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History of field 049

Find the history of field 049, including its placement in a bibliographic record, indicators, and repeatability.

Placement in a bibliographic record

Before August 20, 1975, field 049 was displayed at the end of the bibliographic record following the blank, local call number field (09x) and preceding the blank field (590). On August 20, 1975, a bibliographic record showed the full MARC format. The system displayed field 049 as the last 0xx field. After 1990, the system enforced the position of field 049 as the last 0xx field.

As you can see and will see throughout this section, if you are processing records over a span of time, display and input standards do change.

Placement in display after editing/adding field 049 and reformatting

Before August 20, 1975, if you filled in the system-supplied empty field 049 with a valid 3- or 4-character code and reformatted, the system renumbered the lines and displayed field 049 above the main entry (1xx or 2xx field). If you sent the supplied empty fields 09x and 049 and you did not enter specific line numbers for them, the system displayed field 09x and field 049 as the last 00x field after the record was reformatted. If no field 049 was sent, field 049 remained empty. It was located at the bottom of the screen.

On or after August 20, 1975, field 049 was generally displayed as the last 0xx field following reformatting. Again, after 1990, the system enforced the position of field 049 as the last 0xx field.

You could enter other 0xx fields (i.e., 090, 0923, etc.) to follow field 049. To have 0xx fields follow field 049, you send field 049 and enter other 0xx field(s) with the line number(s) greater than the field 049 line number. For example, if you display a record, send field 049, and reformat, the empty 09x field displays after field 049 as the last 0xx field. If you then enter and send the 09x field, the 09x field has a line number greater than field 049.

If default 049 is accepted as displayed and not sent, the system displays the default 049 as the last 0xx field. (Default 049 is not stored with the record.) The last 0xx field is generated for display by the system. (Of all the 0xx fields, only 010 and 040 have fixed positions—lines 1 and 2 respectively.)

Definition of indicators

In Cataloging on a Cathode Ray Tube Terminal, the 2 indicator positions are defined. "The interpretation and use of the contents of the 049 field is [sic] governed by its indicators. Both indicators ... will be used. The first indicator controls the printing of holdings information. The second indicator indicates whether the 049 field contains all of the holdings information for this particular title-call number combination."1

Standards for Input Cataloging states: "The indicators are not yet operational."2

On-Line Cataloging states that for both indicator positions "the Center has defined only zero. ..."3 Operators were instructed always to use zero for each indicator. However, on page 205 the indicators are not listed for field 049.

Definition and Use of the 049 Holding Field lists both indicators as 0 and states: "The system does not require these indicators to be input."4

In Fixed and Variable Field Tags for Books, the indicators are listed.5 They are fully defined. These definitions do not vary substantially from those in Cataloging on a Cathode Ray Tube Terminal.6 The only addition is blank (Blank) as the default value. Since these indicators were never required, the blank (Blank) was always possible but just not listed.

Screen display of indicators

The system initially displayed fill characters in the indicator positions. At that time the presence of a fill character did not indicate a mandatory indicator/character as it does now. On July 1, 1976, the display changed. The indicator positions were displayed as blanks (BlankBlank).

Default value of indicators

Initially the system supplied zeros (00) as the default characters in the 2 indicator positions if you did not enter these characters before a Produce or Update. After July 1, 1976, the system supplied blanks (BlankBlank) as the default indicator values.

Operational status

Neither indicator is operational as defined. The first indicator has never been used to control the printing of holdings information. The second indicator has never had an online function.


Until March 5, 1977, field 049 was repeatable. "There must be one 049 field for each call number" (On-Line Cataloging7). Technical Bulletin 19, March 1977, listed field 049 as one of the nonrepeatable fields. The system began checking for only one field 049 on March 5, 1977.

Default holding library code

The system displayed the default holding library code in field 049 upon installation of the full MARC record on August 20, 19758. The default 049 was the 4-character code.

Size (3- or 4-character code)

Until July 1, 1975, the holding library code consisted of 3 characters. Then the code was expanded from 3 characters to 4 (see the announcement in OCLC Newsletter).9 The 4-character code was displayed as the default holding library code August 20, 1975.

Card production

Following a Produce, the card production programs print cards for the default holding library if you did not enter another valid holding library code in field 049. This was true even before August 20, 1975, when the default holding library code was not displayed.

Record size

The default 4-character holding library code, displayed in field 049 since August 20, 1975, is not stored with the record. It is generated as the last 0xx field for initial displays. Because it is not part of the record, it does not count as one of the possible 50 variable fields. If you send field 049, it counts as one of the 50 variable fields. If the default, the record may appear to have 51 variable fields and still be accepted by the system.

OCLC-MARC Subscription service

For tapes produced after December 31, 1976, the default holding library code appeared in the OCLC-MARC Subscription Service. For tapes produced before December 31, 1976, field 049 appears only if it was entered on the record or if the default 049 (displayed after August 20, 1975) was sent.

Retrospective OCLC-MARC Project

All records contain field 049 even if you did not enter the field. Field 049 consists of 4 characters (most 3-character codes were converted to 4-character codes). If field 049 contained holding library codes separated by commas, the codes were not converted.


Before May 22, 1976, the system was programmed to print cards only for the leftmost holding library code in the last 049 in a record. If you used the default option, the default holding library code was used to print cards.

On May 22, 1976, the All Produce function was implemented for all users. See OCLC Newsletter10 and Technical Bulletin 8, May 1976.

Automatic error checking

The system began to "check the validity of information in the 049 field."11 Before validation was installed, you could enter invalid holding library codes.

Size expansion

The holding library codes were expanded from 3 to 4 characters on July 1, 1975.12

OCLC-MARC Subscription service tapes contain only one size holding library code (i.e., either all 3- or all 4-character holding library codes). The only tapes that might have contained a mixture of 3- and 4-character holding library codes were the June 23—July 3, 1975 biweekly tape and the June 30—July 11, 1975 weekly (2 weekly runs). Since weekly and biweekly tapes are not usually stockpiled, only one size holding library code should appear on any tape.

However, if some of these tapes were stockpiled and processed, double-check them for the holding library code. If a tape contains both 3- and 4-character codes, the size depends on the date of card/record production, not on the date of the tape production.

Default holding library code in tapes

The default holding library code appeared for tapes produced after December 31, 1976. For quarterly and semiannual subscriptions, default holding library codes appeared automatically in tapes for the period ending January 2, 1977, and for monthly (4-week) subscriptions for the period ending January 16, 1977.

The multi-institutional tape option was originally scheduled for July 5, 1976. Between this time and implementation on December 31, 1976, OCLC sent multi-institutional subscribers a separate tape for each institution included in their multi-institutional order. These tapes do not include the default holding library code (default 049).

Chronology of field 049

Date Description
May 1972 Automatic error checking of field 049
July 1975 Holding library codes change from 3 to 4 characters
August 1975 Full MARC record display of default holding library
May 1976 All Produce
July 1976 Indicators default to Blank
December 1976 Default holding library code appears in OCLC-MARC Subscription Service tapes
March 1977 Field 049 nonrepeatable



1. Ohio College Library Center, Cataloging on a Cathode Ray Tube Terminal (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio College Library Center, 1971): 25.

2. Ohio College Library Center, Standards for Input Cataloging (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio College Library Center, 1972): 5.

3. Ohio College Library Center, On-Line Cataloging, 40.

4. Ohio College Library Center, Definition and Use of the 049 Holdings Field (Columbus, Ohio: Ohio College Library Center, 1974): 1.

5. OCLC, Inc., Fixed and Variable Field Tag for Books (Columbus, Ohio: OCLC, 1979): 50.

6. See note 1 above.

7. Ohio College Library Center, On-Line Cataloging, 4.0.

8. August 20, 1975, is an approximate date for the display of a bibliographic record in the full OCLC-MARC format.

9. Ohio College Library Center, "OCLC to Expand Holdings Symbols for Card Production," OCLC Newsletter 82 (May 28, 1975): 3.

10. Ohio College Library Center, "Center Implements All Produce Function," OCLC Newsletter 99 (May 28, 1976): 1.

11. Ohio College Library Center, "Work Schedules," Newsletter—Ohio College Library Center 50 (May 8, 1972): 1.

12. See note 9 above.