Encoding Standards Subcommittee: MLA Report 2018



Encoding Standards Subcommittee

Minutes of the Business Meeting held

Thursday, February 1, 2018, 1:30-2:25 p.m.

Broadway I/II/III, Hilton Portland Downtown, Portland, OR

Submitted March 20, 2018 by Jim Soe Nyun

1) Welcome and introductions:

The Chair welcomed the Subcommittee members and observers, and Subcommittee members introduced themselves.

2) Adjustments to agenda:


3) ESS Chair’s report (Soe Nyun) (5-10 min.)

a. ALA Liaison Reports (Annual 2017 on Google drive)

i. Annual 2017 (Chicago):

The Chair attended ALA Annual to represent MLA at the MARC Advisory Committee and Metadata Interest Group meetings, as well as to report on other meetings with implications for encoding standards and linked data. Time for the Subcommittee business meeting was reduced this year and in the interest of brevity the Chair mainly referred interested parties to access the detailed minutes on the web: 

ii. Upcoming Midwinter 2018 (Denver):

The current business meeting was unusual that MLA took place in advance of ALA Midwinter, resulting in a situation where there would be no opportunities to go over recent happenings at ALA; however this would be a chance to preview upcoming events.

As in the past the Chair will be representing MLA at the Midwinter MAC sessions. More details will be presented in the later portion of this meeting devoted to MARC development. Additionally he would be
presenting a brief report at the Metadata Interest Group, as well as attending and reporting back on the work of the Metadata Standards Committee and many others devoted to encoding and other metadata standards.

b. Brief webcast on MARC developments and LDWG activities on CMC YouTube channel:

The Chair pointed out a brief summary of some recent changes to MARC that might be of interest that was presented as a screencast on the CMC channel on YouTube. The screencast also summarizes the first year’s work of the Linked Data Working Group (LDWG): Available at

c. Thanks to outgoing members:

The Chair acknowledge and thanked ESS members who would be rotating off, Catherine Busselen, Keith Knop and Mark Scharff, and also to Chris Holden, who would be leaving ESS to become the LC representative to the Vocabularies Subcommittee.

d. Call for new members:

The Chair pointed out the impending vacancies on the Subcommittee and encouraged interested observers to become involved in the further work of the group.

4) LC Liaisons report (Iseminger) (5 min.) :

LC Liaison to the Subcommittee, Damian Iseminger, provided a brief summary of larger developments of the operations of the divisions at the Library of that have responsibility for processing and archiving music materials.

5) Updates on MARC development this year (Soe Nyun) (15-20 min.)

a. MLA discussion paper to look at some 3XX fields lacking $3 for discussion at Denver Midwinter: MLA has one discussion paper on the agenda of the upcoming MARC Advisory Committee (MAC). Discussion Paper No. 2018-DP03: Inventory of Newer 3XX fields that Lack Subfield $3 ( makes a case for adding subfield $3 to MARC fields 377, 380, 381 and 383 to better associate bibliographic elements with the portion of the bibliographic resource to which they apply. This is especially important for aggregate works. Some preliminary comments on this paper from national libraries and other interested parties, largely positive, have come in and are being shared with the subcommittee.

b. MLA responses to MARC proposals and discussion papers to be discussed at ALA Midwinter: The Chair highlighted some papers of special interest, including one from the Canadian Committee on Metadata Exchange that addresses ways to capture language associated with accessibility features, including closed captions and signing that might be part of resources. Another paper, from the PCC Standing Committee on Standards, suggests defining subfield $i for use in the 6XX block to accommodate topic-to-work relationship designators being developed in RDA. On the following Monday, February 5, the Chair will issue an MLA response to the proposals and papers up for discussion at the MAC meeting (agenda: He reminded all interested parties, and Encoding Standards members in particular, that comments for inclusion in the final statement are due February 3.

c. Updates to the definitions for $d, $p and $2 in the documentation for the Bibliographic and Authority formats for Field 382 (bibliographic: ; authority: A party outside MLA recently noticed that some of the subfield definitions in MARC 382, Medium of Performance, were out of date and suggested clarification. ESS took up the revision, and also took the opportunity to align the definition of subfields $d and $p. These changes were Submitted in November, and were included in MARC Update No. 25 in December.

d. “Fast-track” proposal to make Field 384, Key, repeatable and add $3 to the field (“Changes” part of MARC Update 25: This change request, which originated with the Koninklijk Conservatorium Brussel in 2016, and was developed further by ESS, was agreed upon as a fast-track proposal not requiring the full input of MAC. It was published in December’s Update No. 25.

e. Response to PCC Standing Committee on Training for MLA to explore discontinuing use of $n for dates in title strings: ESS fielded a request to evaluate whether we could discontinue the music practice of encoding dates in subfield $n in strings used in authorized access points, in favor of the general cataloging practice of relying on a parenthetical date without subfielding. The music practice goes back to the early days of the MARC Music Format and predates format integration. While other catalogers might simply add a date to the end of a title string to make it distinct, music catalogers have developed many complex access points that
employ $n for dates in addition to other elements added to strings. Discussions reinforced original feelings that removing $n preceding dates could cause serious harm to the semantics of the access point strings. The
Chair returned a response that the music community’s use of $n for dates was established and necessary, and that we would not support a change in coding practice.

f. Response to PCC ISBD and MARC Task Group: ESS members reviewed the recommendations contained in the revised final report of the PCC ISBD and MARC Task Force ( The report identified many of the ways MARC would need to be developed if bibliographic records were created without ISBD punctuation. However, the ESS review uncovered a number of additional needs and problematic areas. A report with areas of concern were forwarded to the Chair of CMC to forward to PCC. It is expected that a formal mechanism for further feedback will be developed and announced, either in the upcoming days or in discussions at ALA Midwinter.

g. Response to request for help from RISM for encoding entities in Series C: Staff in the RISM Office contacted the ESS Chair about the possibility for extending MARC for some specific needs they had related to encoding information such as hours of a corporate entity or for specific public contact people at an organization. This would be for information about organizations that would be published as a part of Series C. Instead of extending the format a discussion in ESS led to our sending back suggestions for how local
extensions might be developed for their very specific needs which might not be used by anyone else. Later, a helpful person outside ESS pointed out that some capabilities in the MARC Format for Community Information could help with some of RISM’s needs, and we passed on that additional information.

6) Ongoing project : Maintaining and Developing Music Metadata Resources Site (5 min.)

a. Changes made to the site this year (Soe Nyun):

Some relatively small changes were made to the MMR site, mostly along the lines of cleaning up expired links or reorganizing existing pages to minimize the need for ongoing maintenance.

b. New leader needed for this task (Soe Nyun):

The above work was accomplished without an ESS member formally tasked with maintain the MMR site. The Chair mentioned that this would be a definite need, and that those entertaining joining the Subcommittee might consider this task.

7) Bandwidth/interest to resume work on MADS update proposal?

( (for those with wiki access)) (Soe Nyun) (5 min.)

There appeared to be enough interest to continue work on this proposal. The Chair will follow up with those involved in MADS XML development (probably Malanie Wacker) to express our interest.

8) New business, including any further work we might want to do on the MARC formats (All) (10 min.)

a. Review definition of $r in Field 382, and whether to restore wording to that in MARC Proposal 2016-02

This item not discussed at the meeting, but the topic will likely brought up the upcoming year.

b. Other possibilities?:

The 382 field as defined now does not leave a place to clearly store identifiers associated with the instrument strings given in the field. The German-speaking library world employs a method that breaks apart each instrument into its own 382 field, which provides a way to add an identifier for the instrument. Nancy Lorimer will contact Reinhold Heuvelmann for more information about the practice. This potentially could lead to a different practice for how the field is coded, but the field would probably need further development to accommodate all the ways it is currently used as a single field. One question was how (and perhaps if) the German practice retained the idea that individual instruments were frequently part of an ensemble.

9) Adjournment