MARC 500 General Note

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MARC field 500 in the bibliographic format contains general information that is not suitable for another more specific note field. This field is repeatable.

Commonly-used tags



Subfield delimiters
ǂa - Note text
ǂ3 - Materials specified
ǂ5 - Institution to which field applies

Policy and formulation

What kind of information should go in a general note in the master record?

  • Make all notes required by cataloging instructions
  • Prefer transcription when appropriate
  • Routinely make notes in the following circumstances
    • Note the nature, scope, or artistic form if not apparent from the title. (Do not rely on genre/form terms to convey this information.)
    • Note the language and script of the resource, or the fact that it's a translation or adaptation, if not apparent from the rest of the description. (Do not rely on the presence of a uniform title to convey this information.)
    • Transcribe and provide added title access to running titles, half-titles, cover titles, etc., that differ in the first five words from the title proper.
    • Indicate that a publication doesn't carry the author's name, whether or not there's an attributed or conjectured author. (Do not rely on access points to convey this information.)
    • When any part of a publication is printed in more than one color

What kind of information should go in a general note locally (i.e., in Hamnet, but not Worldcat)?

Information that explains why an item was added to the Folger collection, if not immediately clear, such as its relevance to early modern studies or its Shakespearean themes. (This kind of note is mostly used for films, which we may have acquired for a particular scene that is not immediately obvious to the cataloger. For instance, the 1946 Western My darling Clementine features a travelling theater troupe who stage a performance of Hamlet in Tombstone; it isn't relevant to the broader plot and therefore should not be included in the master record, but is of use to the Folger community.)

What kind of information should not go in a general note?

Information that only applies to the Folger copy, i.e. copy-specific information, should be added as a local note. See MARC 590 Local Note, 852 ǂz, and Standard terminology for Hamnet notes for further information.


500  ǂa Title page verso: notice from censor that volume has been approved for publication. 
500  ǂa "Seventy-five copies only, printed on Japanese vellum..."--Inscription in Folger copy signed by Richard Savage.
500  ǂa Folger copy lacks title page. Some title information comes from the half-title; other information is inferred based on the other Shakespearean plays published by this publisher.
500  ǂa Shakespeare content :  based on Shakespeare's Macbeth.

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