Some occasionally cranky comments below:
On 4/27/11 12:50 PM, Buzz Haughton wrote:
> You say "MARC is on its way out", yet I see no evidence of that! I'm not
> arguing that MARC is the best way to structure library catalog records, but
> so far I can see no easy way to migrate the massive amount of MARC-based
> records in Connexion to another format. Roy Tennant and others seem to think
> everything should migrate to XML: fine! How do we do that?
Well, no, I'm sure you don't yet see evidence, but take my word for
it--discussions on just that question are in process at high levels, and
if you wait for big announcements, you will miss the boat, for your
students, at least. And, no, there are no easy ways to map (not
migrate, necessarily) the MARC data to something else (not 'XML' which
is a blank container for any kind of data).
> In my 37 years at UC Davis, I remember our experience with Remarc and the
> staggering amount of one-on-one correction effort required when we got those
> notorious "misfit" lists. How can we avoid such a catastrophe with a
> wholescale conversion from MARC to something else, on a scale of the OCLC
> Connexion database?
I'm not at all sure the conversion from MARC to whatever (let's say for
the sake of argument, RDA--the data format, not the rules) will be done
wholesale. The only 'wholesaler' left in this space is OCLC, and
they're not really anxious to talk about their plans, and they're
certainly not making their database available to those who might want to
try it. However, you might want to take a look at the eXtensible Catalog
work--they have been working on just such a tool--a Metadata Services
Toolkit--for some time now. They can convert some number of millions at
a time (real time this is).
I think the point here is that we've learned a few things in 37
years--I'm old enough to remember what it was like then, and did my
share (or more) of that kind of thing, but I think I can say with some
confidence that it will be done differently this time, with machines and
newer ideas about technology. You owe it to your students to help them
understand this, because they will be the ones who will be expected to
make these changes happen in particular libraries.
> In these days of shrinking support for libraries, and especially library
> technical services, I am tending toward the belief that, antiquated as it
> may be, MARC at least is the existing standard, and going to something
> different would require human intervention on a scale that no library could
I'm sorry to hear this, because I think it behooves all of us, as
teachers, to convey to our students the incredible opportunities that
are opening up for them, if they can prepare themselves appropriately.
Yes, they will have to know about the past, but frankly, if you can't
expose them to what their future might hold, and look beyond your own
experience, you're doing them a disservice.
> I've read *Metadata in Practice*, and like your observations very much, but
> I have my doubts about massive conversion from MARC to another computer
> language format.
Thanks for the compliment--I do appreciate it. And it's okay to have
doubts about any of this, but I'm really uncomfortable with the idea
that it's okay to sit unthinkingly on those doubts and not do any
exploration of what's happening outside the library world. We are on
the cusp of a really important revolution in our profession, and we're
depending on folks like you who are teaching the next generation of
librarians, to prepare them for what's ahead. I do understand how hard
it is to overcome these doubts and invest in the amount of new learning
we personally will have to do to prepare that generation, but I don't
see any real alternative.
I don't know whether you've read Karen Coyle's two issues of the ALA
TechSource reports, but they're a very good start on learning about this
stuff. Karen and I have been talking about doing some webinar training
(or f2f) of librarians on some of these issues, and as I'm writing this
I'm thinking we ought to consider starting with teachers. Any comments?
> Buzz Haughton
> 1861 Pebblewood Dr
> Sacramento CA 95833 USA
> (916) 468-9027
> [log in to unmask]