Re: [ACAT] “ISBD Punctuation Omitted”?

Posting to Autocat

On 07/05/2013 19:05, Marc Truitt wrote:

On 05/07/2013 01:35 PM, J. McRee Elrod wrote:

ISBD punctuation is displayed. Subfield codes are not. The punctuation assists in recognition if data,. e.g., where statement of responsibility begins in a script one does not read. MARC subfield codes help with manipulation of data.

Unless/until all ILS can insert punctuation based on subfield codes, we need both.

Mac, you are quite correct when you say that “MARC subfield codes help with manipulation of data.” At risk of putting words in Prof. Wiesenmueller’s mouth, this is precisely the point he and many others have made over time with reference to this issue. We should be separating data from presentation, so that we can then programmatically add ISBD markup, locale-specific language tags, or whatever to the data at the time of presentation.

Will all systems do this today or in the future? Of course not. But that’s not a reasonable justification for saying that “Unless/until all ILS can insert punctuation based on subfield codes, we need both.” To take such an absolutist position dooms us to never getting there, because some systems will never implement smarter displays. Are we to be hobbled by lowest common denominator systems forever?

The way I look at it: should ISBD be considered the lowest common denominator? There definitely are problems with MARC21 for displaying punctuation, and UNIMARC avoided all (or almost all) of that. For better or worse, it is a fact that our predecessors clearly decided that MARC21 should not equal ISBD as UNIMARC does. Therefore it depends on how important you think ISBD is today. If ISBD is considered of primary importance, Mac is absolutely correct, otherwise, punctuation remains an annoying hurdle that we need to get around somehow. It is important to keep in mind that ISBD provides a conceptual model too, only the tools it provides are with punctuation. It worked for a long time.

In the future of BIBFRAME, I don’t believe it is yet known how it will relate to ISBD. I would certainly be loathe to abandon ISBD after all that labor and international agreements. And as Mac says, if the systems can’t handle it, there seems little choice except to add it manually.

And let’s face it: the punctuation is by far the easiest part to making a record. If catalogers can’t even put in the ISBD punctuation, they are shot! How could we trust anything at all in any of their records?

Also, a word of warning to those who want to attack the BIBFRAME annotation (bf:annotation) document mentioned by Allen: clear your mind of any ideas you already have concerning the word “annotation”. You do not know what it means. There is also the W3C “open annotation” Forget that too. bf:annotation seems to have little to do with FRBR. I suggest to approach it with the proverbial “blank slate”.

How useful will it be in the real world? It’s anybody’s guess!