Weekly Reponse #2 – Kyle Olmon

What stands out most for me in Roy Tennant’s piece MARC Must Die was the concept of technical maginalization. I get that information science services and libraries have specific needs in cataloging records that conforms to the ISO 2709 standards presented in the Chowdhury reading. It seems natural that eventually third party vendors will cater to those needs and develop programs that would not likely ‘play nice’ with other vendor’s software in a logical attempt to dominate market share. I understand that the MARC21 format is meant to be as universal and compatible as possible so that institutions can exchange data, but it seems that the data exchange can only occur between a select number of stakeholders.

As museums, libraries, archives and various institutions seek to fulfill their primary goal of enticing and engaging their audience with their collections, they may run into the limitations of MARC21. As we become a more interconnected society there are going to be a number of potential collaborations with new audiences, industries and technologies. With a proliferation of software and standards used over the internet these days maybe we can learn some lessons from other sectors that need to harness massive amounts of data like financial brokerages, medical records management, genealogy services and collaborative scientific research just to name a few. It seems that an adoption of something like XML or the advancement of a universal open source cataloging system standard free from the traps of a limited vendor ecosystem would be greatly beneficial to making sure that bibliographic records remain exchangeable, expandable and relevant.


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