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Does MARC Have a Future? Diane I. Hillmann Information Institute of Syracuse/ Metadata Management Associates.

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Presentation on theme: "Does MARC Have a Future? Diane I. Hillmann Information Institute of Syracuse/ Metadata Management Associates."— Presentation transcript:

1 Does MARC Have a Future? Diane I. Hillmann Information Institute of Syracuse/ Metadata Management Associates

2 Doesn’t the answer depend on what we mean by future? 7/9/092CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

3 Yes, No, Maybe …  Yes …  Because it will take some unknown number of years to move our legacy data to a more modern, FRBR-aware format  Because our community is still largely using MARC, and we’ll need to retain the ability to communicate in MARC until we build tools to do something else  Because the wiring in our heads is still MARC … 7/9/093CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

4 Yes, No, Maybe …  No …  Because in order to keep MARC available to those who need it to be sustainable in the interim, we need to freeze further changes, sooner rather than later, otherwise we raise costs for everyone  Because MARC is best for flat files, and most of us want to take advantage of the advanced browsing we can do with FRBR-style records  RDA really can’t be used with MARC, unless we want to go forward on our hands and knees … 7/9/094CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

5 Yes, No, Maybe …  Maybe …  If you define ‘future’ in a very limited way, say, the next 5-8 years  If you recognize that RDA is very influenced by our experience with MARC, particularly in the area of vocabularies, thus the shadow of RDA may always look something like MARC  Because MARC will always be in our heads, just like our mother’s voices are … 7/9/095CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

6 Do We Need A Replacement? Only if we think we need to protect our data from the world, or the world from our data … 7/9/096CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

7 Instead, We Could …  Use RDA  It’s a FRBR-based, bibliographic vocabulary presented in a more modern form, including some familiar ideas  The elements, sub-elements, and vocabularies can be used with XML encoding or as part of RDF triples  The data is easily used and understood by other communities who are used to exchanging XML data  RDA elements and vocabularies can easily be extended by specialized communities whose needs are not entirely met by RDA out-of-the-box 7/9/097CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

8 Why Does This Strategy Work?  Might help to look at what “interoperability” means in our context  Wikipedia cites the IEEE definition:  “ … the ability of two or more systems or components to exchange information and to use the information that has been exchanged”  Libraries have understood this concept primarily within the context of MARC and our long history of data exchange 7/9/098CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

9 Let’s Think Again About Our Needs  We definitely hear questions:  If we want to join the world of data “out there,” will we have to redo all our older data?  What would it take to achieve a reasonable level of interoperability fairly quickly?  Where should we start?  First, check what’s happening outside our community 7/9/099CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

10 DC Interoperability Levels 7/9/0910CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

11  We had these in MARC, in the documentation built over the decades  We now have them as well in RDA  RDA Elements and Relationships are registered and available to all freely  Going forward we have tools that will allow us to build, maintain, and extend these vocabularies 7/9/0911CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

12  “‘Semantics’ in this sense does not refer to well- formed natural-language definitions... Rather, it refers to formally stated relationships between terms and rules for using such statements to draw automatic conclusions (logical inferences). This includes use of URIs and conformance with formally specified domains, ranges, and sub-property relations.” -- 7/9/0912CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

13 Some Background on DSPs  DSP = “Description Set Profile” – it’s the newest iteration of tApplication Profile, reflecting the relationship with the Dublin Core Abstract Model  In a more general sense, it is a way to look at and discuss the various “packages” that are needed for a full expression of library data: bibliographic, authority, etc. 7/9/0913CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

14  This is, of course, where we need to be, very soon …  As part of the Registry contract with ALA, we are building the capability to expose XML schemas based on the following element aggregations:Core, Enhanced, Special  A tool to allow RDA users to create their own “Description Set Profiles” will be coming in the fall 7/9/0914CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

15  Here we see the “Holy Grail” and it’s likely to take a bit of time to get here  Consider a scenario where each record would have as part of it’s namespace declaration a link to the DSP that was used to create it?  In a world that seems to be becoming less predictable, we would like to see a method for ensuring some useful predictability without significant new investments of human effort 7/9/0915CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

16 Joining the World of Data  To participate fully we need to think about making our data available broadly AND using data created outside libraries effectively  A “bespoke” data format is not the best way to do this  RDA is a good first step, but we have a significant amount of work yet to realize its potential 7/9/0916CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

17 Thank you! ✔ out the Registry: Contact: Diane I. Hillmann 7/9/0917CCS Forum, Chicago, 2009

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