Friday, November 18, 2011

The Bibliographic Transition

Have you taken a look at LC's  report on the future bibliographic format, -- that is to say the report on how LC intends to go about replacing the MARC format? (It was discussed earlier in Techscans here.)  It's not very long, and includes a useful history of MARC 21. The things that popped out at me include:
  • The 26 RDA test partners felt that, "were the limitations of the MARC standard lifted, the full capabilities of RDA would be more useful to the library community." This says to me that it's likely no ILS vendor will bother trying to do much with the RDA format until we've figured out what will replace MARC, and those wacky 3xx fields are going to be hanging around with us for a while. 
  • "Several of the test organizations were especially concerned that the MARC structure would hinder the separation of elements and ability to use URLs in a linked data environment."
  • As the creation of MARC enabled the vast sharing of catalog that records that goes on today, with the side benefit of lowering the cost of cataloging, so to will this new resource "broaden participation in the network of resources. Librarians will be able to do a much better job of linking their patrons to resources of all kinds (from the library and many other sources) and costs can be better contained."
  • There will be a need to continue to support MARC during the transition and for many years to come, given the millions of bibliographic records that currently exist in the MARC format.
  • Links to the Bibliographic Transition listserv, contact details and all other official information, announcements, and resources related to the Bibliographic Framework Initiative are available at:
  • Requirements for the new framework environment include:
    • Broad accomodation of content rules and data models, i.e. it should be "agnostic to cataloging rules," accepting RDA, AACR2 and its predecessors, DACS, VRA Core and CCO among others.
    • Provision for types of data that logically accompany or support bibliographic description such as holdings, authority, classification, technical, rights and archival metadata.
    • Accomodation of textual data, linked data with URIs instead of text and both
    • Catalogers may not see or understand all the metadata involved.
    • Consideration of the needs of all sizes and types of libraries
    • Continuation of maintenance of MARC until no longer necessary
    • Compatibility with MARC-based records
    • Software to move data from MARC to the new framework and back, if possible, for experimentation, testing, "and other activities related to the evolution of the environment."
  • "Embracing common exchange techniques (the Web and Linked Data) and broadly adopted data models (RDF) will move the current library-technological environment away from being a nich market unto itself to one more readily understandable by present and future data creators, data modelers, and software developers. It is anticipated that all of those considerations, taken together, will result in greater cost savings for libraries. For example, libraries will be able to take advantage of a broader selection of technological solutions and leverage the knowledge and skills of current and future professionals. these professionals are, or will be, deeply conversant with more contemporary data creation, data modeling, and software development practices. "
  • LC is developing an application for two-year grant funding to organize groups and support development and prototyping activities.
  • "We're excited about this transition and hope you are too."

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