Tip #167: Book measurements in the 300 field

If not already in the MARC record, be sure to add the dimensions of a book in the 300 field, subfield c. This information is often missing in a CIP or on-order record.

Book dimensions are always given in whole centimeters.

When measuring the size of the book being cataloged, always round up to the higher centimeter rather than rounding down to the lower one. If a book measures 24.1 centimeters on your ruler, the height of the books should be recorded as 25 cm. in the 300 subfield c.

The reasoning behind this cataloging rule is the following: If the library’s book shelves are set at 24 centimeters, a book measuring 24.1 centimeters would not fit on the shelf. It would have to be shelved in a location where the book shelves were set at 25 centimeters or higher.

The first dimension given is always the height of the book. Include the binding in the measurement.


300 __ |a 328 p. ; |c 22 cm. (AACR2)
300 __ |a 328 pages ; |c 22 cm (RDA)

Subfield c is always preceded by a semicolon.

If the width of the book is greater than the height, or if the width of the book is less than half of the height, give both the height and width in subfield c.


300 __ |a vi, 186 p. ; |c 18 x 27 cm. (AACR2)
300 __ |a 467 pages : |b color illustrations ; |c 22 x 9 cm (RDA)

FYI: You may attach your holding to a record even if the dimensions are one or two centimeters off from your item in hand. Don’t change the record, just attach your holding.
Originally published on February 15, 2013.

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MARC Fields