Bibliographic punctuation at the start and the end of subfields
The bibliographic punctuation1 at the start and at the end of subfields2 is not stored in the CBS MARC 21 database, so it is not typed in by the cataloger, but it is generated automatically by means of special tools when necessary, e.g. in a labelled or a brief display. During the import of records into a CBS MARC 21 database, the bibliographic punctuation must be removed. So, this is only the removal of bibliographic punctuation between MARC subfields and not the bibliographic punctuation within subfields.
But not all punctuation will be removed automatically! There is a check on the combination of the punctuation with a subfield. If this combination is allowed, the bibliographic punctuation is removed. Also, evidently wrong punctuation is removed.
The great advantages of this approach are:
- A lot of incorrect punctuation will be removed during the import of records into a CBS MARC 21 database.
- The cataloger doesn’t need to fill in the punctuation at the start and at the end of subfields.
- When a subfield is displayed as such, no additional tools are necessary for not displaying the bibliographic punctuation at the start and at the end of that subfield.
- The quality of the punctuation during the export of records from a CBS MARC 21 database will be improved.
Example with bibliographic punctuation
M264 #1 $aNew York, N.Y. : $bElsevier, $c2018
Example without bibliographic punctuation
M264 #1 $aNew York, N.Y. $bElsevier $c2018
When you want to display the contents of subfield $a after the label “Place of publication”, you don’t need to remove the space-colon-space at the end of this subfield. The same applies for the name of the publisher, when you have a separate label “Publisher”: you don't need to remove the comma-space.
The correct punctuation is added automatically, when needed.
Different punctuation per subfield dependent on its function
In general, there is only one standard bibliographic punctuation between subfields, but sometimes the meaning or function of a subfield is dependent on the (preceding) punctuation. The most well-known examples are the subfields $b - Remainder of title -, $n - Number of part/section of a work - and $p - Name of part/section of a work - in tag 245 - Title statement -.
In those situations, the (preceding) punctuation is part of the subfield indicator in the CBS cataloguing format, i.e. the length of the subfield indicator is extended to three characters. E.g. “:$b”. In these cases, the punctuation has not the function of a punctuation mark but is a part of a subfield indicator. It is very important to distinguish these functions.
The consequence is that in the PICA+ (i.e. the database) format, a specific subfield is generated that corresponds with the three characters subfield indicator in the cataloguing format. These specific subfields can be recognized by a capital letter in the PICA+ format, and using these and the automatic punctuation files (APT files), the correct bibliographic punctuation can be generated in all types of database output that includes punctuation, e.g. the labelled presentation and the MARC 21 export.
Different punctuation between MARC 21 of the Library of Congress and OCLC, Dublin
When there is a difference between the punctuation of the Library of Congress (LoC) and OCLC, Dublin, then the OCLC punctuation is leading.
Example of LoC
020 ## $a 0394170660 $q Random House $q paperback $c $4.95
Example of OCLC
020 ## $a 0893571121 $q (pbk. ; $q v. 1)
In the LoC MARC 21 format, subfield $q -& Qualifying information ;- has no punctuation, but the OCLC format has. Thus in this and similar cases, the OCLC MARC 21 punctuation is leading.
AutomaticPuncTuation files (APT files)
As said before, the bibliographic punctuation at the end of subfields is not stored in the database, so it is not typed in by the cataloger at the start and the end of the subfields.
We have developed the so-called APT files, i.e. Automatic PuncTuation files. What are the functions of those configuration files?
- During the import of data into a CBS MARC 21 database, the punctuation at the start and at the end of subfields is removed. Thus, it is only the removal of bibliographic punctuation between MARC subfields and not the bibliographic punctuation within a subfield.
- To several displays like the labelled and brief displays, the bibliographic punctuation is added.
- During the export of data from a CBS MARC 21 database to an export file in ‘standard’ (OCLC) MARC 21, the bibliographic punctuation is added also.
Per field in principle two kinds of Automatic PuncTuation files (APT) exist:
- An APT file for both the MARC 21 import to CBS MARC 21 and the MARC 21 export from CBS MARC 21 to (OCLC) MARC 21.
- An APT file for the labelled, brief display etc.
The most important difference between the two kinds of APT files is that in e.g. the brief and labelled display, you don’t see subfield indicators like $a, $b, etc., but only bibliographic punctuation between the subfields; in the MARC 21 export display, you see both the subfield indicators and the bibliographic punctuation.
Labelled and brief displays
The ISBD Consolidated edition of 2011 is the starting point for the labelled and the brief display, etc. This is a clear international standard, so everyone knows which punctuation ought to be used. When for certain elements within an ISBD field no ISBD equivalent exist, the MARC 21 punctuation is leading. This applies also for fields that are not part of the ISBD.
When in the MARC field no punctuation is mentioned between subfields, we add a “space semicolon space” ( ; ) as a default; when the elements are “equal” we add a “comma space” (, ). Only a space as separator is not clear, in our opinion.
MARC 21 export
For the MARC 21 export from a CBS MARC 21 database, we try to be in conformity with the (OCLC) MARC 21 practice as far as the bibliographic punctuation is concerned, although there are many “inconsistencies” and there is much “lack of clarity”. Unfortunately, there are also differences between the Library of Congress and the OCLC WorldCat practices also.
When the MARC and OCLC WorldCat MARC documentation are not clear about the bibliographic punctuation, we use in principle for the MARC 21 export the same punctuation as for the labelled and brief displays.
When a tag has one or more of the following subfields, the first subfield is preceded by a period (.); the other subfields, following the first, get no preceding punctuation. We have – in most cases – chosen this overall solution.
- $0 Authority record control number or standard number
- $1 Real World Object URI
- $2 Source
- $3 Materials specified (when this subfield is not at the beginning of a tag)
- $4 Relationship
- $5 Institution to which field applies
- $7 Control subfield
- $9 Special entry (OCLC MARC subfield)
Furthermore, we don’t add closing punctuation to the MARC fields, because it is not in conformity with ISBD and AACR2.
2. Also opening parentheses and opening brackets related to the closing parentheses and closing brackets at the end of subfields are involved. These opening punctuations are put at the beginning of a subfield.