Weekly Response #2 -Alana

Reading the LoC’s “What is a MARC Record and Why is it Important?” made me wonder about the bureaucratic side of librarianship.  Roy Tennant touched on this in “MARC Must Die.”  He talked about how libraries are “limited to the niche market of library vendors” and how using XML would make it easier and cheaper for vendors to “produce the products we require.”  This idea of libraries as a business is one I haven’t considered much before, but how much are libraries spending on these vendors?  And how much of our usage is dictated by these vendors?  If it is hard and expensive for vendors to produce product, surely it is expensive for libraries?  What do these services cost us?  I was concerned with the homogenization of the organization of information when I was reading the LoC’s dated article.  As we evolve from “floppy diskettes” to file transfer, information begins to travel faster.  Is this too fast for the average librarian to keep track of?  Tennant’s piece on granularity seems to say yes.  It seems like within this niche market, a few vendors must have some kind of monopoly over the organization of catalog information and I wonder if, when pressed, libraries could be forced to choose a less-than-stellar product if it is “easier and cheaper” to obtain.


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