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Monday, May 16, 2011


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Jeffrey Beall

Thanks for sharing this, Chris. The library linked data report comes out this month. If that takes off, it will likely replace MARC.

The best way to kill something is to create a better alternative. Library linked may be that alternative, but it's too early to tell.

When we switched from card catalogs to online catalogs, no one said "Card catalogs must die." There was no campaign to kill them. A better option came along, and we all adopted it.

That's how MARC will go away -- a better alternative will come along, and we will all adopt it.

One of the values of library linked data is open data. If adopted, library linked data will put organizations that make their money from MARC, like OCLC, out of business.

Then we will see people like R. Tennant (who draws his salary from OCLC) saying things like, "Keep MARC alive."


Any thoughts on what the latest from LC might bring?

Is this the beginning of the end for MARC?


Christine Schwartz

Jeffrey, Thanks for the comment. I just found the draft to the library linked data recommendations via Karen Coyle's blog: http://www.w3.org/2005/Incubator/lld/wiki/Draft_recommendations_page so I will take a close look at it.

I agree with you that a better alternative needs to come along for a shift to happen. With card catalogs to online catalogs, often libraries that could afford to make the change were the ones who switched first. So, it was a gradual process.

Christine Schwartz

arkham, long time no see :) I'm going to keep working on this at the newer post: http://www.catalogingfutures.com/catalogingfutures/2011/05/transitioning-from-the-marc-format-it-might-really-happen.html

I do think this could be the beginning of the end for MARC. If it was, I think it would be a great boon for catalogers, who, through no fault of their own, are hamstrung by an antiquated data structure.


I may not be posting a lot, but I still follow your blog regularly :)

Christine Schwartz

Thanks, arkham. So kind of you to keep reading! I hit a bit of a lull in April, but I'm trying to write more. Lots of good stuff on cataloging and metadata lately.


It is now May 2012 and how closer are we to making the change? It seemed as though MARC would be out of the picture in 2011 and that still hasn't happened. I know that the transition will have to be slow, but it might be worth it at the end.

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