Subfield Z in Call Numbers

Modified on Fri, 18 Mar 2022 at 08:59 AM

WYLD Cataloging Technote - Subfield Z in Call Numbers


Valid use of subfield z 


Subfield z separates the base call number from the part of the call number that is unique to that particular item. Therefore subfield z (|z) in the call number should be used only for the analytical portion of the call number (volume, part, number, year, etc.). 


Examples:          031 ENCYCLOPEDIA|zV. 27          914.15 FODOR’S|z2010


It is the combination of subfield z in the call number and the classification scheme that enables the system to sort and display multi-part call numbers in consecutive numerical order. However, not all classification schemes will enable the system to sort correctly. The ASIS classification scheme does not sort correctly when used with the call number subfield z. 


If entering a set of volumes, such as an encyclopedia, the classification scheme must be the same for all volumes. If a single volume is entered with a classification scheme that differs from that used for all the other volumes, that single volume will likely not sort in consecutive order with the others. 


Spacing and punctuation must also be consistent within the subfield z in order to ensure correct consecutive sorting. See the Technote on Abbreviations for call numbers for further information on abbreviations, spacing, and punctuation. In WYLDCAT, these inconsistencies make the placing of hold requests more difficult since the volumes don't appear consecutively thus leading users to believe that specific volumes may not be owned.


Example of correct sorting of subfield z: 


Workflows call number display for World Book encyclopedia, 2010: 


WYLDCAT Place Hold display for World Book encyclopedia, 2010:


Note: If all libraries use the same abbreviations, spacing, and punctuation in the subfield z, the Place Hold request screen would have the desired display shown above.


Example of incorrect sorting of subfield z because of inconsistent spacing:


Workflows call number display for Compton’s by Britannica, 2006:



Invalid use of subfield z


Some item records in WYLD have information in the call number subfield z that is not appropriate for that subfield. Use the subfield z of the call number only for enumeration. 


Example of subfield z with inappropriate information:


Workflows call number display for Falling through the net:


Example of subfield z incorrectly used for series designation:


Subfield z is sometimes used incorrectly to designate series numbering in the call number on titles that are part of a series but do not have specific volumes or parts associated with the individual title. For example, Stephen King’s title The Dark Tower has a series entry indicating this title is volume 7 of the series with that same name. A library might include the volume 7 numbering as part of its call number even though this record is for only a single title. 



The use of subfield z as demonstrated above results in the WYLDCAT request window displayed below: 



This is not a correct use of the subfield z in the call number because this record itself does not contain multiple parts. If this subfield z is created on a call number after holds have been placed on the title, the system is unable to correctly process holds for this title. 


Example of subfield z used incorrectly to designate a copy number:


If subfield z of the call number is incorrectly used to designate a copy number instead of volume information, a copy level hold cannot be placed on other copies of that title because each copy has a separate call number record. See TechNote: Transfer Barcode from one call number to another call number on the same record for details on correcting this problem. 


Example of copy number entered in subfield z:


Workflows call number display for Complete book of pastry:


WYLDCAT Place Hold display for Complete book of pastry


In WYLDCAT, hold requests cannot be placed against specific volumes or parts of a title if the subfield z has been used incorrectly or hasn't been used at all when it should have been. If a library has used only one call number for all its volumes of an encyclopedia, all the volumes will appear as copies under that single call number. This makes it impossible for a patron to place a hold against a specific volume number of that encyclopedia set. 


Example of volumes entered as copies of a single call number:


Workflows call number display of World Book Encyclopedia, 2002:


WYLDCAT Place Hold display for World Book Encyclopedia, 2002:


In the example above, holds could not be placed on individual volumes in this multi-volume set on a single record for the libraries listed with the first check box because there is no volume associated with their call numbers. 


While clean-up of invalid subfield z information can be labor intensive in some instances, it is highly encouraged as doing so will greatly benefit both the WYLDCAT user and library staff alike.

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