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Terminology… L

Language Code

A language code is a code that assigns letters or numbers as identifiers for languages. These codes are often used to organize library collections, to choose the correct localizations and translations in computing, and as a shorthand designation for forms. (wp)

LC Children’s Authority File

Children’s subject headings are a separate file within the LC subject file. They are designated by a second indicator of 1 in the 650 tag. (ac) The adult representation found under Library of Congress Subject headings uses a $Juvenile qualifier. The LC Children’s authority file contains just over 950 authority records. (mpg)


Library of Congress Control Number found in the 010 tag. The Library of Congress Control Number or LCCN is a serially based system of numbering cataloging records in the Library of Congress in the United States. It has nothing to do with the contents of any book, and should not be confused with Library of Congress Classification. The LCCN numbering system has been in use since 1898, at which time the acronym LCCN originally stood for Library of Congress Card Number. In its most elementary form the number includes a year and a serial number. The year has two digits for 1898 to 2000, and four digits beginning in 2001. The three ambiguous years are distinguished by the size of the serial number. There are also some peculiarities in numbers beginning with a "7" because of an unsuccessful experiment applied between 1969 and 1972. Serial numbers are six digits long and should include leading zeros. The hyphen that is often seen separating the year and serial number is optional. More recently, the Library of Congress has instructed publishers not to include a hyphen. (wp)


The Library of Congress Name Headings (LCNH) comprise a thesaurus of name headings, maintained by the United States Library of Congress for use in bibliographic records. The name heading categories include; personal names, corporate names, meetings and jurisdiction headings. (ac)


The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) comprise a thesaurus (in the information technology sense) of subject headings, maintained by the United States Library of Congress, for use in bibliographic records. LCSHs are applied to every item within a library’s collection, and facilitate a user’s access to items in the catalogue that pertain to similar subject matter. Subject heading classification is a human and intellectual endeavor, where trained professionals apply topic descriptions to items in their collections. Naturally, every library may choose to categorize the subject matter of their items differently, without a uniform agreed upon standard. The widespread use and acceptance of the Library of Congress Subject Headings facilitates the uniform access and retrieval of items in any library in the world using the same search strategy and LCSH thesaurus, if the correct headings have been applied to the item by the library. Thusly, LCSH decisions involve a great amount of debate and even controversy in the library community. (wp)


Abbreviation for the MARC leader. See Leader


Data elements that primarily provide information for the processing of the record. The data elements contain numbers or coded values and are identified by relative character position. The Leader is fixed in length at 24 character positions and is the first field of a MARC record. (m21)

Leading Article

see initial article

Library of Congress Authority File

The LC Authority Files contain over 7 million authority records. About 8,000 new and updated authority records are added each week and are received in LC weekly updates. (ac)

Linked Field

Fields that are different scripts in the MARC record are linked by a subfield 6 ($6). Subfield $6 may contain the tag number of an associated field, an occurrence number, a code that identifies the first script encountered in a left-to-right scan of the field, and an indication that the orientation for a display of the field data is right-to-left. A regular (non-880) field may be linked to one or more 880 fields that all contain different script representations of the same data. Subfield $6 is structured as follows: $6[linking tag]-[occurrence number]/[script identification code]/[field orientation code] Subfield $6 is always the first subfield in the field. The following is an example of two linked tags within a bibliographic record. (m21)

  • 110 2#$6880-15$a[Primary Name]
  • 880 2#$6110-15/)S$a[Primary Name]

Local MARC Authority Records

When a library has local authority records with local rules governing their relationship to the bibliographic record the authority record is called a, "Local MARC Authority Record". The MARS 2.0 authority software can recognize your library’s local authority file and govern its matching criteria according to what your library needs. The library has the option to match authorized headings against the Local Authority File either before or after the heading is matched against the National file. (mpg)

Local Authority Field Merge

Local fields inserted by the library into a national authority record to make the record unique to the library. The $5 is used to designate this field as a local tag. The library uses a data string, typically their institution code, to designate this field as a local field. MARS 2.0 programs will look for subfield $5 within each field in the authority record provided by the library. If it finds subfield $5 MARS 2.0 programs will retain that particular field and insert it into the matched national authority record to make the record unique to the library. (mpg)

Local Authorized Bibliographic Headings

A subject heading found in the bibliographic record that is not governed by a national authority record. This heading is found in the 6XX file and is designated local by the second indicator being set to 4 (source not specified). The 69X field is also set aside for local authority headings. The MARS 2.0 process can match these subject headings with national authority files. (mpg)