It seems that some people have strong ideas of what they think is the one true way of using RDA elements and MARC fields.  There are good arguments on each side, but I think the expectation that MARC records will be turned into linked data is based more on faith than on evidence.  It’s more realistic that information in the MARC fields could be used to give the user identifying information similar to the way info boxes work in Wikipedia.  See, for example, .  In the box on the right, some of the metadata is linked to other articles, but some is not, e.g. Occupation.  It would be strange if it said “Writers, columnists, authors”, but Wikipedia has ways of distinguishing the displayed form from the link form that we don’t have in the MARC world.  The Wikipedia page with its singular forms is more user-friendly than his authority record as displayed at .  In addition, at the bottom of the Wikipedia page the person is assigned to various categories, such as “American columnists”.


I also doubt that library systems will take attributes from MARC fields and create access points automatically.  Before that happens, the need for unique strings as access points will become obsolete.


We have to allow for a variety of solutions in MARC records.



John Hostage

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Harvard Library--Information and Technical Services //

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