code the Audn field to match, remembering that code ‘e’ is only used for R-rated material.

A note about dates: If you use multiple dates in the variable fields, you may need to change the Date 1 and Date 2 fields as well as the DtSt fixed field***. Remember, too, that the dates in the fixed fields can come from any variable field, not just the 260.

*Not sure of the Ctry codes for states and foreign countries? Use the Cataloging Calculator and search country codes.
**Can’t remember all the Ilus codes? Bookmark or print the OCLC Fixed Fields: Illustrations page.
***Not sure how to code the DtSt field? Check OCLC Bib Formats & Standards
Originally published on March 9, 2012.


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