Re: Browse and search BNB open data

Posting to RDA-L concerning Karen Coyle’s article at

Thanks for sharing the article. It is really fascinating, although depressing. It is obviously a huge, very difficult and tedious undertaking, and from your experience, it seems that it will require the work of many people over many years. When I think about the fixed fields, I remember when I was at Princeton and how I reworked the online MARC format from LC, which was very difficult to work with at that time. I started work with the variable fields, and it was a lot of work, but I did it. Then I started on the fixed fields, thinking that the hard part was over, but I remember how my arm hurt at the end (working with the mouse) while it did not hurt with the variable fields. I was shocked by how incredibly complex the fixed fields are. My own two cents: the fixed
fields are a lot of work for little payback. They can be cut way back.

Anyway, it’s too bad all of this wasn’t started long ago but you have to play the cards you are dealt!

My real concern is that we haven’t got years to do this and we need to create something that works now, saves money now, and can be demonstrated as soon as possible. The BNB mapping is interesting, even though so much is lost–still, it is a start, and I think it’s great.

I’ll continue to think about your work, which is definitely important, and what to do. I do have one point, which I am not sure is completely clear from your documents. In, you mention that 1923 in the 240, Odyssey. English. 1923, repeats the date of publication. This is correct but also incorrect(! I know that kind of statement is awful!) and therefore, is not really “repeated information”.

What the date in the 240 is supposed to represent, although it is highly inconsistent in practice, is to break a conflict with another uniform title (i.e. 1xx/240 combination). They do this mostly with a publication date (unfortunately), and I would prefer something more meaningful, e.g. the name of the translator, and if necessary, edition statement, or something more meaningful than a publication date. But the rule is that mostly, you use the publication date of the first manifestation of the “expression”. (I can’t find the rule for this right now, since I don’t have access to a lot) The only example I can find right now is King Kong:, where if you look at the related titles, you will see 1933, while the date of publication of this item is 1984. “King Kong (Motion picture : 1933)

It has to be qualified somehow and I guess this is better than King Kong (Motion picture : Fay Wray screaming)although this would have much more meaning to people.

My next podcast will deal with some of these distinctions in a funny way (I hope!). It should come out very soon, so watch for it!