It's helpful to think of MARCXML as a sort of lingua franca.
> - Existing libraries for reading, manipulating and searching XML-based documents are very mature.
Including XSLT and XPath; very powerful stuff.
> There's nothing stopping you from reading the MARCXML into a binary blob and working on it from there. But when sharing documents from different institutions around the globe, using a wide variety of tools and techniques, XML seems to be the lowest common denominator.
Assuming it's also round-trippable, MARC-in-JSON would accomplish this as well.
Not to mention it's nice to be able to read and edit MARC records in any (any!!) text editor for those of us who are comfortable looking at JSON or XML but can't handle staring at binary bytestreams without having an aneurysm.
> On 2010-10-25, at 2:38 PM, Nate Vack wrote:
>> Hi all,
>> I've just spent the last couple of weeks delving into and decoding a
>> binary file format. This, in turn, got me thinking about MARCXML.
>> In a nutshell, it looks like it's supposed to contain the exact same
>> data as a normal MARC record, except in XML form. As in, it should be
>> What's the advantage to this? I can see using a human-readable format
>> for poorly-documented file formats -- they're relatively easy to read
>> and understand. But MARC is well, well-documented, with more than one
>> free implementation in cursory searching. And once you know a binary
>> file's format, it's no harder to parse than XML, and the data's
>> smaller and processing faster.
>> So... why the XML?