Response 2 – Katherine Martinez

Together, this week’s readings speak to the complexity of our engagement with MARC records.  Roy Tennant’s opinion is made clear in his article  “MARC Must Die”.  He brings up the fact that it was “developed in an age when memory, storage, and processing power were all rare and expensive commodities. Now they are ubiquitous and cheap.” I have a vague, theoretical understanding of MARC records but in a time in which companies are competing to organize internet materials, it seems libraries must accept the challenge of devising a new cataloging system before the current one becomes incomprehensible to new generations.  In fact, financially it seems wise to consider how we might use more versatile technology instead of what is currently limited to library vendors.

The Library of Congress breakdown of MARC records explains how if a library were to develop their own system, “it would not be taking advantage of an industry-wide standard whose primary purpose is to foster communication of information”.  This makes sense, as one universal system creates a language able to written and read across institutes. Yet, this creates even more reason for continual updates to refine the system, especially if as Tennant states, it currently “lacks essential checks and balances to assure appropriate granularity”. We are able to accept slow changes to the platforms we access on a daily basis, on a social and professional level, so it seems possible to work toward a more progressive standard.

-K. Martinez


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