Monday, November 7, 2011

Re: [RDA-L] Offlist reactions to the LC Bibliographic Framework statement

Posting to RDA-L 

On Mon, Nov 7, 2011 at 10:21 AM, Bernhard Eversberg wrote:
<snip>
Jim, my point is, in nuce:
"Yes, MARC is horrible, but ISO is not the reason".
You wrote:
With ISO2709, it is designed to transfer a complete catalog record from one catalog into another catalog.
Yes, but Web services on any MARC based catalog need not suffer from that, Web services can be constructed without paying any attention to the ISO structure. I said that much in my post. It is regrettable that up until now we still have not many useful web services as part of library OPACs. But the reason for this is certainly not ISO2709.
</snip>
Have you ever seen or heard of a web service based on ISO2709? What then will be the purpose of ISO2709 except one: to transfer a catalog record from one library catalog to another?

But this now appears to be the second aspect of MARC, which is what most of the discussion is about, not about ISO2709 itself, but the coding, e.g. 100b 300c and so on. In one sense, this is much less of a problem because we are talking about mere computer codes, and those codes can display however someone wants them to display.

So, when developers say that they don't like MARCXML, this is a lot of what they are talking about since they want and expect the coding to say "title" and "date of publication" and they don't want to look up what 245a or 300c means. (There are also the codes that must be dug out of the fixed fields such as the type of dates and dates in the 008, the language code, etc. but that is yet another matter)

Of course, we run into the problem of library jargon here, since 245a is not "title" but "title proper" and not only that, it includes the "alternative title" plus it includes individual titles when an item lacks a collective title. There may be some more nuances as well. Therefore, 245a implies separate access to a lot of other types of titles. Non-cataloger developers cannot be expected to know or understand any of this. So, if the format codes it <title>, that is misleading, while coding it as <titleProper>, developers will just think it's a weird name for a title.

This is complicated and at the moment I don't know how it can be solved. Perhaps our traditional library distinctions will disappear in the new environment, but I hope not.

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