Tip #128: Adding 246 fields to help patrons locate materials

The 246 field of the MARC record contains varying forms of the title of a work. If a title contains elements such as abbreviations, contractions, compound words, symbols, or numbers, catalogers can use this field to increase the odds that a patron will be able to locate the material in the Evergreen database.
The 246 field is repeatable, so add as many 246 tags as you think are needed. Don’t get too carried away, though. The general rule is to focus on the first 5 words of the title. It’s not necessary to add a 246 for every possible combination.

Always omit any leading articles (A, An, or The) since there is no indicator in the 246 to alert the system about nonfiling characters.

Unlike the 245 field, the 246 does not end with a period. If subfields are used, such as b, n, or p, be sure to precede the subfield with the correct punctuation.

The first indicator in these examples is a 3, which means the field is indexed (searchable) but not displayed. Since the 246 field simply repeats what is in the title proper in a varying form, there is no need to display it. The second indicator is blank since we’re just spelling out abbreviations and numbers or repeating the same title in a slightly varied form.

Some examples of when to use a 246 field

  • Add a 246 to spell out abbreviations:
    245 10 |a Magic Pickle vs. the Egg Poacher
    246 3   |a Magic Pickle verses the Egg Poacher

    245 10 |a St. Albans fire
    246 3   |a Saint Albans fire
  • If there are letters or initials with separating punctuation (hyphens, slashes, periods), add a 246 without the separating punctuation:
    245 10 |a Raising chickens as easy as A-B-C
    246 3   |a Raising chickens as easy as ABC
  • If there is an ampersand (&) in the title proper, add a 246 replacing it with the word “and”.
    245 1   |a Jack & Jill
    246 3   |a Jack and Jill
  • If there are Roman numerals in a title proper, add a 246 with the Arabic numbers and another with the spelled out form:
    245 14 |a The brave men of World War II
    246 3   |a Brave men of World War 2
    246 3   |a Brave men of World War two
  • If there are Arabic numbers in the 245 field, add a title added entry for the spelled out version. If the title proper contains a spelled out number, add a 246 for the Arabic one:
    245 10 |a 526 poems
    246 3   |a Five hundred twenty-six poems.
    245 14 |a The first ten years of freedom

    246 3   |a First 10 years of freedom
    245 10 |a Bob’s #1 herbal cure
    246 3   |a Bob’s number one herbal cure
  • If your patrons search for television shows by season, you may want to add 246 fields for the alternative ways of expressing the season numeration:
    245 14 |a The golden girls. |n The complete second season
    246 3   |a Golden girls. |n The complete 2nd season
    246 3   |a Golden girls. |n Season 2
  • If a title word could have an alternative form, add a 246 if you think a patron might search by it:
    245 10 |a Knitwit
    246 3   |a Knit wit

    245 10 |a Braveheart
    246 3   |a Brave Heart
  • Add a 246 to spell out contractions:
    245 10 |a Don’t tell mom
    246 3   |a Do not tell mom
  • If there are signs or symbols in one of the first 5 words of a title proper, add a title added entry for the spelled out version:
    245 10 |a Information @ your fingertips
    246 3   |a Information at your fingertips

A note about dates: Do not add a 246 spelling out a date. However, if a year is expressed in Roman numerals, add a 246 using the Arabic form.
Originally published on April 5, 2012.

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See Also


MARC Fields