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MARC Cataloguing formats worldwide


1965-66 The original MAchine Readable Cataloguing (MARC) format was developed at the Library of Congress. From the 1980s, the original format became known as US MARC. Later USMARC and CANMARC were 'harmonized' in 1997 and the resulting format was named MARC 21. Some libraries in countries outside the USA also use MARC 21.


1969 Developed primarily to facilitate production of the printed British National Bibliography (BNB) and thus closely reflected the cataloguing practice of the British Library in its interpretation of AACR2 and other standards. The British Library adopted MARC 21 as its cataloguing format in June 2004. There has been no development of UKMARC since its last update in November 2002. The British Library has undertaken to supply BNB records in UKMARC for up to three years, depending on demand.


1973 Australian format, very close to UKMARC. The Australian library community adopted USMARC in 1996.


1974 Canadian format based primarily on USMARC but with additions from UKMARC. Also expanded some areas to support its bilingual English/French policy. Harmonized with USMARC in 1997.


1975. Used in Denmark.


1976 Issued in provisional form originally, with another version released in 1981. Used in Spain.


1976 Based on UKMARC with a number of adaptations from the variant of UKMARC used by the library management system consortium BLCMP (now known as Talis). Developed for the National Library, which was initially reluctant to allow other organisations to use the format. Consequently, other formats were independently developed: UNIVMARC, MAHIDOLMARC, CUMARC and MOSTEMARC.


1977 Based closely on UKMARC. Used in Malaysia.


1977 An MARC record exchange format developed by IFLA. Originally known as SUPERMARC. Libraries in some countries have used UNIMARC as a MARC format for their catalogues and not just for exchange of records: for example, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain, and Yugoslavia.


1977 Based on UNIMARC. Used in South Africa until USMARC adopted in 1998.


1977 Developed and used in Italy.


1980. Used in Sweden. Some libraries have also used LibrisMARC and BurkMARC, which are very similar and primarily based on UKMARC.


198? Based on UKMARC. Used in Norway.


198? Based on UKMARC. Used in Finland.


1981 MARCAL (MARC Americana Latina) was virtually a translation of the Library of Congress MARC manual; it was not extensively used.

Japan / MARC

1981 Based on UNIMARC. Used in Japan, which did not use AACR and did use non-Roman character sets.

Chinese MARC

1982 Based on UNIMARC. Used in Taiwan, which did not use AACR and did use non-Roman character sets.


1985 Based very closely on UKMARC.


1987 Based on UKMARC. Used in the Catalonia region of Spain.


1987 IBICT (Intercambio Bibliografica e Catalografico) was developed from USMARC, the CALCO format and UNICODE. Used in Brazil.

Mexican MARC

1987 Based closely on USMARC.


1989 Based on USMARC. Originally was to have been based on SEAMARC (South East Asia MARC) but the SEAMARC project was terminated through lack of funds.


1997 Developed from USMARC, in the process of 'harmonization' with CANMARC. Further small changes made in 2003 when the British Library decided to adopt MARC 21.

Other cataloguing formats

MAB (Maschinelles Austauschformat für Bibliotheken)

1973 Developed and used in the Federal Republic of Germany. A main feature of this format is its facility for record-linking between records representing different bibliographic levels, for example analyticals in monographs or volumes in multi-volume monographs.


1977 Used in the COMECON countries. [COMECON was an economic organisation (1949 - 1991) that linked the USSR, Albania, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Poland, Romania, East Germany, Mongolia, Cuba, Vietnam and Yugoslavia.] MEKOF-2 came first and has been developed more. It uses the record standard ICSTI No. 2 NTP (ICSTI is the International Centre for Scientific and Technical Information in Moscow). MEKOF-1 is based on ICSTI No. 1 NTP, which is very close to ISO 2709.

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Content by: Ann Chapman of UKOLN.
Page last revised on: 03-Jun-2005
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