Tuesday, January 18, 2011

RE: [RDA-L] Linked data

Posting to RDA-L

Bernhard Eversberg wrote:
So, please forget about ISO2709. For all the flaws that MARC is ridden with, and I can give you a long list, this is not among them. It has nothing to do with the *content* of MARC records, and about nothing else do we need to worry, and we can easily give that content to anyone without any trace of ISO.
I wish I could forget it, but it's in our faces and we have to deal with it every single day for every single record. This is my entire point. Today, right now, if *anybody* wants to work with library records from any library catalog, e.g. LC's catalog, their *only choice* is ISO2709, except for the non-delimited formats of "Text-Brief" and "Text-Full". OCLC allows citation-type exports, e.g. see "Cite/Export" on any record in Worldcat http://www.worldcat.org/title/metadata/oclc/225088362&referer=brief_results

At least through the Worldcat API, OCLC supplies citations using partial XML (not MARCXML) using the RSS protocol. Using that XML, I am now able to take that information, reformat it *on the fly*, and automatically display it as I want to in my catalog. My patrons really appreciate that. If my only option were to get the ISO2709 record, I would have to devise some system that would download it, parse it, then create the XML before I could begin to do anything at all.

If I received an entire MARCXML record instead of the abbreviated RSS one for citations, I could do even more than I do now using the tools that can work with XML on the fly. I could apply my own style sheet to display what I want how I want, and more importantly, operate as I want, once again, *on the fly* with the browser doing all the work, just as it does now with the citations from Worldcat. If I could get groups of records, well... now that would be interesting.

Since this cannot happen with an ISO2709 record, the result is that the only people in the entire world who can work with library records are other *librarians* because they are the only ones with the special tools such as MarcEdit. As a result, we cannot share our records with *anybody* except other libraries today.

If all we care about is sharing with other libraries for placing records in their catalogs, I agree that there is no problem since it has worked for a long time and everybody has special tools, but our "world views" absolutely must change from this. Since the web browsers can work on the fly with XML, we must use those tools. This means switching to XML. Easiest and quickest is MARCXML.

Today, so long as we stay with ISO2709 for record transfer, it leaves us marooned on "Library Island", completely separated from the rest of the information world. We must share outside our traditional boundaries, and it is 100% impossible to do that today.

Switching to MARCXML would make all of this 100% *possible* from the *technical standpoint*, but I admit, still 98% *impossible* because the general populace does not know what 300$b means.

Still, that is only 98% impossible instead of the 100% impossible we have today. That must be seen as some kind of advance in comparison with today. I agree: forget the ISO2709 format. Then let's get rid of it by stop using it for record transfer. And good riddance.

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