6 Comments on ““MARC Must Die” 15 Years On”

  1. Another animal metaphor for MARC: the albatross around our collective cataloging neck, which we hate but can’t discard. MARC was a stroke of genuine genius in the 1960’s; the onset of the modern ILS in the 90’s would have been a logical time to exchange formats. It didn’t happen, apparently for the sake of expedience, and now we’re locked into the choice to imitate 19th century technology for the foreseeable future.

    I don’t think that cataloging will disappear (e.g., I sure hope it doesn’t), but it’s not going to grow as fast as WorldCat identifiers, if it grows at all. Most likely to me is that we become even more of an insular priesthood, mumbling arcana about preferred access points and expressions versus manifestations. I don’t see any easy choices ahead.

  2. Roy, We all die, it has been said. In this case I think we should congratulate the patient (MARC) on its remarkable survival despite your pronouncement. By the time a viable replacement is finally in place another generation of catalogers will have passed. At that point it will be interesting to see if administrators retain enough professionals to create the linked data that the prophecies foretold.

  3. 856

    Second Indicator
    # – No information provided
    0 – Resource
    1 – Version of resource
    2 – Related resource
    8 – No display constant generated

    Add: 3 – Openly available full-text of resource

  4. Like Marc (ha!) said above, if RDA is any example, cataloging is accelerating its irrelevance with poorly thought out and executed schemes. I think it’s more likely academia will throw its hands up and just go with any viable automated method, rather than something with theoretically greater precision but with steep learning curves and no real constituency.

    It took me a long time to move from instruction to cataloging, and it looks like I got here just as the party was coming to an end.

  5. “It’s just that it has unfortunately taken half of my professional career to get here.”

    Nice essay, Roy. If it’s any consolation, remember that MARC has now been the standard for nearly *two* professional careers, if you assume that a professional career equals about thirty years.

    Yes, it is high time for MARC to go. But even once we have an agreed-upon replacement, there will be the problems of a huge pile of legacy data, and gazillions of records that contain all sorts of non-standard stuff that folks will want retained and migrated. Perhaps worst of all, thousands of libraries worldwide that find themselves stuck on MARC-based systems whose vendors — if they are even still in business — will be extremely slow to support the new standard. Need an example? RDA, anyone? [sigh]

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