Brief Record Levels

Revised 6/14/2021.

Alma provides a system for automatically evaluating the briefness of bibliographic records. When a cataloger saves a bib record, Alma calculates the brief record level based on the contents of the record. When records are imported, Alma will compare the incoming record against the same brief level rules to ensure that a lower brief level record does not replace a higher level record.

CARLI has established a baseline set of brief levels based on the encoding level of records found across I-Share libraries in Voyager. These levels may be adjusted in the future.

Table of I-Share brief record levels in Alma
Brief Level Conditions Comments
01 Encoding Level is "u" or "z" Unknown or unidentified cataloging. Also includes any value not defined below.
02 Encoding Level is "5" Represents incomplete, partial, or preliminary cataloging.
03 Encoding Level is "3" Represents abbreviated-level cataloging (e.g., bibliographic data for acquisitions).
04 Encoding Level is "8" Represents prepublication cataloging data.
05 Encoding Level is "7" or "K" These levels represent minimal level cataloging.
06 not currently in use reserved for future expansion.
07 Encoding Level is "2", "4", or "M" These levels represent "less-than-full" cataloging.
08 not currently assigned reserved for future expansion.
09 not currently assigned reserved for future expansion.
10 Encoding Level is " " (blank), "1", "I", or "L" All represent "full" level cataloging.

OCLC has announced that alphabetic Encoding Level codes will be obsolete in the near future. However, the codes in existing records will probably be in I-Share catalogs for some time. 


Working with Brief Record Levels, Ex Libris Knowledge Center.

OCLC Bibliographic Formats & Standards: Encoding Level fixed field.

OCLC AskQC Slides on Updates to Encoding Levels, June 2020.