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DATE: May 27, 2016

NAME: Adding Subfields $b and $2 to Field 567 in the MARC 21 Bibliographic Format

SOURCE: National Library of Finland

SUMMARY: This paper discusses adding subfield $b (Controlled term) and subfield $2 (Source of term) to field 567 (Methodology Note).

KEYWORDS: Field 567 (BD); Methodology Note (BD); Subfield $b, in field 567 (BD); Controlled term (BD); Subfield $2, in field 567 (BD); Source of term (BD)


05/27/16 – Made available to the MARC community for discussion.

06/26/16 – Results of MARC Advisory Committee discussion: There was no consensus on whether a controlled term for methodology should be recorded in the 3XX block or as proposed in field 567. It was pointed out that there was a precedent for recording controlled terms in a note field, citing 518 subfield $p (Place of event). If the field 567 approach is pursued, more complete examples of application should be provided, showing the relationship between field 567 and the rest of a resource description. It was also suggested that subfield $0 (Authority record control number or standard number) be added to the list of changes. The paper may return as a proposal.

Discussion Paper No. 2016-DP23: Adding Subfields $b and $2 to Field 567


Field 567 is currently defined in the Bibliographic format as follows:

Field Definition and Scope:
Information concerning significant methodological characteristics of the material, such as the algorithm, universe description, sampling procedures, classification, or validation characteristics.

The note is sometimes displayed and/or printed with an introductory term that is generated as a display constant based on the first indicator value.


The National Library of Finland proposes adding subfield $b (Controlled term) and subfield $2 (Source of term) to the field 567 (Methodology note).  The original proposal comes from the Finnish working group of subject indexers.

Using authorized terms from authorized thesauri or ontologies standardizes the practice of the note. The working group has recommended using the methodology terms from the Finnish subject thesaurus YSA or its Swedish translation Allärs. This is a common practice in Finnish university libraries today. It would be important and useful to be able to express this officially, using a proper subfield and the source code.

In 567 it is possible to describe the methodology in detail in subfield $a, using free text. But the idea of giving one term and its source should also be possible. This is also important for linking data. To separate the methodology free text note and the controlled term, a new subfield $b for the term would be useful. In MARC 21, there are subfield $2’s in some note fields. 506, 518, 524 and 583 are good examples.


Example 1: free text note

567 ## $a Comparison of visible plume outlines with 39 plumes (Chalk Point-14, Paradise-13, Lunen-12)

Example 2: controlled term and its source code

567 ## $b eragrafia $2 ysa

567 ## $b narrativ forskning $2 allars


Currently the BIBFRAME 2.0 has property natureOfContent which is where this information would be recorded.  It has a range of literal.  To accommodate this change the BIBFRAME 2.0 would need to change the range to a resource so that a controlled list and in particular a specific value from a controlled list may be indicated via a URL. 


5.1. Is the 567 right field for controlled terms? Or should a new 3xx field be created?

5.2. Are there any potential problems that should be taken into account?

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