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The problem that I have with Dr. Moen's study is that it leads us to
believe that catalogers actively make decisions about which tags to use (or
not to use) in MARC records.  Yes, I will concede that there is an
occasional bit of "cataloger's judgment" reflected in MARC records.
However, the existence or non-existence of a particular field in a record
is usually driven by the publication itself, not by the cataloger.  If a
book has a series, then there will be 490 and 830 fields in the record.  If
the program notes for a sound recording state the performers, then there
will be a 511 field.  If we look at the percentages, 511 fields are little
used, not because catalogers choose not to input them, but because sound
and video recordings represent only a small percent of total publications.
And then, even within those formats, not every recording includes a
statement about the performers.

-- 
Matthew Wise, Music Cataloger
Knowledge Access and Resource Management Services
Division of Libraries, New York University
20 Cooper Square, Room 313, New York, NY 10003-7112
Phone: 212.998.2485               [log in to unmask]


On Sat, Nov 5, 2011 at 4:24 PM, Karen Coyle <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

> Quoting Roy Tennant <[log in to unmask]>:
>
>  I believe you are missing the point. The evidence is clear -- the vast
>> majority of the some 3,000 data elements in MARC go unused except for a
>> small percentage of records in terms of the whole. What isn't there cannot
>> be indexed or presented in a catalog, no matter how hard you try. In other
>> words, which fields were coded is the only relevant information. It is the
>> ONLY relevant information when you are discussing how to move forward.
>>
>
> I disagree. (As does the OCLC report, BTW) To some extent the stats on
> MARC records reflect the many special interests that MARC tries to address.
> I have spent more time on the Moen statistics [1] than the OCLC ones,
> although since they were done on the same body of data I don't see how they
> could be very different.
>
> In the case of what Moen turned up, the most highly used fields were ones
> that systems require (001, 005, 008, 245, 260, 300) -- it's a bit hard to
> attribute that to cataloger choice. But for the remainder of the fields
> there is no way to know if the field is present in all of the records that
> it *should* be, or not.
>
> At least some of the low use fields are ones that serve a small-ish
> specialized community. Only 1.3% of the OCLC records have a Cartographic
> Mathematical Data (255), but according to the OCLC report that represents a
> large portion of the Maps records (p. 23 of OCLC report). It's harder to
> make this kind of analysis for fields that can be used across resource
> types. For example, 35-47% of the records (OCLC v. LC-only, respectively,
> from Moen's stats) have a Geographic Area code (043). Undoubtedly some
> records should not have that field, so is this field a reliable indicator
> that the resource has geographic relevance? We have no way of knowing. In
> addition, as MARC fields are constantly being added, some fields suffer
> from not having been available in the past. (Moen does a comparison of
> fields used over time [2], and the OCLC report also looks at this; see
> below.)
>
> Neither the Moen stats nor the OCLC report really tell us what we need to
> know. It's not their fault, however, because we have no way to know what
> the cataloger intended to represent, nor if the MARC record is complete in
> relation to the resource. My experience with some specialized libraries
> (mainly music and maps) was that these communities are diligent in their
> coding of very complex data. These, however, represent only small numbers
> in a general catalog.
>
> The OCLC report reaches this conclusion:
>
> "That leaves 86 tags that are little used, or not used at all, as listed
> in the ?MARC 21 fields little or not used? table (Table 2.14, p. 32). Of
> these infrequently occurring fields, 16 are fields that were introduced
> between 2001 and 2008. Three of these fields (highlighted in orange) have
> no occurrences in WorldCat since OCLC has no plans to implement them."
>
> This means that there are really 67 fields that seem to be underused. That
> is out of 185 tags (not 3000, which would be more like the number of
> subfields). That's about 1/3. Having sat in on many MARBI meetings,
> however, I am sure that there are communities that would be very upset if
> some of these fields were removed (e.g. musical incipits, GPO item number).
> Admittedly, some fields were introduced that then turned out not to be
> useful. If those can be identified, so much the better.
>
> Basically, there is no way to know a priori what fields *should* be in a
> MARC record other than the few that are required. Deciding which fields can
> be left behind is going to take more than a statistical analysis. I agree
> that we should not carry forward all MARC data just "because it is there."
> The analysis, though, is going to be fairly difficult. Even more difficult
> will be the analysis of the fixed fields. I could go on about those at
> length, but that analysis will be complicated by the fact that the fixed
> fields are frequently a duplicate of data already in the record, and we
> never should have expected catalogers to do the same input twice for the
> same information -- we should have had a way to accomplish indexing and
> display with a single input.
>
> kc
> [1] http://www.mcdu.unt.edu/?p=41
> [2] http://www.mcdu.unt.edu/?p=47
>
>
>> The one thing you said that I agree with wholeheartedly, is that we should
>> know what data is useful to users. Yes. That.
>> Roy
>>
>>
>> On 11/4/11 11/4/11  10:41 PM, "J. McRee Elrod" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>
>>  Roy Tennant <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>  "Implications of MARC Tag Usage on Library Metadata Practices"
>>>> http://www.oclc.org/research/**publications/library/2010/**2010-06.pdf<http://www.oclc.org/research/publications/library/2010/2010-06.pdf>
>>>>
>>>
>>> This study told us what fields were in records, not whether those
>>> fields were utilized in OPACs.  MARC has a wealth if information never
>>> put to practical use.   Which fields were coded is fairly useless
>>> information.
>>>
>>> A study of what fields OPACs actually use might be helpful, but that
>>> still does not tell us what fields might be helpful to patrons if they
>>> were utilized,'
>>>
>>>
>>>   __       __   J. McRee (Mac) Elrod ([log in to unmask])
>>>  {__  |   /     Special Libraries Cataloguing   HTTP://www.slc.bc.ca/
>>>  ___} |__ \_____________________________**_____________________________
>>>
>>>
>>
>
>
> --
> Karen Coyle
> [log in to unmask] http://kcoyle.net
> ph: 1-510-540-7596
> m: 1-510-435-8234
> skype: kcoylenet
>