Character position definition and scope:

The Directory consists of a series of fixed-length entries, with one entry for each variable field (control or data) present in a record.  Each Directory entry is 12 character positions in length and contains three portions:  the field tag, the field length, and the starting character position.  The Directory immediately follows the Leader at the beginning of the record and is located at character position 24.

The Field length and Starting character position portions of the Directory are defined by Leader/20-23 (Entry map) as being 4 and 5 characters in length, respectively.  Because a field tag is always 3 characters, the length of the Tag portion of the Directory is not specified in the Entry map.

More detailed information about the structure of the Directory entries is contained in MARC 21 Specifications for Record Structure, Character Sets, and Exchange Media.

The Directory is NOT repeatable.

Description of a Directory entry:

The Directory has no indicators or subfield codes.  The data elements are positionally defined.



See example


Data elements:





Field length


Starting character position

Order of entries:

Directory entries for variable control fields appear first, sequenced by tag in increasing numerical order.  Entries for variable data fields follow, arranged in ascending order according to the first character of the tag.  The stored sequence of the variable data fields in a record does not necessarily correspond to the order of the Directory entries.  Duplicate tags are distinguished only by the location of the respective fields within the record.  The Directory ends with a field terminator character (ASCII 1E hex).

MARC Authority, Bibliographic, Classification, Community Information, and Holdings format records all have identical Directory structures.

Example of a Directory:

Input conventions:

Each Directory entry is system generated.

Related MARC fields or documents:

Leader/20-23  Entry Map

MARC 21 Specifications for Record Structure, Character Sets, and Exchange Media

See also:

MARC 21 Format for Classification Data:  Contents