Using the MARC 856 Field for Book Trailers

Book trailers are videos used to promote particular books and encourage patrons to read them. They are comparable to movie trailers as marketing tools.  Book trailers are often posted on dedicated video channels, such as YouTube or Vimeo, or on websites, blogs, or other social media.  At Mooresville Public Library, we place our book trailers on the MPL YouTube Channel, as well as links on our website and social media.

Here's an example of one of our book trailers:

MPL Book Trailer #322
A Man Called Ove, by Fredrik Backman

How do patrons discover our book trailers?  A simple Google search (or YouTube search) with the book's title and "book trailer" will retrieve them, along with hundreds of other videos.  Visitors to our website may see our specific web page devoted to videos, or may click links to our YouTube channel or other social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogs) that feature our videos.  But these are indirect methods of distributing this type of content.  Is there a more direct approach?

Ideally, it would be helpful if patrons searching for books in our OPACs (online public access catalogs) could find links to watch trailers for the particular books they have found in the catalog.  Thanks to the MARC 856 Field, it's as easy as a few keystrokes and a pasted link.

Technical services librarians know that MARC records contain invaluable information to assist patrons in learning more about a particular item cataloged.  The 856 Field allows links to online resources that duplicate or complement a particular resource. For a book trailer, the first indicator should be 4 [HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)], and the second indicator should be 2 [Related Resource].   The first subfield should be labeled ǂ3 [Materials Specified]--type book trailer after the subfield delimiter--with the next subfield labeled ǂu [Uniform Resource Identifier].  Then a hyperlink to the book trailer is pasted thereafter.  Here is an illustration from our online catalog, Evergreen Indiana, for the book featured in the book trailer shown above.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Here's how the hyperlink appears in our OPACs for this item.

Click to Enlarge

These 856 Field book trailer links may be inserted into MARC records for items in various formats (book, audiobook), as the videos are designed to briefly describe the material and capture the viewer's attention so that, hopefully, they'll checkout and read (or listen to) the books portrayed.

The 856 links may be clicked directly in the OPAC view, and the video will pop-up in a separate window and automatically play.  Of course, on OPAC terminals in libraries, there is usually no sound (or sound is muted), but patrons may be viewing a library catalog via the Internet using their own computer or mobile device, which would probably have sound enabled.  (All of our videos have soundtracks, either musical or voice-over, or both).

There is one important question:  Do patrons watch these book trailers?  Let's consider my library as an example.  Mooresville Public Library serves a township population of approximately 15,000.  Our YouTube videos have been viewed over a million times.  If you upload them, they will watch.

Of course, you must have video content to link in the MARCs.  You could make your own book trailers (my library has over 400 uploaded to YouTube), or you could link to book trailers created by publishers or other libraries.  It's more fun to make your own, however, and it better markets your library's brand.

Questions?  Please use our website's "contact us" online form.

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