In addition to focusing on goals, I would like suggest that we study what 40
years of machine-based bibliographic practice tells us. Oh wait, that's
already been done:

"Implications of MARC Tag Usage on Library Metadata Practices"

One essential fact this report uncovers is that "only 21 to 30 tags occur in
10% or more [WorldCat] records."

I would like to suggest that one potential implication of this finding is
that we should think about allowing our 40 years of actual practice to
identify the core set of elements that clearly are used in bibliographic
data, and sequester additional complexity in separate packages that although
they can travel with this core they can also be easily ignored by
applications that don't choose to address the added complexity.

In other words, one of our goals should be "simple requirements should be
simple to accomplish". Building mechanisms for various communities to build
out richer descriptions for particular kinds of resources is great, but it
should not happen at the expense of added complexity to a core description.

The monolithic nature of the MARC record has been, I submit, one of its
chief problems. When processing it you never know whether you will see a
couple dozen data elements or nearly 3,000, so you have to code for every

Think modular, with a manifest at the top so you know what you have in hand.
Roy Tennant
These are my own opinions and I do not speak for my employer.