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01. General introduction to CBS MARC 21

We will explain the configuration of a CBS MARC 21 system1 from the perspective of a cataloger or a library staff member who is involved in metadata.

We give a general overview on the CBS MARC 21 cataloguing format and several features of the CBS MARC 21 configuration. Separate pages are (or will be) available on various aspects of the CBS MARC 21 database configuration.

Thus, these pages are not a manual concerning how to configure a CBS MARC 21 database, or how to build CBS configuration files or an explanation of the files involved, etc. We present an inventory of important aspects of a CBS MARC 21 database related to the format.

The configuration is based on the MARC 21 format of the Library of Congress and the MARC 21 format of OCLC. So, a CBS MARC 21 database can “communicate” very well with WorldCat, etc. On the other hand, the configuration of a CBS is flexible, so that regional and local “wishes” for which no equivalents exist in the (actual) MARC format can be put in so-called CBS tags. These CBS tags don’t and may not interfere with the MARC 21 format, but are an addition to it.

As far as MARC 21 fields are concerned, they must be in conformity with the official MARC 21 of the Library of Congress and OCLC MARC 21, i.e. the use of tags and the allowed subfields within tags must be equal to those standards. This is very important, because the whole configuration (and software) is based on the correct use of the format.

1. The abbreviation CBS means Centraal Bibliotheek Systeem (Dutch) or Central Library System (English translation). CBS started as a “shared catalog/union catalog”. Nowadays used also as a data hub.