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2.4: MARC 336, 337, and 338 Fields in RDA

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    As stated in the first chapter of this section, RDA is the determining factor in the data contained in MARC fields 336, 337, and 338.

    RDA was created, as was said in the last chapter, to replace AACR2. MARC21 was created to replace all previous iterations of MARC. They were not created for the same purpose, but many of their fields (through certainly not all) overlap. For our purposes in this chapter, we will only consider the overlapping data pertaining to the MARC fields in the chapter heading.

    In each field, the RDA term for the content, media, or carrier is in the $a subfield of the field. the MARC code, if needed, for the item is recorded in the $b subfield. The Leader symbol is recorded as part of the Leader of the entire record.

    Field 336

    This field pertains to the content of the item. In the MARC field, there are only three characters that can be put in the subfield. In the Leader, the first part of the MARC record, the content is defined by a single letter. RDA, on the other hand, can contain whole phrases, mostly two or three words, to describe the content in a resource. MARC allows for the integration of RDA data by allowing catalogers to put the RDA category of an item into a subfield.

    Below is a reproduction of a map created by the Library of Congress:[1]

    RDA content term – 336 $a MARC codes for
    RDA terms – 336 $b
    MARC Bibliographic Leader/06 code(s)
    cartographic dataset crd e or f
    cartographic image cri e or f
    cartographic moving image crm e or f
    cartographic tactile image crt e or f
    cartographic tactile three-dimensional form crn e or f
    cartographic three-dimensional form crf e or f
    computer dataset cod m
    computer program cop m
    notated movement ntv a or t
    notated music ntm c or d
    performed music prm j
    sounds snd i
    spoken word spw i
    still image sti k
    tactile image tci k
    tactile notated music tcm c or d
    tactile notated movement tcn a or t
    tactile text tct a or t
    tactile three-dimensional form tcf r
    text txt a or t
    three-dimensional form tdf r
    three-dimensional moving image tdm g
    two-dimensional moving image tdi g
    other xxx o or p
    unspecified zzz  

    Field 337

    This field contains metadata about the type of media, or the format, in which the information is presented to the user. This is not a record of the type of information container, or the item, but rather about the format (text, audio, spoken word, etc.). Again, RDA has more flexibility and descriptive restrictions than MARC.[2]

    RDA media terms -337 $a MARC codes for RDA terms – 337 $b MARC media codes – 007/00
    audio s s – sound recording
    computer c c – electronic resource
    microform h h – microform
    microscopic p  
    projected g g – projected graphic
    m – motion picture
    stereographic e  
    unmediated n t – text
    k – non-projected graphic
    video v v – videorecording
    other x z – unspecified
    unspecified z z – unspecified

    Field 338

    This field contains information about the format of the item that contains, or carries, the information. For this reason, Field 338 is referred to as the Carrier Field. RDA Carrier types are extremely specific. Each format of the information (text, audio, unmediated information, etc.) requires specific types of carriers. For example, you cannot put an audio music file on a flipchart or a book. Therefore, information or data is carried on items that will accurately and consistently impart that information to a user. The tables below have again been taken from the Library of Congress. [3]

    Unlike the other two 33X fields, 338 only allows two characters for an entry. Still, it incorporates the RDA data to allow humans to read the record.

    This table includes all carriers of information that is presented in an audio format.

    RDA carrier terms – 338 $a MARC codes for RDA terms – 338 $b MARC audio carrier codes – 007/01
    audio cartridge sg g – 007/01 (Sound recording)
    audio belt sb b – 007/01 (Sound recording)
    audio cylinder se e – 007/01 (Sound recording)
    audio disc sd d – 007/01 (Sound recording)
    sound track reel si i – 007/01 (Sound recording)
    audio roll sq q – 007/01 (Sound recording)
    audio wire reel sw w – 007/01 (Sound recording)
    audiocassette ss s – 007/01 (Sound recording)
    audiotape reel st t – 007/01 (Sound recording)
    other sz z – 007/01 (Sound recording)

    These carriers are all an iteration of a computer, whether it is a resource found online, a cartridge, or a compact or floppy disk.

    RDA carrier terms – 338 $a MARC codes for
    RDA terms – 338 $b
    MARC computer carrier codes – 007/01
    computer card ck k – 007/01 (Electronic resource)
    computer chip cartridge cb b – 007/01 (Electronic resource)
    computer disc cd d – 007/01 (Electronic resource)
    computer disc cartridge ce e – 007/01 (Electronic resource)
    computer tape cartridge ca a – 007/01 (Electronic resource)
    computer tape cassette cf f – 007/01 (Electronic resource)
    computer tape reel ch h – 007/01 (Electronic resource)
    online resource cr r – 007/01 (Electronic resource)
    other cz z – 007/01 (Electronic resource)

    You may notice that the carriers in the table below mostly have the prefix “micro-“. These carriers are formats that were recorded on a film so small that it could hold thousands of documents. Microfiche and microfilm are the most popular carriers of this category, but there are many others, as you can see below.

    RDA carrier terms – 338 $a MARC codes for
    RDA terms – 338 $b
    MARC microform carrier codes – 007/01
    aperture card ha a – 007/01 (Microform)
    microfiche he e – 007/01 (Microform)
    microfiche cassette hf f – 007/01 (Microform)
    microfilm cartridge hb b – 007/01 (Microform)
    microfilm cassette hc c – 007/01 (Microform)
    microfilm reel hd d – 007/01 (Microform)
    microfilm roll hj j – 007/01 (Microfilm)
    microfilm slip hh h – 007/01 (Microform)
    microopaque hg g – 007/01 (Microform)
    other hz z – 007/01 (Microform)

    A separate category exists for microscope slides and other visual material created in a scientific lab.

    RDA carrier terms – 338 $a MARC codes for RDA terms – 338 $b MARC microscopic carrier codes – Bibliographic 008/33
    microscope slide pp p – 008/33 (Visual Materials)
    other pz no code

    Yet another category contains only those data carriers that project their data onto another material for proper viewing.

    RDA carrier terms – 338 $a MARC codes for
    RDA terms – 338 $b
    MARC projected image carrier codes – 007/01
    film cartridge mc c – 007/01 (Motion picture)
    film cassette mf f – 007/01 (Motion picture)
    film reel mr r – 007/01 (Motion picture)
    film roll mo o – 007/01 (Motion picture)
    filmslip gd d – 007/01 (Projected graphic)
    filmstrip gf f – 007/01 (Projected graphic)
    filmstrip cartridge gc c – 007/01 (Projected graphic)
    overhead transparency gt t – 007/01 (Projected graphic)
    slide gs s – 007/01 (Projected graphic)
    other mz z – 007/01 (Motion picture) z – 007/01 (Projected graphic)

    What exactly is a stereograph? This is an image that was made in duplicate for special viewing in a stereoscope. An individual looks through the stereoscope at two nearly-identical images. The result is that both eyes combine the image and create a more crisp picture than if both eyes had only viewed one image. The resulting image is almost three-dimensional in quality.

    RDA carrier terms – 338 $a MARC codes for
    RDA terms – 338 $b
    MARC stereographic carrier codes – 007/01
    stereograph card eh h – 007/01 (Non-projected graphic)
    stereograph disc es s – 007/01 (Projected graphic)
    other ez no code

    A user who works with items in this category, unmediated carriers, needs no external tools to be able to access their data. These carriers, especially $avolume$bnc, are the most common item sought after in a library.

    RDA carrier terms – 338 $a MARC codes for
    RDA terms – 338 $b
    MARC unmediated carrier codes
    card no no code
    flipchart nn no code
    roll na no code
    sheet nb no code
    volume nc no code
    object nr r – Bibliographic Leader/06
    other nz no code

    While volumes and other unmediated carriers are the predominant resource sought after in a library, video carriers have become more sought after since the 1970s. Videocassettes (VHS or Betamax), video cartridges, and videodiscs (LaserDisc or DVD) are all examples of video carriers.

    RDA carrier terms – 338 $a MARC codes for
    RDA terms – 338 $b
    MARC video carrier codes – 007/01
    video cartridge vc c – 007/01 (Videorecording)
    videocassette vf f – 007/01 (Videorecording)
    videodisc vd d – 007/01 (Videorecording)
    videotape reel vr r – 007/01 (Videorecording)
    other vz z – 007/01 (Videorecording)

    Our final category of carriers has only one entry: unspecified. This is most frequently used in archives or other repositories who have no way of determining the type of item they are recording. Even by archival standards, this would be grounds for refusing to accession an item (if it is donated) or deaccessioning (if the item has previously been in the collection).

    RDA carrier terms – 338 $a MARC codes for
    RDA terms – 338 $b
    MARC unspecified carrier codes – 007/01
    unspecified zu u – 007/01 (Unspecified)

    Apply Your Knowledge

    Use your newfound knowledge and love for RDA and all its complications to examine the differences between carriers, content, and media.

    Query \(\PageIndex{1}\)

    1. Library of Congress (2011, April 5). "Term and code list for RDA content types." Retrieved on December 6, 2022, from
    2. Library of Congress (2011, April 5). "Term and code list for RDA media types." Retrieved on December 6, 2022, from
    3. Library of Congress (2019, July 11). "Term and code list for RDA carrier types." Retrieved on December 6, 2022, from

    2.4: MARC 336, 337, and 338 Fields in RDA is shared under a CC BY-NC 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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