Item numbers provide a way for Federal depository libraries to select the documents they are to receive. Individual documents or groups of related documents of interest to the users of a particular depository library are selected by this means. Item numbers are recorded in the cataloging records for documents which are distributed to depository libraries, including online publications. Item numbers are not recorded in records for tangible versions if they are not distributed.
Item numbers appearing in the current standard form have four digits in the first set of numbers and two digits in the second set of numbers following the letter. In the past, this standard form was not used. Therefore, when editing a record, always change the format of the item number to match the current standard form. This might require inserting zeroes to fill in the necessary digits.
If a document is an online resource, the item number is followed by "online" in parentheses. Likewise, for a microfiche publication, the item number is followed by “MF” in parentheses.
In the past, MF was spelled out as “microfiche.” If updating the record, update the spelled out form to the correct current abbreviation (MF).
When the SuDoc class number assigned to a title changes due to agency reorganization the assigned item number also changes. When this occurs, each item number is recorded in a separate 074 ǂa field. The 074 fields are arranged so that the earliest item number assigned is recorded in the first 074 field. The 074 field closest to the 245 field is the current item number.
If a part is distributed a second or third time in the same format but under different item numbers, separate 074 fields are added to the catalog record for each item number. The item numbers are arranged in the record in part number order. The part number is recorded in parentheses following the item number. If a part also has both a different item number and a different class the 074 fields and class number fields are arranged in such a way as to indicate which item number pertains to which class. The first item number listed should match the first class listed. The second item number should match the second class listed, etc.
Item Number Corrections
The subfield "z" is used when an item number is incorrectly recorded in the cataloging record. The correct item number is recorded in subfield “a” and the incorrect item number is recorded in subfield “z.” This subfield is used to record both transcription errors and distribution errors. Transcription errors include typos made by the cataloger when the item was first cataloged. Distribution errors occur when an item is distributed under an incorrectly assigned item number.
Depository item numbers appearing in the MARC 074 field in bibliographic records for tangible publications reflect the item number assigned to the publication on the Depository Shipping List. If at any time after distribution of the documents has occurred, an error in the item number is identified, a subfield “z” will be added to the bibliographic record for the incorrect item number and the correct item number will be added to the subfield “a” field.
The same scenario applies for bibliographic records created for electronic publications, only no physical distribution has occurred. If an incorrect depository item number is assigned for an electronic publication, and at a later date an error is identified, the cataloger should add a subfield “z” to the 074 to reflect the incorrect item number. This practice is required because even though a physical document was not distributed, the bibliographic record was distributed through various services.
In both cases, we want to ensure that accurate information is recorded in the CGP and also made available to customers who use GPO’s bibliographic record distribution services such as GPO Sales subscription, the Cataloging Record Distribution Program, Z 39.50 access and direct download from the CGP.
In the past, if a document was actually distributed under an incorrectly assigned item number, GPO did NOT move the incorrectly assigned item number to a 074 subfield “z.” However, the current policy states ALL incorrect item numbers are recorded in the 074 subfield “z,” whether the error was in the transcription of the item number or a shipping list error.
Federal depository libraries should take note, when an item number appears in a subfield “z” it may not indicate the item number itself is invalid, but that the item number as it applies to this particular resource is incorrect. No changes are being made to library profiles or item selections based on this subfield.
A Web Tech Notes entry will be created for errors in item numbers for tangible publications, but a Web Tech Notes entry will not be created for errors in item numbers in electronic records.