Cindy Wolff wrote:
> MARC is still in use and will be until it gets replaced, which it definitely
> will. People still need to be trained on it. Unless something replaces what
> we have overnight-- standards, input screens, and all, there will be a
Yes, certainly, as long as the language of input is MARC, then absolutely anyone who does inputting needs to be able to understand that language. My point is that we haven't created everyday-use tools that do the MARC translation in the background so people can do cataloging work without knowing MARC. My point is that we're requiring people to learn a language that they really shouldn't have to learn. Programmers should know it; managers should know it; but lower level cataloging assistants shouldn't have to know it.
> I think everyone who puts anything in the catalog should have to know
> how it
> works according to the task they are assigned.
Absolutely!! "According to the task they are assigned." But why should translating elements into MARC tags necessarily be one of those tasks?
> If everyone also implies
> publishers with ONIX data, and search engine programmers, they should
> have a better understanding of what we currently do.
Anyone working with data *in the context of the metadata structure* absolutely must understand that metadata structure. So if somebody is going to be writing programs to manipulate the metadata, it's imperative that they understand everything about that structure.
But what I'm getting at is that people creating instances of the metadata shouldn't need to know all that structure stuff. They need to understand the *elements* they are using, and what that will mean is the RDA elements--by whatever name the tool gives those elements that allow them to complete the task at hand. There should be no reason for us to require student assistants helping out in the Catalog Dept. to learn the MARC tags. It's madness that well over 4 decades after the creation of the MARC format we still haven't progressed in that area. In this current age we should have tools that take the data input and fit it into the metadata schema being used at the time.
Kevin M. Randall
Principal Serials Cataloger
Northwestern University Library
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