Re: Technology and catalogers (was XML…)

Posting to Autocat

On 07/07/2011 19:36, Todd Grooten wrote:

This makes me wonder – as someone who graduated library school in 2003, I feel that my skillset is becoming obsolete…I am a cataloger that only knows MARC.

Would you say that catalogers who only know MARC are going to end up like the floppy disk?

How does one remedy this?


This is a great question. In my opinion, the answer is: it’s tough to say. While it is important to understand XML and what you can do with it (in short: *anything you want* which is not that easy to really accept) it is not important to actually be able to work with the native XML format. This is similar to being a MARC cataloger, but never working with the native ISO2709 format of MARC21, which is a genuine nightmare and far more complex than native XML format.

I would emphasize that the intellectual task of cataloging should *not* be attached too closely with MARC format. When you say that you are a cataloger that only knows MARC, take out MARC, and you remain a cataloger, i.e. someone who can create standardized descriptions of resources, and organize them for others to be able to find. I can guarantee that not everyone can do that. For instance, untrained people cannot do valid subject analysis. I think the future (here is a prediction!) will emphasize this type of conceptual thinking and there will be less emphasis on format. Most problems with variant formats will be handled silently behind the scenes by systems.