Matthew Reidsma

Work Notes

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Medium Designations in the Catalog are Changing Because of RDA

Debbie spotted something minor in the catalog this week that we thought warranted a quick notice. Traditionally, the MARC 245 field has a subfield $h, which is the “Medium.” This is displayed next to the title in records in the OPAC inside square brackets, like this:

This is the Best Book Ever [electronic resource]

Debbie used this view of the material type when scanning the catalog during collection development, and it helped her know that we had an item as an eBook. However, earlier this week she spotted something strange in one of her searches: no subfield $h displaying:

Where did the subfield h go?

It turns out the records for these eBooks are RDA records, and one of the little changes in RDA is that the 245 no longer has a subfield h. Rather, the material type designations are moved to the 336-338 fields. This addresses the inflexibility of the “electronic resource” material type when describing all kinds of different eThings, but it also means the subfield h won’t appear in the OPAC for those records.

Here’s the MARC for those records above:

100 1  Doyle, Terry,|d1951- 
245 14 The new science of learning :|bhow to learn in harmony 
       with your brain /|cTerry Doyle and Todd Zakrajsek ; 
       foreword by Jeannie H. Loeb. 
250    First edition. 
264  1 Sterling, Virginia :|bStylus,|c2013. 
300    1 online resource. 
336    text|btxt|2rdacontent 
337    computer|bc|2rdamedia 
338    online resource|bcr|2rdacarrier 
500    Description based on print version record.

If you use the $h to scan for holding types in the OPAC when doing collection development, all is not lost. If a record shows up in the OPAC and there are no item holdings listed with it, then it’s an eBook (formerly [electronic resource]).