Contents notes: (MARC tag 505)

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Contents notes contain the titles of separate works or parts of an item. They may also include statements of responsibility and other information about the works or parts. Contents notes increase access to resources through keyword and/or indexed searches.

Type of contents notes

  • Basic (unenhanced): All information is coded in one subfield a. Searchable by keyword only
    • MARC Coding: 505 2nd indicator blank
  • Enhanced: Titles entered in individual subfield t. Searchable by keyword and title index.
    • MARC Coding: 505 2nd indicator 0


General guidelines

  • In most cases, retain existing contents notes in OCLC records. Enhance as appropriate according to the guidelines below
    • Exception: delete a contents note in a record for a fiction work if the contents note reflects only chapter titles rather than titles of essays, plays, poems, or short stories, etc.
  • If an OCLC record has an unenhanced contents note and the record contains added entries for each title in MARC tag 740, it may be left as is.
  • If an OCLC record has an unenhanced contents note but does not contain added 740s for each title, the contents note should be enhanced if appropriate according to the guidelines below.
  • Add contents notes to master record before exporting the record to Polaris
  • Omit generic terms such as Introduction, Conclusion, Prologue, Finale, Overture, and similar terms used as titles. If these terms have been omitted, the contents note should be coded as a partial contents note (first indicator 2). Retain initial articles in titles in subfield t. This includes initial article in English (a, an, the) as well as initial articles in other languages



Applies to:

  • Essays
  • Plays
  • Poems
  • Short stories

Use an enhanced contents note to record the titles and other appropriate information. See section below for guidance on sound recordings and music.



Applies to:

  • Essays
  • Plays
  • Poems
  • Short stories

For resources with more than 25 works an enhanced contents note may be added, but is not required.

If a complete enhanced contents note is not provided, a partial enhanced contents note can be added for the more significant works (i.e. longer and/or more widely known). A MARC tag 520 (summary note) should be added to give a more complete picture of the extent of the work; for example: 'A collection of 68 short stories chosen from those appearing in 'The New Yorker' from February, 1925 to September, 1940".



If a nonfiction work contains a contents note that gives chapter titles, the note may be retained in the record if the cataloger feels the contents note gives helpful information about the nature of the work or provides helpful keyword access. This is up to cataloger’s judgment and is not required. Do not enhance the contents note in this situation.

When an unenhanced table of contents note for chapter titles is retained in a record, add the phrase [Table of contents] at the beginning of the field.

Unenhanced table of contents note:

505 0 _ ‡a[Table of contents]. Workers in the United States -- Information technology jobs and standards -- IT fluency : what is it, and why do we need it? -- Campus human resource leadership : a mandate for change -- Recruiting, retaining, and reskilling campus IT professionals -- Technology across the curriculum : information, literacy, and IT fluency.


Items with a collective title

An unenhanced 505 should be constructed with the title and author of all the included works. A separate 700 should be made for each author and title.

245 0 2 ‡aA purrfect romance /‡cJennifer Blake, Robin Lee Hatcher, Susan Wiggs.
505 0 _ ‡aOut of the dark / Jennifer Blake -- A wish and a prayer / Robin Lee Hatcher -- Belling the cat / Susan Wiggs.

700 1 2 ‡aBlake, Jennifer,‡d1942-‡tOut of the dark.
700 1 2 ‡aHatcher, Robin Lee.‡tWish and a prayer.
700 1 2 ‡aWiggs, Susan.‡tBelling the cat.


Items without a collective title

If the collection lacks a collective title, and one work predominates, treat that title as the title proper and name the other work(s) in a variant title and an added title entry.

If the collection lacks a collective title, and no one work predominates, treat the item as a unit.

Works by a single author without a collective title:

100 1 _ ‡aHemingway, Ernest,‡d1899-1961.
245 1 4 ‡aThe old man and the sea ;‡bFor whom the bell tolls /‡cErnest Hemingway.
246 3 _ ‡aOld man and the sea ; For whom the bell tolls
740 0 2 ‡aFor whom the bell tolls.

Works by different authors without a collective title:

If the collection contains no more than three works, enter under the heading appropriate to the first and make analytical added entries for the second and third works.

100 1 _ ‡aConrad, Joseph,‡d1857-1924.
245 1 0 ‡aHeart of darkness /‡cJoseph Conrad. Ethan Frome / Edith Wharton. Emma / Jane Austen.
246 3 _ ‡aHeart of darkness ; Ethan Frome ; Emma
700 1 2 ‡aWharton, Edith,‡d1862-1937.‡tEthan Frome.
700 1 2 ‡aAusten, Jane,‡d1775-1817.‡tEmma.

If the collection contains four or more works that are entered under four or more different headings, enter the collection under the heading for the work named first. Add a partial enhanced 505 for the other titles. Do not include the first title in the 505.

100 1 _ ‡aAusten, Jane, ‡d1775-1817.
245 1 0 ‡aSense and sensibility /‡cby Jane Austen.
505 2 0 ‡tAge of innocence /‡rEdith Wharton -- ‡tFar from the madding crowd /‡rThomas Hardy -- ‡tVicar of Wakefield /‡rOliver Goldsmith.



If the collective biography includes 25 names or less, Include an unenhanced 505 for all names. If the collective biography includes more than 25 names, it is optional to include an unenhanced 505. If desired, a partial unenhanced 505 may be included with only those names considered significant.

Transcribe names from the table of contents. However, if the table of contents does not include the entire name of the person, the missing part(s) should be added in brackets.

Table of contents lists Queen Victoria just as Victoria. It should be listed as Victoria [Queen of Great Britain] in the 505.

Use judgment when adding explanatory information.



List all individual works on a sound recording and a music score. This does not apply to a music instruction book that include short pieces from various songs, but for scores that contain complete songs.

Classical music sound recordings

Make an enhanced 505 and the appropriate analytical entries (700 _ _ ‡a for composer, ‡t for title).

Pop, folk, ethnic, or jazz sound recordings and music scores

Make an enhanced contents note for these materials.

Include statement of responsibility if appropriate. Will often be the performer and not the composer. Enter a 700 for each performer.