Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Anachronistic Assumptions About MARC

Interpreting MARC: Where’s the Bibliographic Data? by by Jason Thomale appears in the latest code4lib Journal
The MARC data format was created early in the history of digital computers. In this article, the author entertains the notion that viewing MARC from a modern technological perspective leads to interpretive problems such as a confusion of “bibliographic data” with “catalog records.” He explores this idea through examining a specific MARC interpretation task that he undertook early in his career and then revisited nearly four years later. Revising the code that performed the task confronted him with his own misconceptions about MARC that were rooted in his worldview about what he thought “structured data” should be and helped him to place MARC in a more appropriate context.
Lots of other good reading in the issue too.
I've just been reminded that there was a book covering this same topic written back in 1989. MARC for library use by Walt Crawford. Thomale does not reference the work. Crawford's book is an excellent read, well written. I need to get my copy autographed some day.

1 comment:

waltc said...

Actually, that's the second edition. The first edition appeared in 1984. Thanks for the mention.