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Discusses the basic issues relating to bibliographic control of maps and related materials. Discusses rules and standards covering such cataloging, as well as application of the rules and principles both in general and in response to specific problems, and various practicing options.

This group is part of Core's Metadata & Collections Section.

Follow-up on removal of 655 "Electronic books" in WorldCat records

  • 1.  Follow-up on removal of 655 "Electronic books" in WorldCat records

    Posted Sep 29, 2022 11:07 AM

    On August 16, OCLC announced the planned removal of "Electronic books" from 655 fields in bibliographic records.  That term has never been a legitimate genre/form heading in either LCSH or LCGFT, as explained in the August message, which follows.  The overwhelming response to this announcement was positive.  We received several suggestions for removing other similar headings from records and decided to expand the project.  We have begun work to remove the following headings (both singular and plural forms, hence the notation for dictionary/ies and directory/ies in the list below) from bibliographic records in WorldCat:


    Electronic article

                  Electronic audio book

                  Electronic audiobook

                  Electronic book

                  Electronic dictionar…   

                  Electronic director…     

                  Electronic dissertation

                  Electronic document

                  Electronic encyclopedia

                  Electronic government information

                  Electronic government publication

                  Electronic handbook

                  Electronic journal

                  Electronic manuscript

                  Electronic map

                  Electronic masters project

                  Electronic newsletter

                  Electronic newspaper

                  Electronic publication

                  Electronic score

                  Electronic serial

                  Electronic student paper

                  Electronic text

                  Electronic theses

                  Electronic thesis


    Other headings beyond those starting with "Electronic" have been suggested for removal.  OCLC staff will be compiling and considering additions to this list for a future project that will commence once the headings above are eliminated.  If you have additional headings to suggest for removal as being redundant to coding and other fields in MARC records, please send them to   We will consider them carefully and make an announcement of an additional list of terms for elimination before taking action on a new list. 


    Please excuse duplication of this message. 



    Cynthia M. Whitacre  (she/her)

    OCLC · Senior Metadata Operations Manager, Membership & Research Division

    6565 Kilgour Place, Dublin, Ohio, 43017  United States

    T +1-800-848-5878, ext. 6183

    Direct: +1-614-764-6183· Twitter · Facebook · YouTube · LinkedIn· Instagram ·Next blog



    Original message for reference:

    Sent: Tuesday, August 16, 2022  
    Subject: Removal of field 655 "Electronic books" in WorldCat records


    The term "Electronic books" has never been valid for use in either LCSH or LCGFT as a genre/form heading (field 655). Although many institutions have long used it in WorldCat bibliographic records, it is a restatement of the type of carrier of a resource rather than an indication of the form or genre of the content. The usage of this term in field 655 may have been useful in the early days of eBooks, but with implementation of RDA, the MARC 21 format now has many metadata elements that provide information to determine if a resource is an electronic book:


    • Form fixed field coded for electronic resource
    • 006 Additional material characteristics for the computer file aspects of the resource
    • 007 for electronic resource
    • Field 300
    • 33x Fields


    Information about coding electronic resources in MARC can be found in Bibliographic Formats and Standards 3.3.1 Electronic Resources:  


    OCLC has consulted with members of the ALA Core Subject Analysis Committee regarding the term "Electronic books"; their advice was to remove this term from WorldCat bibliographic records, since it is redundant and just adds clutter to the records.     


    OCLC will be removing "Electronic books" in field 655 from WorldCat records when the term is coded as coming from LCSH, LCGFT, from an unspecific controlled vocabulary, or local controlled vocabulary. The following are the four scenarios where the term will be removed:


    • 655 _ 0 Electronic books
    • 655 _7 Electronic books $2 lcgft
    • 655 _ 4 Electronic books
    • 655 _7 Electronic books $2 local


    If your organization would still like to have "Electronic books" in field 655 there are other options that can be used, such as Local Bibliographic Data (LBD) for those institutions that use the WorldShare Management System (WMS). For information on LBDs, please see 3.4.1 Copy- or Institution-Specific Information: For institutions that have other integrated library platforms you can export the record with a 655 second indicator 4 or second indicator 7 and subfield 2 "local" when the term is in a local control vocabulary list. Please do not leave this field on WorldCat records as it will be deleted.


    The project to remove these headings from WorldCat records will commence in September 2022.

    Jay Weitz
    Senior Consulting Database Specialist
    Online Computer Library Center