OCLC Encoding level changes

OCLC recently announced some changes due to an effort on their part to bring their coding in line with MARC21. There are two codes that are unique to OCLC and they are moving to eliminate them in favor of MARC21 coding.

OCLC is dropping record encoding levels I (eye) and K soon, in favor of the more universally applicable number codes (Blank code and 7). All member libraries can now start using Blank encoding level for full records, and encoding level 7 for minimal records.

Vanderbilt best practice: start using the new OCLC codes in our own OCLC cataloging.

In the past, we have only used a Blank encoding level when making a record that we coded as “pcc” in the 042 field. Otherwise we used level I.

Now, whenever we used level I (eye) previously, we will use Blank instead. But that doesn’t mean you should code all records as “pcc” in the 042. (Hardly anyone is making PCC records anyway, but if you do, you still need to take special care and fulfill all the requirements for PCC records before you put the code in 042.) Just use Blank where you used to use I. There are no other changes. If a record was legitimately an encoding level I record, it is legitimately an encoding level Blank record now. (Have all our I records really met I standards? I’m sure many haven’t. The world is very complicated.)

Sometimes when we make records that are not really complete or that we are just not sure about, we have coded them as “K.” We will no longer use this. Instead, generally you should use 7.

You might look at the encoding level criteria (linked above) to get more familiar with what is expected of an encoding level 7 record. Do note that access points in a 7 record should be checked against an authority file and reflect established forms when those forms are available. Note that there are several other numeric codes, but we don’t think you are likely to need any of them.

If you are editing an OCLC record in Connexion, you may change encoding level I to Blank or K to 7, as appropriate, but you do not have to do this. If you work on a K record and improve it to full level, do change the code from K to Blank.