OCLC Research Works in Progress webinar recording provides a close look at archival records in MARC


MARC provides no straightforward way to extract all records for "archival materials," so OCLC Research scoped a filter to extract the subset of four million archival records from WorldCat. The filter itself suggests a rich discussion question: How does one define archival material in the context of the MARC format? For starters, it encompasses materials in every format represented by MARC catalog records.

In addition to compiling statistics on field occurrences, the data analysis address questions such as:

  • Is archival use of MARC accurate and fulfilling its potential?
  • How does archival description differ across types of material?
  • Are archival materials usually described as collections?
  • Does the archival control byte capture all archival descriptions?

This work will provide the foundation for a report that will be published early in 2016.

Program Officer Jackie Dooley presented an overview of this project in the webinar, "A Close Look at Archival Records in MARC," on 3 December 2015. View the webinar recording or see the webinar page for more information, including links for downloading the recording and slides.

This was the sixth webinar in our Works in Progress: an OCLC Research Occasional Webinar SeriesOCLC Research Library Partners are invited to participate in these webinars to talk about work happening in OCLC Research, as well as to tell us what they are working on that everyone should know about and what input would help them move forward. Recordings of these webinars are made publicly available afterward.

For more information:

Jackie Dooley
Program Officer
OCLC Research

Melissa Renspie
Senior Communications Officer
OCLC Research


For more information about this project, see Jackie Dooley's HangingTogether blog post, What do MARC descriptions of archival materials really look like?