MARCfilter - level of subject? Why or why not?
March 27, 2014 9:41 PM   Subscribe

Can you show me an example of a library or cataloging agency that uses the "level of subject" indicator value in the 650 field? (The first indicator, not the source indicator value.) I have literally never seen it in the wild, but maybe I've been looking in the wrong places. If your library or agency uses it, why? If you know the reason why you don't, why is that?
posted by blnkfrnk to Technology (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
My wife, an original cataloger of rare books and other materials in past positions, has never used it, and actually thought it was unspecified before looking it up. She thinks it's pretty rare, but is new curious about other responses.
posted by JMOZ at 4:08 AM on March 28, 2014

I have only been copy cataloging so far, but there are lots of good q&a discussions on the OCLC-Cat listserv if you don't get an answer here!
posted by PaulaSchultz at 4:54 AM on March 28, 2014

I was hoping the "MARC Usage in WorldCat" (see 650) from OCLC would give an idea of how much it's used, but unfortunately it only mentions subfields, not indicators. Wonder if you could ask them to check for the content of the first indicator?
(never seen it used in libraries I worked for)
posted by domi_p at 4:55 AM on March 28, 2014

I've cataloged for academic libraries, public libraries, and special libraries for over 10 years and I've never seen a first indicator used in a 650.
posted by teleri025 at 6:33 AM on March 28, 2014

Also a cataloger by training. I have never seen one either, except in records that are otherwise jacked up from a bad conversion.
posted by clavicle at 7:02 AM on March 28, 2014

In addition to OCLC-CAT, AUTOCAT would be another good place to ask about this - more of a general cataloging list than OCLC-CAT.

I did a cursory search of the AUTOCAT archives, and found only a 1994 reference to a then-new National Library of Medicine policy of using 650 indicator 1, which is described on p. 18 of the Sept/Oct 1994 issue of the National Library of Medicine Technical Bulletin. I don't know NLM is still using it on their new records or not.
posted by fussbudget at 7:40 AM on March 28, 2014

Whoops, posted too soon - I found bit more information that may be helpful.

In the AUTOCAT archives, there is a 28 Feb 1996 email from Gary L. Strawn with subject 650 first indicator that gives his take on why this indicator isn't generally used.

(Sorry about the login barrier. The AUTOCAT archives are only viewable by list members, but anyone can join. You can subscribe here if you're not a member of the list already!)
posted by fussbudget at 8:01 AM on March 28, 2014

I'm an original cataloger and I'll just add to the chorus that I've never seen a first indicator on a 650.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 8:24 AM on March 28, 2014

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