Recording Conservation Information Public

The MARC 583 Field in Practice

Conservation documentation provides important information about a library’s collections, including condition assessments and treatment decisions. Paper files or local databases, however, can make this information unavailable to most library staff and create problems for searching and preservation. To avoid these problems, in 2016, Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) started using the MARC 583 field to record conservation documentation for items in the Special Collections Library. By placing this information in the catalog record, conservation information was publicly viewable, searchable, and protected by regular database backups. This article describes the process of implementing the MARC 583 field at Penn State for conservation documentation, including selecting standards, encoding the field, and outcomes from the project.

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