Wednesday, January 19, 2011

RE: Linked data

Posting to RDA-L

Bernhard Eversberg wrote:
<snip>
This tells us something about LC, but about MARC?
LC might, in fact should and certainly could, add MARCXML to the options instead of providing merely ISO there. They might add EndNote and BibTeX as well, and more.
</snip>
I hate to keep repeating myself, but I feel it is important that I make sure my point is clear, whether or not others believe I am correct.

When I mention MARC, I am not talking about the codings and subfields, but the ISO2709 instantiation of it, which is useful *only* to librarians. This is because that for all practical purposes, only librarians have the tools to deal with ISO2709 records. Excellent as it is (I use it every single day!) nobody but a librarian will use MarcEdit, and we shouldn't expect them to. This is why I say that so long as we rely for transfer of library records using the ISO2709 protocol, we remain marooned on "Library Island" because nobody else can use them.

By making our records available in MARCXML, we make library records available to everyone in the world, in a format that allows people to do with them as they wish. If we make BibTex and EndNote available, while that's OK, this is only partial information. If you make the entire MARCXML available, people could create their own style sheets for MARCXML and create their own EndNote, BibTex or any other format(s) they want. Or, they could do much more.

The downside is: to work with MARCXML, developers need to know the MARC codings and subcodings. While this is quite I bit, I think that if people want it badly enough, they can deal with it. These developers are pretty clever folks and libraries should give them a chance, plus a bit of help since they would be helping us too.

As we see how this works out, we can begin to think how to change MARC in the best ways for the public and for ourselves.

No comments:

Post a Comment