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Foreign Vendor and
Foreign Library Monographic Copy

040 and 938 fields | Non-English records from foreign libraries or foreign vendors

Cataloging copy from foreign vendors and libraries often contain non-English or a mixture of English and non-English fields.

The following are typical indicators of language of cataloging:

1. 040 subfield b (absence of this subfield is supposed to indicate English),

2. Physical description (300 field) terms,

3. Non-quoted notes,

4. Medium (245 subfield h).

The following do not indicate language of cataloging:

1. Transcribed fields,

2. Quotations, and

3. Subject headings.

Hybrid records are records with mixed language indications. The following guideline outlines our local policy regarding the creation of parallel records, and when we can revise or delete these headings and notes

040 and 938 fields

Foreign library records are identified by the 040 code with |b for the language of the cataloging agency. 

Foreign vendor records may or may not include the 040 |b.  They will have a 938 field (Vendor Specific Ordering Data) which is system supplied and does not display in ALEPH.

Some records have coding for both a foreign library and a foreign vendor. This occurs when a vendor's record matches an existing foreign library record in OCLC. In this case, treat the record as one from a foreign library.

There are dozens of foreign vendor and library symbols; hovering the cursor over the 040 |a will expand the code.  One can also search OCLC symbols at the Cataloging Partners List.

CAUTION: some national library records may not have an 040 with |b.  Note also that catalogers should not enter an 040 |b eng; however, if a member record has an 040 |b eng, catalogers should leave it as is.

Also, look only at descriptive elements.  For example, Canadian cataloging agencies create records in English, but may include subjects in French.  These records are considered English language records.

Non-English records from foreign libraries or foreign vendors
If the only matching record is cataloged in a language other than English, derive a NEW record from it in order to catalog it as an original.  Add a 936 field, with blank indicators.  The field will contain the OCLC number of the parallel record, preceded with "PR" in the |a.  If there is more than one parallel record identified, you may add all the OCLC numbers with spaces in between, but OCLC does not require more than one number to be entered.


936     PR 45825482

936     PR 45570484

These two records are real examples.  OCLC 45825482 is the Spanish parallel record, with a 936 field of PR 45570484.  OCLC 45570484 is the English parallel record, containing PR45825482 in its 936 field.

In its original policy, OCLC encouraged catalogers to upgrade vendor records.  However, the policy has been changed.  Non-English language vendor records should not be used as master records.

Please note: OCLC now requests libraries to report hybrid records, or records with mixed languages, (including records with no 040 subfield b but with notes or pagination in a foreign language), for them to correct the 040 subfield b, etc. when you create a parallel record and cite them in the 936.

Online reporting form

Indexed: Parallel Records

Cataloging Foreign Vendor and Foreign Library Monographic Copy
Foreign Library Monographic Copy
Foreign Vendor Monographic Copy
Vendor Monographic Copy


Prepared by: Betsy Simpson

Updated by: Nancy Poehlmann, April 6, 2009; Jimmie Lundgren, April 30, 2010.


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