Weekly response post#2: MARC, Rachel Skinner-O’Neill

The Chowdhury Bibliographic formats and MARC formats readings along with the Library of Congress: What is a MARC record, and why is it important? booklet reminded me a lot of my first encounter with HTML coding, and I suspect what worked in that instance –creating web pages using HTML – is what will ultimately help cement some of the fundamentals involved in creating a MARC record i.e.: practice! What I took from the readings is that a MARC record, through each unique combination of tags, subfield codes (aka delimiters), and indicators is a way for computers to communicate with each other in as near to a universal way as has been created about the bibliographic data of library collections and that seems pretty awe inspiring to me!

The arguments around the ongoing usefulness of MARC21 in the face of the development of XML raised in the Library Journal article are useful to be aware of in terms of thinking about the potential limitations of any data exchange format. A quick Google search of “problems with XML”, however, quickly reveals that the shiny new coding system that XML promised to be is not as infallible as Roy Tennant argued for back in 2002.

In a bid to more fully understand MARC, the history and uses of, as well as how to go about understanding how a MARC record is created, I confess I went to YouTube and found this brief tutorial 10 Minutes on MARC posted by Anne Welsh to be pretty useful…


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