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Which MARC tag and subfield do I use?

In Alexandria, it’s easy to catalog items whether you understand MARC tags and subfields or not. However, if you can’t find a spot for the information you want to add in a title record, you may need to switch to MARC View and add it that way. So… where can you go to find information about what each tag and subfield represents?

The Library of Congress (LOC) website has a special section devoted to MARC tags and fields, which shows what each tag and subfield represent and examples of how each is used.

To get to the Library of Congress MARC webpage:

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Bibliographic under the MARC Formats section or Bibliographic under the MARC LITE section.
  3. Use the Table of Contents to select a portion of MARC information you would like to learn about.
  4. Use links from the resulting page to view specific tag information.

You can also click Read About This Tag when looking at a specific tag in MARC View to go straight to the relevant LOC page.

MARC LITE is a subset of the full MARC 21 Bibliographic Format. It includes all essential data elements that are needed to create bibliographic descriptions of information items. Records using only those elements are valid MARC records and may be integrated with fuller records without alteration.