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Desc  Descriptive Cataloging Form


ALL: Leader/18

Input Standards

ALL: Mandatory. One-character code. Default:  fill character 


All formats 

The form of descriptive cataloging; that is, whether the item has been cataloged according to the provisions of International Standard Bibliographic Description (ISBD).


blank character   Non-ISBD. Item has not been cataloged according to ISBD.
a  AACR2. Descriptive part of the record is formulated according to the description and punctuation provisions as incorporated into the Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, second edition and its manuals.
c  ISBD Punctuation Omitted. Descriptive portion of the record follows the punctuation conventions of ISBD, except ISBD punctuation is not present at the end of a subfield.
i  ISBD. Descriptive portion of the record contains the punctuation provisions of ISBD.
u  Unknown
  • Item has been cataloged according to Dublin Core.
  • Defined only for ELvl codes 3, 5 and M


The print program uses Desc to identify records cataloged according to the provisions of ISBD. For such records, the print program supplies a space-dash-space (--) between areas, as specified by ISBD and AACR2.

For records with Desc code a or i, the print program supplies the space-dash-space (--) before the following areas:

  • Edition Statement (field 250)
  • Musical Presentation Statement (field 254)
  • Cartographic Mathematical Data (field 255)
  • Computer File Characteristics (field 256)
  • Publication, Distribution, Etc. (Imprint) (field 260 or field 264)
  • Dates of Publication and/or Volume Designation (field 362, first indicator 0)
  • First series statement (4xx fields)

If any of the preceding fields ends in final punctuation (. ? !), the print program supplies space-dash-space (--). If the field does not end in final punctuation, the print program supplies period, space-dash-space (. -- ).

Print constants for notes (5xx and field 773) vary in style for AACR2 and pre-AACR2 records. The print program uses Desc to differentiate AACR2 and pre-AACR2 records to supply appropriate print constants.

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