Thursday, October 10, 2002

MARC Character Set

After many years and several thwarted attempts at getting the American National Standard for Extended Latin (ANSI/NISO Z39.47) character set assigned an escape sequence for use according to ISO 2022 in MARC 21 records, the international Registration Authority has finally made an assignment which allows users to designate and invoke the ANSEL extended Latin set as a graphic character set. For those of you who understand the workings of character sets in MARC records, you will know that this is good news.

The hexadecimal value assigned to be used as the final character in an ISO 2022 escape sequences to designate and invoke ANSEL is:

hex 45 [represented graphically by the Latin letter capital E]

For many years the MARC 21 Specifications for Record Structure, Character Sets, and Exchange Media have indicated that the final character for escape sequences for ANSEL was not assigned. The first registration request forwarded by NISO to the Registration Authority was delayed by other American bodies who objected to the inclusion of mappings of ANSEL characters to ISO/IEC 10646 characters and the call to revise the registration process itself. The most recent submission of ANSEL for assignment of an escape sequence made its way through the registration process and the final byte of the escape sequence was registered on September 26, 2002.

The Network Development and MARC Standards Office would like to thank the people at NISO, RLG, and Everson Typography who helped get this assignment through the registration process. Although a small detail in the larger context of MARC character encodings, it was a void that we have long wanted to fill.

Information about this new escape sequence will be added to the online version of the MARC 21 Specifications as well as the next printed edition of that document.

From the MARC mail list.