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DATE: December 20, 2013

NAME: Designating Never Published in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: German National Library

SUMMARY: This paper discusses a way to designate in a MARC bibliographic record that a bibliographic resource has never been published.

KEYWORDS: Leader 17 (BD); Encoding level (BD); Field 008/06 (BD); Type of date/Publication status (BD); Field 263 (BD); Projected Publication Date (BD)


12/20/13 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

01/26/14 – Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: The Committee suggested considering field 366 (Trade Availability Information), with $c (Availability status code) containing a code for cancelled.  DNB will consider whether the 366 field meets its current requirements as specified, or whether a proposal to expand its usage should be submitted at Annual 2014.

06/29/14 – Update: DNB reported to MAC that it has considered field 366 (Trade Availability Information), and, after a few editorial changes were made to the MARC documentation, found that it meets the requirements.  No proposal had to be submitted.  DNB will use field 366 for its MARC data services in a brief form, "366 ## $c AB $2 onixas", starting in September 2014.

Discussion Paper No. 2014-DP01: Designating Never Published


A bibliographic resource is sometimes planned and projected, it is announced by the publisher on several channels, and metadata is created describing the resource, via CIP or similar programs, in MARC, ONIX, and other formats -- but for whatever reason, the resource finally fails to be published.

It is thought helpful in these cases that the record itself is retained in library systems, e.g. for acquisition purposes, especially for legal deposit libraries.  Based on a pre-publication record, a librarian looking for information about the resource gets the response that the resource has not been published and will never be, and thus can refrain from contacting the publisher.  The information that the resource has never been published is contained in the record, in textual form as a note, and in addition as a code.

We see this as bibliographic information, to be distinguished from the fact that a specific library does not hold an item of a specific bibliographic resource, and to be distinguished from the fact that no library holds any item of the resource at all. The designation should also be distinguished from resources that were never intended to be published, e.g. manuscripts.


The MARC Bibliographic format contains information about the completeness of a record in Leader position 17 "Encoding level". Leader position 17 is defined as follows:

17 - Encoding level

# - Full level
1 - Full level, material not examined
2 - Less-than-full level, material not examined
3 - Abbreviated level
4 - Core level 5 - Partial (preliminary) level
7 - Minimal level
8 - Prepublication level
u - Unknown
z - Not applicable

This position primarily describes the completeness, quality and reliability of the data given in the record. In the case of value "8", the value indicates that at the time the record was created the resource is in the stage of prepublication, some data is usually missing, and some data is subject to change. While it is true that the majority of records have been created according to workflows similar to CIP (import of ONIX records provided by German Books in Print), they are set to a different status as soon as the information is available that the resource was intended for publication, but will never be published. So using Leader position 17 value "8" could be misleading concerning the publication status.

More specific information about the status of a publication is contained in field 008 position 06 "Type of date/Publication status". 

Currently, Field 008 position 06 is defined as follows:

06 - Type of date/Publication status

b - No dates given; B.C. date involved
e - Detailed date
i - Inclusive dates of collection
k - Range of years of bulk of collection
m - Multiple dates
n - Dates unknown
p - Date of distribution/release/issue and production/recording session when different
q - Questionable date
r - Reprint/reissue date and original date
s - Single known date/probable date
t - Publication date and copyright date
c - Continuing resource currently published
d - Continuing resource ceased publication
u - Continuing resource status unknown
| - No attempt to code

The position contains a "code that indicates the type of dates given in 008/07-10 (Date 1) and 008/11-14 (Date 2). For continuing resources, the code in 008/06 also indicates the publication status." None of the possible values expresses the fact that the resource was intended for publication, but has never been published. In general, field 008 position 06 may not be the right place in the format for the need described here, because we need a code covering both monographs and serials intended for publication, but never published.

If field 008 position 06 is chosen, the question arises about what consequences the definition of a new code would have for the immediately following two blocks of dates, Date 1 and Date 2, each containing four positions. It may be feasible to give the year of the projected publication in the Date 1 block (and in field 260 subfield $c), and fill the Date 2 block with blanks. There may be more implications to the complex rules describing 008 position 06 and the two data blocks.

One option would be to establish code "f" (not published), where "not published" refers only to items intended for publication but never published, and not to manuscripts and other items never intended for publication. Both date values would logically contain blanks in the case of code "f".

A third format element is field 263 "Projected Publication Date", described as "Projected date of publication used in bibliographic records for works that have not yet been published". The field contains subfield $a with a "six-digit date recorded in the pattern yyyymm". This field is used in conjunction with Leader position 17 value "8". There are possible ways of reasoning that a resource intended for publication but never published is described in the record, e.g. if the time given in field 263 $a is in the past. However, there are cases when the publication is delayed, but still intended by the publisher, so that field 263 cannot be used to unambiguously give the information needed.


Two examples where a solution is needed are the following (relevant 008 code highlighted):

Example1:  a serial that was never published

Link to the record in the DNB catalog via

LDR  00498nas a22001938c 4500
001  1014263492
003  DE-101
005  20130912134207.0
007  tu
008  110811d20112011|||u||p|##|||#0||||0|||#c
016 7# $2DE-101$a1014263492
016 7# $2DE-600$a2623106-2
022 ## $a2192-385X
035 ## $a(DE-599)ZDB2623106-2
040 ## $a1241$bger$cDE-101$d1241
245 10 $aAgraffe
260 3# $aMünchen$bBookspot-Verl.
362 0# $a2011,1; nicht ersch.
515 ## $a2011,1 angekündigt, jedoch nicht ersch.

Example 2:  a monograph that was never published

Link to the record in the DNB catalog via

LDR 01063nam a2200277 c 4500
001 955220319
003 DE-101
005 20080105172731.0
007 tu
008 981123s1999####gw#|||||#||||#00||||eng##
015 ## $a99,N21,0539$2dnb
016 7# $2DE-101$a955220319
020 ## $a342206253X$cbrosch. : DM 19.80 (freier Pr.), sfr 19.00 (freier Pr.), S 145.00 (freier Pr.)$93-422-06253-X
035 ## $a(DE-599)DNB955220319
040 ## $a1240$bger$cDE-101$d9999
041 ## $aeng
044 ## $cXA-DE
084 ## $a45$a720$qDE-101$2sdnb
245 10 $a-The- Luisium in the Dessau Wörlitzer garden country$cAuthors: Ludwig Trauzettel ... [Red. Uwe Quilitzsch]
260 3# $aMünchen$aBerlin$bDt. Kunstverl.$c1999
300 ## $a104 S.$bIll.$c24 cm
490 0# $aMuseumsstück
500 ## $aNicht ersch.
700 1# $0(DE-588)112962742$0(DE-101)112962742$aTrauzettel, Ludwig$4ctb
700 1# $0(DE-588)113346379$0(DE-101)113346379$aQuilitzsch, Uwe$4red$eRed.
775 08 $iDt. Ausg. u.d.T.:$t-Das- Luisium im Dessau-Wörlitzer Gartenreich$w(DE-101)954287215
925 r# $ara


The concepts of completeness of the descriptive information (full, less-than-full, abbreviated, core, etc.), type of dates for the item (single date, multiple dates, range of dates, etc.), and the status of the publication (currently published, ceased publication, never published) have not yet been treated for retrieval purposes in the BIBFRAME vocabulary. Some of these are conflated in MARC for historical reasons and would probably be identified separately if they are needed in the future.  Possibly there would be a publication status property for the item described.


5.1. What is the right format element in a MARC record for a resource intended for publication, but never published? Does it sound reasonable to define a new code in Leader position 17 for the need described? Or is the definition of a new code in field 008 position 06 an option? Is the usage of field 263 an option? Or is there a better solution elsewhere in the format?

5.2. Does the definition of the new code (if chosen) have consequences for the two date blocks, in 008 positions 07-10, and 11-14, respectively?

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