The PCC is seeking broad input on our draft guidelines on the use of ISO 639-3 language codes in MARC records. The PCC ran a pilot to test using ISO 639-3 language codes in MARC records, but did not receive enough feedback to allow us to move forward confidently. We are therefore seeking volunteers from a wide variety of backgrounds to catalog 2-5 resources using our draft guidelines and provide feedback. Everyone is welcome to give the guidelines a try! We are primarily interested in identifying areas where guidance is insufficient or confusing and in getting suggestions for improvements or changes to the guidelines. We are also interested in hearing about both the positives and negatives of using ISO 639-3 in MARC. If you participated in the pilot and have not yet submitted your feedback, please feel free to do so at any time.
ISO 639-3 (https://iso639-3.sil.org/) is a comprehensive list of nearly 8,000 three-letter codes for individual languages. Using ISO 639-3 to encode language information in MARC bibliographic and authority records will allow catalogers to provide users with more accurate and granular language information.
In addition to providing better access to less common languages, use of ISO 639-3 may have a significant impact on cataloging of resources that include spoken or sung language, such as music and movies, and on cataloging resources in languages impacted by ISO 639-3's concept of macrolanguages, such as Chinese, Arabic and Serbo-Croatian. For example, ISO 639-3 includes a macrolanguage code for all varieties of Chinese, as well as specific codes for Mandarin, Cantonese, etc. ISO 639-3 also includes codes for more artificial and historical languages.
The draft guidelines are at https://www.loc.gov/aba/pcc/taskgroup/BABEL-test-MARC-guidelines.pdf and the feedback form is at https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSesuJQDOJYPS_YmdTP-CeJVF5eLB0YJ6WggyKKrplWLg9wR-A/viewform?usp=sf_link. We would appreciate receiving your thoughts by Friday, December 3, 2021.
Members of the BABEL task group will also host an overview session via Zoom on Tuesday, October 26 at 4 pm EDT/1 pm PDT at which we hope to provide a forum for questions and discussion. The Zoom link is https://uoregon.zoom.us/j/91001435714?pwd=ckhPNW44Sy9pTTFEWjkxY1VDYUFHZz09
chair of the PCC Task Group on Developing Guidelines for BIBFRAME and MARC Bibliographic Encoding for Languages
Metadata Management Librarian
University of Oregon
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