First indicator:

#, 0-5  [definition dependent on value in subfield $9]

Second indicator:

#, 0-4  [definition dependent on value in subfield $9]


a  First level of enumeration (NR)

b  Second level of enumeration (NR)

c  Third level of enumeration (NR)

d  Fourth level of enumeration (NR)

e  Fifth level of enumeration (NR)

f   Sixth level of enumeration (NR)

g  Alternative numbering scheme, first level of enumeration (NR)

h  Alternative numbering scheme, second level of enumeration (NR)

i   First level of chronology (NR)

j   Second level of chronology (NR)

k  Third level of chronology (NR)

l   Fourth level of chronology (NR)

m Alternative numbering scheme, chronology (NR)

n  Converted Gregorian year (NR)  [Fields 863-865]

o  Title of supplementary material (NR)  [Fields 854 and 864]

o  Title of index (NR)  [Fields 855 and 865]

u  Bibliographic units per next higher level (NR)  [Fields 853-855]

v  Numbering continuity (R)  [Fields 853-855]

w Frequency (NR)  [Fields 853-855]

w Break indicator (NR)  [Fields 863-865]

x  Calendar change (NR)  [Fields 853-855]

x  Calendar change (NR)  [Fields 863-865]

y  Regularity pattern (NR)  [Fields 853-855]

z  Public note (NR)  [Fields 863-865]

3  Materials specified (NR)  [Fields 853-855]

8  Field link and sequence number (R)

9  Tag of the MARC holdings field (NR)


Field 891 is an OCLC-defined field that houses publication pattern and associated holdings data in MARC fields 853-855 and 863-865.  Members of the CONSER Publication Patterns initiative input this data into CONSER records beginning June 1, 2000.

The MARC tags are included within subfield $9.  All other indicators and subfields are defined to correspond to the tag in subfield $9.  Field 891 is repeated for every MARC field embedded in $9.  Subfield $9 is always the first subfield input.

Subfield $8 is used to link pairs of 891 fields.  A number (e.g., 1) is assigned to the first 891 field (containing 85X data) and a subordinate number (e.g., 1.1) is assigned to the following 891 (containing 86X data).  When a new pattern is needed, new 891 fields are added with a new number in subfield $8.


891 00 $9 853 $8 1 $a v. $b no. $u 12 $v r $i (year) $j month $w m $x 01

891 30 $9 863 $8 1.1 $a 1 $b 1 $i 1987 $j 01

When there are multiple 891 pairs in a record, the pair with the highest number in $8 represents the current pattern.  Old patterns will be retained when there is room in the record.

Subfield $x is used in the 891/86X fields to include the note "provisional."  This note is given for pattern data that is machine-loaded or machine-generated.  The note alerts the user that the data in field 891/86X may be incomplete or inaccurate and requires further scrutiny.

For complete information on the CONSER Publication Pattern initiative and for further instructions on use of field 891, consult the CONSER website (


The data in 891 fields is output from OCLC and distributed by LC according to the MARC tag embedded in subfield $9.  In addition, field 852 is supplied by OCLC with the phrase "universal pattern data".

See also:

89X  LC Local Holdings

Variable Data Fields

Section E.  MARC 21 Format for Serials as Applied Within CONSER

CONSER Editing Guide:  Contents