As of 22 April 2009 this website is 'frozen' in time — see the current IFLA websites
This old website and all of its content will stay on as archive –
Several suppliers of sound recordings, books, CD-ROMs... provide or intend to provide with their documents bibliographic records in UNIMARC, converted from proprietary format databases.
126.96.36.199 - The "BnF-Livres" solution
On the CD-ROM BnF-Livres, linking fields become ordinary data fields, which can be searched and/or displayed. For instance:
This is the same structure as in the USMARC 77X fields. The same solution has been chosen by ELECTRE (Books in print), and for cataloguing by numerous library software packages. This "link" is not a link between two records: it contains details of a record which may not exist.
188.8.131.52 - The "BnF-DSAM" solution
The source database BN-OPALINE (non-book materials in the National Library) may contain records with hierarchical links on three levels: main, subordinate and components ("father", "son" and "grandson". In the CD-ROM BnF-DSAM the main record covers the whole, with lower elements as subrecords in the same bibliographic record. Two new tags have been created : 002 to introduce son subrecords and 003 for grandson subrecords. Each subrecord may contain 001 to 999 fields, but not any guide.
Importing those records, local library systems do what they can. If they can handle hierarchical links between bibliographic records, they expand the imported record into father, son and grandson records. Otherwise they have to save part of the information in 464 fields (set level links) or in 327 (contents note).
700 $3 frBN001456462 $a Vian $b Boris
900 $3 frBN001 456462 $a Sullivan $b Vernon
184.108.40.206 - Recommendation 995
This is the simpler: one field 995 contains holdings data useful to the target data base, including the item number (bar code) and the call number. If there are several items this field is repeated. Recommendation 995 deals only with data about physical items and does not record serial captions and patterns. This is used for bibliographic exchange accompanying ILL between public libraries.
220.127.116.11 - The project of the SU (university system) and CCF (French Union Catalogue)
This more complex project plans to use classic UNIMARC fields concerning an item, together with 9XX fields. An ID in a $5 subfield allow information to be restored in the target data base. This infromation may be about physical items and also serial captions and patterns.
This structure is the same as in USMARC 600 $a $t
The National Library is building an enriched UNIMARC/A format, with fields not existing in the official UNIMARC/A, such as nationality and language of personal names, publisher function for personal names and corporate bodies, brand names, and no embedded fields. Authority records of the BN-OPALE database (print material of the National Library from 1970) are now provided on a CD-ROM in INTERMARC(A).
The last problem is a matter of database structure rather than of the format. Certain systems accept hierarchical links between bibliographic records, others do not. In the latter case the analysis must appear in a single record.
Being able to enter and download all UNIMARC fields and subfields does not imply that all data can be used for display, sorting, searching, and the production of statistics. Most of the encoded data is little used. However, it is useful in spite of that to store all of the data for exchange purposes and for future migration to another system.
There is great confusion in the library community between these three formats. Librarians should be educated to have a realistic knowledge of them.
We have yet to establish in France full co-ordination of the evolution of the national UNIMARC. Changes to the format are still the result of adjustments unilaterally decided by the bibliographic record suppliers, each publishing its own list of fields and subfields. The National Library has produced separate supporting documention for each of its bibliographic CD-ROMs.
That is why the ABF (French Library Association) and the FULBI (Federation of French Library Software User Groups) publish on the Web details of all national changes, which together describe the de facto national UNIMARC :
This co-ordination is essential - including agreement on the use of XX9, X9X et 9XX fields. The National Library consulted the users about projects related to holdings data and to UNIMARC/A.