School of Information Management & Systems   Spring 2000.
245 Organization of Information in Collections .   Michael Buckland.

Assignment 5: Languages in MARC   Due at class Mon March 6.

The purpose of the this assignment is to ensure a minimal familiarity with the MARC format and to acquire a little experience in MARC coding.

In Exercise 3 you looked in telnet MELVYL for material in the Sioux language using the command F LAN SIO. However, an observant eye noticed that in some cases, although Sioux language material had been retrieved, the language code in the MARC record (in positions 35-37 of the 008 fixed field) was not always "LAN sio" - sometimes it was "LAN alg" or "LAN eng". This assignment is to explain the why and how of this puzzling result.

Read Taylor chapter 4: Encoding Standards. Then go back to telnet MELVYL and try FI LAN SIO then D MARC and look for language clues. Then refresh your MARC expertise by looking over MARC Remarks, noting the LC MARC website, and reviewing the Understanding MARC Bibliographic tutorial.

Somewhere in the tutorial or other documentation you will find that there is not one but TWO fields for indicating language. If you don't see it try 041 - LANGUAGE CODE (NR)

1. What is the explanation?

2. Demonstrate your MARC expertise by specifying the correct MARC language coding for both the 008 field positions 35-37 and for the 041 field for a document with the following language characteristics:

The text is primarily in Sioux and but also in Algonquian languages, but the document also includes a translation into English, with a summary in French, a libretto in Italian, and other significant material in Chinese, German, and Spanish.

Note: The official list of language codes is at and can also be found in MELVYL with EXPLAIN LANGUAGE.