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FAQ: LocatorPlus -- Limiting a Search by Language

Question: I am not finding items I know are in the catalog when I use the Limit command to limit by a particular language. Why?


The Limit command only searches for the language identified as the primary language of the item, as encoded in bytes 35-37 of the 008 field in MARC 21. To retrieve items in a specific language, use the Advanced Menu Search in NLM LocatorPlus. Enter the three-letter MARC 21 symbol for the language you want in the Search box then select Language from the drop down menu labeled As. When you search this way, you are accessing the language coding of the 041 field for language which NLM adds to every record. Adding the three-letter MARC 21 language symbol to your search strategy will retrieve most items in that language.

  • The only items you will not retrieve are those works containing text in more than six languages that were cataloged prior to 2004, since these are coded mul (for multiple languages), rather than for the specific language, both in the 008 (for the Limit command) and in the MARC 21 041 field for language index.
  • The three-letter MARC 21 language symbols are found in the MARC Code List for Languages at
  • For further information about searching in NLM LocatorPlus, see the tutorial available at

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