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The fields are taken here in numerical order, but keep in mind that the HOLLIS OPAC displays them in a different order, chosen to make the most sense for displaying book records. We should order the notes as described in Suggested order of MARC variable fields. 

MANY of these fields have sections in the finding aid from which they are drawn. See the manuscript section’s processing manual for additional information on composing the text for these fields.

HOLLIS has various display constant headings, as follows:

HOLLIS OPAC display headingField number(s)Notes
SUMMARY:520indicator does not change display constant
REFERENCES:510using first indicator 3
NOTES:500,  530, 535, 544 
CITE AS:524 
PROVENANCE: 561displays from holdings, but is public in bib record in HOLLIS

displays from holdings, but is public in bib record in HOLLIS


In general, the headings are repeated for each new tag, but suppressed for the second and subsequent notes with the same tag.

NOTE: The fields 506, 541, and 561 are not entered into the bibliographic record, but are entered into the holdings record; 506 and 561 display publicly in the HOLLIS in the Bib.


In all these 5xx fields the text of the note goes in subfield $$a unless otherwise stated.  

[updated 03/12/2014] 

500   General note. Optional

[updated 03/12/2014] 

"This field contains a note that provides general information for which a specialized note field has not been defined."  Use this field ONLY if a specific numerical note field is not appropriate.

Punctuation: Ends in a period unless another mark of punctuation is present. 

Both indicators are undefined; each contains a blank. 

Subfield: use only $$a.


500  $$a Title from spine of volume. 

500  $$a Title determined by donor. 


If a curatorial file is created with significant material, a general note should be added to the finding aid and to the HOLLIS record to note this fact to the reader:


500  $$a  Translations and transcriptions of these letters and manuscripts were received with this collection. Material removed to the curatorial file. 


If a collection was physically altered during processing so that it is significant, mention this in this note [in the finding aid this information would be placed with <processinfo>or in a specific item’s notes]


500  $$a  Typescripts were formerly housed in three-ring notebooks. These items were disbound in repository and notebooks were discarded.


If a collection contains audiovisual and/or digital media (born-digital) materials indicate this with the following phrase below including the type of media found.


       500  $$a Includes audiovisual and/or digital media: audiocassettes, videocassettes, CD-Rs, floppy disks.

       500  $$a Includes audiovisual and/or digital media: zip disks and flash drives.


510   Citation/References note. Optional

[updated 11/08/2006] 

For archival materials, "this field contains notes that give citations or references to publications in which abstracts, citations, descriptions, or indexes of the described materials have appeared….field 510 is used when the indexing and /or review is external to the collection represented by the MARC record. Field 555 is used when an index is an integral part of the collection." 

Citations or references may be given in a brief form (i.e., using generally recognizable abbreviations, etc.) (MARC21 standard). Multiple >510s may be used. We do not use quotes on book titles. 

NOTE: Notice how we differentiate this from  >581 (below) which is text written "about" the materials. This field is considered "of" the materials, not about. DACS seems not to mention this field. 

Use first indicator 3 to display as ‘References’ in HOLLIS OPAC. 

Initial articles are omitted in the title and author/title citations.  Use The Chicago  Manual of Style for citation reference.

Field may be repeated for multiple citations. 

Punctuation: Does not end with a mark of punctuation, unless the field ends with an abbreviation, initial/letter, or other data that ends with a mark of punctuation. 


1st      3     Location in source not given display constant generated is References 

     4     Location in source given display constant generated is References

2nd     <blank>


$$a   Name of source. Contains name of source in which the reference or citation appears. 

$$c   Location within source. Contains specific location of the citation or reference within the source if it is known (e.g., page number, item number, etc.).  Note that the first indicator position contains value 4 (Location in source given) when subfield $$c is present.

$$3   Materials specified. Contains information that indicates the part of the described collection to which the field applies


510 3_ $$aFinlay, Nancy. Randolph Caldecott: A checklist of the Caroline Miller Parker Collection in the Houghton Library.  Cambridge:  Dept. of Printing and Graphic Arts, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, 1986


510 4_  $$a Habegger, Alfred, and Nellie Habegger.  "An annotated calendar of Samuel Bowles's letters to Austin and Susan Dickinson."  The Emily Dickinson Journal $$c11, no. 2  (2002) p. 102

520   Scope and content abstract note. (DACS 3.1) Required

[updated 03/12/2014]

 "Describes the scope and general contents of the collection."  Begin with the general and follow with the specific.  All subjects, genres, and added entries used later in the record should be reflected or explained in these notes (or in the >351 or >545 fields).  Keep it as brief as possible since the full finding aid, with additional explanatory notes, will be linked to this record and longer notes may be added there. 

 Especially mention materials that would not be expected to be found in this collection, or materials that should be but are not.  (i.e: in the Erik Erikson papers, there are no manuscripts for his most famous works on Gandhi and Luther, explain in this note that they were destroyed by Erikson). 

 Use a number of >520s if multiple paragraphs are necessary to reflect different content.  If the finding aid scope/content note is not too large, it can simply be cut and pasted here.  More information on how to write a good scope and content note will be available in the processing manual.

Punctuation: Ends with a period unless another mark of punctuation is present. 

Displays in HOLLIS OPAC as ‘SUMMARY’. 


1st : Display constant controller (except to suppress). Does not work in ALEPH/HOLLIS OPAC.

<blank>      generates display constant: SUMMARY. Use for first paragraph only

 8                 no display constant. Use this for all subsequent paragraphs. 

      2nd         <blank>


Subfields: Use $$a. Other subfields are possible, but we do not use them. 


Examples:  [see also Example of collection-level MARC record for more lengthy examples]

Lindsay-Wakefield family additonal papers:

520 __  $$aCorrespondence of Vachel Lindsay's family and friends, especially his wife Elizabeth Conner Lindsay.  Some letters relate to Eleanor Ruggles' work on her biography, The west going heart; a life of Vachel Lindsay. Correspondents include: Joy Lindsay Blair, Eleanor Ruggles, and Olive Lindsay Wakefield.

520 8_   $$aAlso includes clippings, drawings, and photographs.


Hester Lynch Piozzi manuscripts:

520 __ $$aThis collection consists primarily of Mrs. Piozzi’s literary manuscripts and diaries. Of particular significance are two diaries: the Children’s Book covering 1766-1778, and a diary of a 1774 trip to Wales with Samuel Johnson; and a quasi-diary covering 1809-1820 titled A New Common Place Book. The collection also includes two volumes of Piozzi’s manuscript poetry in English, French, and Italian, much of it addressed to her daughters; two drafts of her unpublished book Lyford Redivivus; and a large portion of the manuscript of Retrospection. Other items include a document concerning the Henry Thrale estate; and an etching of Samuel Johnson annotated by Piozzi.


John Cheever journals:

520 __ $$aThe journals span approximately 48 years and reflect Cheever's personal and professional life. While they note events of the day occasionally, they are primarily a record of his inner life and a sketchbook for development of his stories and novels.

520 __ $$aTopics include work on short stories, novels, and screenplays; Cheever's wife, Mary; their children, Benjamin, Susan, and Federico; Cheever's brother, Frederick; reading other writers' work, including Saul Bellow and John Updike; life in New York (N.Y.), Scarborough (N.Y.), and Ossining (N.Y.); worldwide travels; extended stays at Yaddo, an artist's colony in Saratoga Springs (N.Y.); sexual orientation; and treatments for alcoholism and cancer.

520 __ $$aMaterials include the three-ring binders in which the journals were kept and a small amount of loose material found inserted between the journal leaves. Inserted material includes a small amount of correspondence, journal fragments, fragments of stories and novels, and miscellaneous notes.


524   Preferred form of citation.  Required

 [updated 08/03/2015]  

"This field contains the format for the citation of the described materials that is preferred by the custodian." We use a prescribed format as listed in examples below.  Most often it is a repeat of the >245 field.  Add the dates from $$f but do not use both $$f and $$g and omit word “undated” unless that is the only date given.  Omit the shelving prefix (i.e., ‘f’, ‘pf’, ‘b’, etc.) in the call-number. Note the punctuation in the following example. First letter of words in the title (except articles and prepositions) should all be capitalized.           

Displays in HOLLIS OPAC as ‘Cite as:’. 

Punctuation: Ends with a period unless another mark of punctuation is present. 

NOTE:  As of 08/03/2015 we no longer use sub-locations in the >524. Houghton Library is used in all cases. 



      100 1_   $$a Smith, John, $$d 1876-1987. 

      245 10  $$a John Smith papers, $$f 1950-1987. 

      524 __  $$a John Smith Papers, 1950-1987 (MS Am 507). Houghton Library, Harvard University.


      524 __ $$a Robert D. and Marjorie Graff Collection of Sean O’Casey Materials, 1934-1945  (MS Eng 1384). Houghton Library, Harvard University.

      524 __ $$a American Playbills, 1865-1934 (MS Thr 138). Houghton Library, Harvard University.


530   Additional physical form available note. (DACS 6.2) Required as needed

 [updated 9/25/2006]

 "This field contains information concerning a different physical format in which the described collection is available….this field is used only for notes describing different physical formats." Use this field to call attention to microfilm editions, facsimiles, digital versions of the collection, or the like. But if the reader is required to consult the other form, rather than use the original collection, the appropriate note is >506 in the holdings record. We usually also add a note in the >530 (as follows) to make the information prominent and bring it into the Bib record (>506 is in the holdings in Aleph):

        530 __ Positive microfilm available in the Houghton Reading Room. 

Also, do not use this field just to record that a manuscript has been microfilmed at Houghton.  (If absolutely necessary, this information may be put into an $$x note in the >852 in the Holdings record so that it displays with the loc).

Displays in HOLLIS OPAC as ‘Notes:’ 

Punctuation: Ends with a period unless another mark of punctuation is present.



530 __   $$aMicrofilm edition available: [publication information] 

If only a portion of the collection is available in a surrogate, use this format with $$3 = Materials specified

 530 __    $$3Diaries $$aAvailable on microfilm in Houghton Reading Room.


NOTE:  We have used this field in the past to insert a link to digital material. This Is no longer correct according to Harvard Bib standards. Use "networked" resources holdings with an >856 field. 

Add this note when digital images are available in the finding aid and not from a hotlink in the MARC record:

                 530 ___  $$a Selected color digital images available; see finding aid. 


533   Reproduction note.         

[updated 9/25/2006]       

Aleph requires we use note >843 in holdings for this type of note. For further info see:  MARC 21 Format for Holdings Data.


535   Location of originals note. (DACS 6.1) Optional

[updated 03/12/2014] 

This is not a field that is often used at Houghton. Indicators are possible, but they do not change display constant in ALEPH. "This field contains the name and address of the repository with custody over the originals  of the described material when either is housed in a repository different from that of the material being described." 

Punctuation: Does not end with a mark of punctuation unless the field ends with an abbreviation, initial/letter, or other data that ends with a mark of punctuation.


$$3   Materials specified identifies the specific part of the collection, if any, to which the location applies.



535  __     $$3  Compositions series. $$aNeils Bohr Library, Center for the History of Physics, American Institute of Physics, 335 East 45th Street, New York, NY


540   Terms governing use and reproduction note. (DACS 4.4) 

[updated 2/1/2012]

 Put restrictions for use and reproduction in >845 in holdings. 


541   Immediate source of acquisition note. (DACS 5.2) 

[updated 9/25/2006]

We use this note but it is placed in the holdings record in Aleph. See Section on Holdings for full information.


544   Location of associated materials note. (DACS 6.3) Optional

[updated 9/25/2006] 

"This field contains information about materials related to the described materials by provenance, specifically by having been, at a previous time, a part of the same collection or record group." Use mostly for materials that are not at Houghton. Naming convention at Houghton for the first accession of papers is:  "John Smith papers." The next accession, if processed at a later time, would be named: "John Smith additional papers." Since this happens so frequently here, we have decided not to make a 544 note about such additional accretions of papers in MARC records, but it will be mentioned in the finding aid. 

Subfields are possible, but at present we enter all information in a single string under subfield $$a.

Displays in HOLLIS OPAC as "Notes." 

Create a 544 note in the bib record when separating out born-digital materials. Click here for more details.


544 __  $$aPrinted music transferred to the Edna Kuhn Loeb Music Library.

544 __  $$aPrinted books transferred to Special Collections, Connecticut College.

        544 __  $$aFor related materials see:  Lindsay Family Papers, Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College.

        544 __  $$n Born-digital material has been separated: Am1733BD


545   Biographical or historical note. (DACS 2.7) Mandatory, if possible [HIGHLY RECOMMENDED]

[updated 03/12/2014]

"This field contains biographical information about an individual or historical information about an institution or event used as the main entry for the collection being cataloged." Use this note to establish context by relating the creator of the collection to the described materials. If the authorized form of the >100 main entry has an open death date, but the date of death is known, include it here. If the birth and death dates are not included at all in the main entry, add them here. Be brief! If the collection is for an organization, include earlier, variant, or successor names. The more famous the person or institution, the less information is needed. Extensive biographical notes can be included in the finding aid if necessary. Primarily record information here that is actually reflected in the papers. Always mention if the main entry was a Harvard graduate or professor. 

Displays in HOLLIS OPAC as ‘History Notes:’. 

Punctuation: Ends with a period unless another mark of punctuation is present. 

Subfields are possible, but at present we enter all information in a single string under subfield $$a.   

We do not use indicators (these do not set display constant in HOLLIS OPAC.)



545 __    $$aSarah Jones (1800-1870) was a Boston housewife who traveled with her family to Kansas during the westward expansion movement of the mid-19th century in the United States. She kept extensive diaries of her pioneer experiences.


545 __      $$aYourcenar (1903-1987) was a French author.


The following note is a good example of a very famous person, who would normally require a very brief note, but "context" was noted in the >545 to show how the materials relate to her life:

545  __   $$aEmily Dickinson, poet of Amherst, Massachusetts, received formal training in botany and horticulture while a student at Amherst Academy from age 9 to 16. Her devotion to the science of and appreciation for plants came naturally, however. She joined her mother in gardening from an early age and took charge of a family conservatory in her teens. Her herbarium, produced during her years at Amherst Academy, was a treasure to her, meriting mention in letters to friends.


The following is an example of a short Administrative history of a company:

545 __ $$a Phone-A-Poem was a Cambridge, Massachusetts based poetry phone hotline (1976-2001). The company was founded by Peter Payack, and later edited by Zoland Poetry's Roland Pease. Phone-A-Poem invited poets, including Allen Ginsberg, Jane Kenyon and James Tate, to create answering-machine length tape recordings of individual poems which the public could access by dialing the hotline.


546   Language note. (DACS 4.5) Mandatory 

[updated 06/12/2014]

"This field contains a textual note giving the language(s) of the described materials.  The field is also used to describe the alphabets, script, or other symbol systems appearing in the collection. Coded information on the language(s) is recorded in the 008/35-37 and field 041."

Displays in HOLLIS OPAC as ‘Notes:’. 

Punctuation: Ends with a period unless another mark of punctuation is present. 

Always use this note even when materials are only in English.  Make note on the other language(s) found in the collection as well. Make sure this field is consistent with field >041 (if you have used it) and the >008 bytes (35-37).  

Indicators both <blank>


546 __ $$aMaterials in English. 

546 __ $$aMaterials predominantly in English.  Also includes materials in Swedish and Latin. 

546 __ $aMaterials predominantly in English. Patrick Putnam field notebooks in Zuni. 

546 __ $aNo linguistic content.  [Use this statement when there is no text in material at all; also add “zxx” in (35-37) of 008 fixed field]


555   Cumulative index/finding aids note. Mandatory

[updated 11/21/2006] 

"This field contains information identifying the availability of cumulative indexes and/or finding aids whose only or major focus is the collection described."


FIRST USE OF 555: The first >555 provides an electronic link to the finding aid in Hollis for Archival Discovery.


1st       0     finding aids display constant

    8     no display constant generated

                   #     indexes

2nd  <blank>



555 0_ $$aElectronic finding aid available $$u

NOTE: do not put a period at the end of a URL or it will not work as a link!


SECOND USE OF 555: Use sparingly and only if appropriate:

555 8_ Additional information concerning this collection is available in the curatorial file. Consult reading room staff for access. 

Historical note: During the Houghton Finding Aid RECON Project (when the bulk of Houghton paper-based finding aids were converted to electronic format) a second field of >555 was routinely added to MARC records after the insertion of the first >555 with the link to the electronic finding aid. We no longer create this second >555 note  but many still appear in the HOLLIS OPAC database as shown below:


555 0_ $$aElectronic finding aid available $$u

555 8_ $$aUnpublished printed finding aid available in the Houghton Accessions Records, 1950-1951, under *50M-84.                           


561   Provenance note.  (DACS 5.1)    

[updated 9/25/2006] 

This note is entered in the Holdings record in ALEPH. See Fields in the holdings record for further information.    


581   Publications about described materials note. (DACS 6.4) Optional

 [updated 11/08/2006]

"This field contains a note giving the citation or information about a publication that is based on the use,  study, or analysis of the materials described in the record." Also can be "used to record citations to published sources that contain photocopies or reproductions of materials from the collection." 

NOTE: Use this field sparingly as we cannot be responsible for maintaining a bibliography of secondary sources using our materials. Compare to >510 which is "of" the materials, not "about". 

Displays in HOLLIS OPAC as ‘Publications:’  

Use first indicator 8 to suppress display constant.

Use The Chicago Manual of Style to format citations.


1st      <blank>    generates the display constant ‘Publications’.

                   8              No display constant (in theory; but Aleph still generates ‘Publications’). Use this if you want to type ‘Published in’ or 'Described in' or the like in the body of the note.



581 __ $$aNewton, A. Edward.  Reflections on the character of Madame Thrale Piozzi. Daylesford, Penn.:  privately printed, 1921.

581 8_ $$aDescribed in: Richard B. Sewall, "Emily Dickinson's Herbarium and 'The Clue Divine'," Harvard Library Bulleitn 3:1, 1992. 



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