Posting to RDA-L
Myers, John F. wrote:
This is what happens when we continue to coopt a communication standard developed to print cards for use as a vehicle to convey data in electronic interfaces. Nearly every quirk in MARC can be traced back to its foundation as a card printing mechanism (and the lack of programming sophistication when it was originally developed).
One thing I think needs to be kept in mind is the purpose of the ISBD punctuation, which is language-independent. Here is a record I took at random from the catalog of the Russian National Library. Even though not everybody reads Russian, any cataloger in the world can immediate understand what the various parts are because of the punctuation. (I switched my email format to HTML, so I hope it works for everybody)
I think this important function can be retained in a non-ISBD punctuation atmosphere—at least kind of. We can have different interfaces so that each person can decide upon the language he or she wants to view the catalog in, but even then, it seems as if there will be some kind of a limit on the number of languages offered, and the idea of above, where any cataloger can understand that record will not be possible.
Of course, we need to consider the possibility of various types of automatic translations a la Google Translate, and/or automatic transliteration as well.
Retaining the international comprehension would be very nice but maybe it can’t be done.