MARC 21 MAchineReadableCataloging Laura Hawley and Cara Orban
MARC 21 • Stands for “machine readable cataloging.” • 21 is the latest version and refers to the twenty-first century. • Enables computers to interpret the information found in a traditional cataloging record by way of data, or “signposts” placed before each field of bibliographic information.
MARC 21 • The original version, LC MARC, was created by the Library of Congress in the 1960s. • The LOC maintains MARC 21 to this day.
HISTORY • Librarians have shared cataloging information long before the advent of computers. • Cataloging sources: Library of Congress, Cataloging in Publication (CIP), library journals
Computers improve sharing capabilities • The new MARC system allowed libraries to use and contribute records, or simply to purchase computer-printed cards from LOC. • Modern libraries can store MARC records on their online catalogs.
MARBI Represents three ALA groups: ALCTS, LITA, and RUSA Assures that all types of expertise are considered MARC Advisory Committee Represents national libraries, vendors, and bibliographic utilities Discusses proposals for changes or additions MARC Regulation
Specifications • LOC created the first edition of this document in 1987. • Provides technical information on MARC records.
Standards • Standards established for exchange of MARC records by floppy diskette, FTP • Anyone who distributes cataloging data should be able to provide standard MARC 21 cataloging in standard format.
MARC’s Construction • Divided into sections, beginning with a tag • Indicators help with form, spacing • Subfields: staff, lowercase letter • These fields indicate how the record should appear in the catalog.
020 050 100 245 250 650 800 ISBN # Library of Congress # Personal name Title Edition statement Topical subject Other personal names Important MARC fields
Example: name main entry a: personal name b: numeration c: title d: dates 100 0_ +aJohn Paul +bII, +cPope, +d1920-2005. Subfields: can be as specific as needed.
Standardization • To take full advantage of MARC’s sharing capabilities, we must use standardized records. • Sears List of Subject Headings • Library of Congress Subject Headings
Authority Control (from http://authorities.loc.gov) SOURCE OF HEADINGS: Library of Congress Online CatalogINFORMATION FOR: Twain, Mark, 1835-1910 Please note: Broader Terms are not currently available Select a Link Below to Continue... Authority Record Scope Note See Also: Clemens, Samuel Langhorne, 1835-1910 See Also: Snodgrass, Quintus Curtius, 1835-1910 See Also: Conte, Louis de, 1835-1910
MARC 21 Advantages • The most commonly used system in library catalogs • Easily duplicated and standardized • Improves ease and efficiency, cooperation • Can be formatted for any type of library
Dissenters say: • “There are only two kinds of people who believe themselves able to read a MARC record without referring to a stack of manuals: a handful of our top catalogers and those on serious drugs.” – Roy Tennant
MARC 21 Disadvantages • Not enough focus on electronic resources • Too complex • Redundant • English language and Western oriented
Suggestions • Expand field use for greater searching capability • More focus on electronic resources • Use complexity to advantage • Improve non-English or non-Western MARC systems
The Future of MARC 21 • Flexibility, reliability, granularity • Partnering with new technologies
Sources http://www.loc.gov/marc/umb/um01to06.html http://www.statoids.com/wmarchis.html Khurshid, Z. (2002). From MARC to MARC 21 and beyond: some reflections on MARC and the Arabic language. Library Hi Tech, 20 (3), 370-377. Tennant, R. (2002). MARC must die. Library Journal, October 15, 26-27. Yee, M. (2004). New perspectives on the shared cataloging environment and a MARC 21 shopping list. Library Services & Technical Services Abstracts, 48 (3), 165-175.