Re: Subfield mark in MARC records -- take 2

From: Joan Aliprand (
Date: Wed Apr 01 1998 - 18:28:53 EST

Chris White ( asked:

>There was silence on the topic of the glyph / displayed character in
>printed MARC records. We want to get away from using the dollar
>currency symbol for this. What are other MARC record people using /
>going to use ? ?

As John Cowan and John Clews pointed out, the choice of a glyph (to
indicate the position of the Unit Separator) is a local choice.

The Library of Congress documentation for USMARC does not name the glyph,
but merely shows it. For example, the USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data
   A subfield code consists of a delimiter (ASCII 1F), represented in this
   document as a <glyph>, followed by a data element identifier.

LC's glyph (as Gary Smith wrote) most closely resembles the image for

The subfield delimiter symbol is often referred to as "double dagger".
Walt Crawford (in "MARC for Library Use: Understanding Integrated USMARC")
   This book (and most USMARC documentation) uses the double dagger <glyph>
   to indicate the subfield delimiter. The subfield delimiter is sometimes
   shown as $ when no double dagger is available in a character set.

The implementations with which I am familiar (and Crawford's book) use a
sans-serif design for the glyph representing the subfield delimiter.
The separation of the horizontal lines varies (compare the image for U+01C2
to the double dagger in a sans serif font such as Arial).

The subfield delimiter symbol in the LucidaSans RLG font (designed by
Bigelow & Holmes) has the horizontal lines more separated than in LC
documentation, but less so than in the Arial double dagger.

Did the CHASE Project make any recommendation about a preferred glyph to
indicate the presence of U+001F?

Chris White continued:
>A further thought is that it will need to be something that our
>cataloguers can easily input via the keyboard when they are editing a

This is an implementation-specific choice.

The RLIN Terminal for Windows software puts the subfield delimiter symbol
on the minus key of the numeric keypad. (Our intent was to have it in a
fairly obvious position.)

The British Library uses RLIN for the English Short Title Catalogue, so you
can take a look at the LucidaSans RLG glyph, and see what you think about
our key position choice.

-- Joan Aliprand
   Senior Analyst, Research Libraries Group


This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.2 : Tue Jul 10 2001 - 17:20:40 EDT