Posting to Autocat
On Wed, 2 Jun 2010 05:37:29 -0400, Hal Cain wrote:
>Does anybody bother about ISO 2709? System vendors I’m aware of don’t — they simply address (more or less adequately) MARC 21. Wasn’t ISO 2709 basically written up on the basis of MARC formats as they were at the time of composition? Details like how many indicator positions are used (some types of MARC used 4, I saw it but have forgotten where) have to be implemented in the system software, and differences like this have a lot to do with why MARC 21 has displaced most other types.
I guess I am not making myself clear. Since the ISO2709 format is what we use every day to transfer records, we are stuck with those limitations, that is unless people are transferring using some other format, such as MARCXML, but when I get records from another library, it’s always using Z39.50 protocol to get ISO2709 records, which my catalog then reworks and places into a MySQL database, where the tables are probably different from the tables of other relational databases used in library catalogs. It is the standard method of transfer.
But because of ISO2709, records are limited in many ways, e.g. to 99,999 characters (the first 5 positions of the leader), and other problems related to the structure of the ISO2709 standard. Since one purpose of MARCXML is to be “round-trippable” we are still stuck with those same limitations. So for example, say that I wanted to take a record from another catalog used an API that dynamically includes information from elsewhere, e.g. Delicious tags or reviews from another source. It would be easy to do it with XML, but not when transferring using ISO2709. And of course, if I want to put a non-MARC ISO2709 record into my database, there will be a lot of work.
>And this is in the end the real argument for change: not that change is better, but that others will pas us by and forget about the value we have to offer. And the people (our top managers and boards) who determine our destinies have resounding in their ears the noise of those whose advantage is served by changing in the direction of systems and data formats that can be exploited by mainstream computer tools. “Better” or “worse” has little, if anything, to do with it.
I maintain that it’s both reasons. The new formats are more powerful in all sorts of ways and we need to use those powers. We shouldn’t think that a format created in the 1960s is still the state of the art.
People are changing in all kinds of ways. Look at the article in the Chronicle, The Humanities Go Google, May 28, 2010: http://chronicle.com/article/The-Humanities-Go-Google/65713/. They admit that they will need to keep track of everything, and I think our metadata will become extremely important in that kind of research, but it simply cannot be using what we use now.