Core/ MAGIRT Cartographic Resources Cataloging Interest Group

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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.

OCLC Encoding Level Update

  • 1.  OCLC Encoding Level Update

    Posted Aug 10, 2022 12:36 PM

    OCLC continues work on moving toward the use of the standard numeric MARC 21 Encoding Levels in Leader/17 and away from the OCLC-defined alphabetic Encoding Levels.  In early 2021, OCLC began to convert the nearly 26 million WorldCat Encoding Level K records to the standard MARC values blank, 7, or 3, as appropriate according to algorithmic determinations of record fullness.  All of the approximately 25.6 million K-level records have now been converted and with the completion of this phase, OCLC plans to make value K invalid in WorldCat later in 2022.  Beginning in February 2022, OCLC began converting the roughly 40 million Encoding Level I records in the same manner and have completed about 15 million.


    Beginning in mid-2022, OCLC has begun to apply essentially the same conversions to the approximately 350 million Encoding Level M records.  At the same time, to preserve the historical metadata that identifies such records as having been batch loaded, OCLC has begun to add field 936 with the designation BATCHLOAD to these formerly M-level records.  The Bibliographic Formats and Standards (BFAS) pages for ELvl: Encoding Level and field 936 now reflect these changes.


    When entering original cataloging records into WorldCat, all OCLC participants are encouraged to create records using the appropriate MARC 21 Encoding Levels:  value blank for full level, value 7 for minimal level, or value 3 for abbreviated level.  Please follow the definitions, restrictions, and requirements outlined in BFAS Chapter 2.4, "Full, Minimal, and Abbreviated-Level Cataloging" and the page for Encoding Level.


    For further information on the rationale behind these changes, please see "Updates on OCLC Encoding Levels," the June 2020 Virtual AskQC Office Hours presentation slides, WebEx recordings, and Q&A, all available on the Previous AskQC Office Hours page.


    Please excuse any duplication of this message.





    Jay Weitz


    OCLC · Senior Consulting Database Specialist, Membership and Research

    6565 Kilgour Place, Dublin, Ohio USA 43017

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    Jay Weitz
    Senior Consulting Database Specialist
    Online Computer Library Center