Fox, Michael wrote:
> Since this is supposed to be a code based on ISO 15511,
> the answer might begin with a check as to which is
> the conforming code and who is the authorized issuing
> agency in the US. I don't know the answer except that
> I do recall some international controversy regarding OCLC
> codes when the standard was in draft. Perhaps it
> might be that OCLC codes are not strictly
> "national" codes.
I did take a look at the 15511 standard but it didn't appear to
prescribe to that level of specificity, just says what the
characteristics of a valid identifier are. I've given some relevant
excerpts from ISO 15511 below. The examples provided (e.g. "Indiana
University, Music Library US-InU-Mu") use MARC codes but one can't infer
from this (or from the standard as a whole) that MARC is necessarily
preferable to OCLC. Either seems to fit the requirements. Do you
recall -- or can you point me to -- any details of the controversy you
mention? That might nudge us one way or the other.
ISO 15511 excerpts:
"This standard utilizes a flexible structure that can accommodate
existing identifiers and be used to create new identifiers..."
"The ISIL consists of a maximum of 12 characters, using digits
(arabic numerals 0 to 9), unmodified letters from the basic latin
alphabet and the special marks solidus (/), hyphen-minus (-) and colon
"An ISIL is made up by two components, a country
code and a library identifier separated by a hyphen-minus."
"The Library identifier is an alphanumeric element designed to
accommodate existing national systems of library identification or
newly-assigned identifiers for libraries or related organisations.
Already existing identifiers, when used in international contexts will
necessarily require the addition of the two uppercase letters of the
respective country code, followed by a hyphen-minus character."
"Each country is responsible for the assignment of identifiers for
libraries and organisations within its borders. At the national level,
the ISIL structure will be administered by appropriate national agencies
whose role is widely accepted in the library sector within the country."
Michele R. Combs
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Special Collections Research Center
Syracuse University Library
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Syracuse, NY 13244