There was a system developed back in the '80s which stored its records internally in a direct Entity-Relationship database and allowed inter-record linking and a rather hyperlink-like data structure. BUT... that was all internal. It allowed some very nice OPAC features and possibly easier cataloguing as authorities (basically subjects and authors) could be created once and linked into a bib record. Externally the system exchanged records in MARC. In fact in at least 15 different flavors of MARC. (It was built in Europe and was used to provide a service as a transformer for converting USMARC to various other MARC for European distribution.)
MARC was, and is an interchange format, so it is the format used to ship bib records between ILSs. It doesn't have to be used internally as the above system (which sold over 3,000 copies and has about 1,000 still active today, although it has been off the market for over 13 years) and InMagic and others show. In fact almost all the commercial systems do, as someone said previously, store the MARC records, not in ISO 2709 format, but shred them into some relational structure of tuples. But MARC is the language they all speak to each other. To change that would need an infrastructure, as also mentioned previously in this thread, to allow existing ILSs and repositories, based on MARC exchange, to interoperate with new ILSs, based on some other exchange. And that does mean hubs and repositories of transforming capabilities with very sophisticated semantics - and there really isn't any commercial case to create them.
And all of this is a long way from what Matt's actual question was.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Bigwood, David
> Sent: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 12:49 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: [*SP* 22%] Re: [CODE4LIB] NON-MARC ILS?
> Yes, there are non-MARC systems out there. I think InMagic has some.
> LibraryThing could be used and doesn't require MARC. There are some home inventory programs that
> might do for a small church library or such.
> But what is the problem with MARC? The structure is fairly compact, compared to XLM for instance. It
> does lack some granularity I'd like to see, but that would only make it more complex if flexible. It
> would also be nice if it were possible to do more linking from the record. But this only increases the
> complexity and makes it more difficult to local catalogers. Personally, I kind of like MODS, but I'm
> not sure how much it would save.
> Is the problem with the rules on how to fill the MARC record? That has mostly to do with AACR. The
> bibliographic universe is complex and getting more so. The rules for description and access must take
> that into account. It is true that the small public library won't need the same detail as a special
> collection or research university. Maybe there could be a simplified/stripped down AACR? Or maybe RDA,
> the new standard will have that basic option?
> Or is you problem with the fields, their order and associated punctuation? That is ISBD or FRBR. Both
> are based on common sense and what we experience as the necessary elements from our work. They are not
> based on research on what the user wants and does. However, that gets to the question "Who is the
> user?" The elementary child writing a report on the Civil War or a grad student writing their
> dissertation, the mechanic looking for a wiring diagram for a 69 Ford, or a birdwatcher planning their
> trip, the person looking for do your own divorce? Maybe Google searches could provide some answers but
> do people look for different things and search differently in the library and on-line? Fertile ground
> for some theses.
> The other thing to consider is the huge number of records available in MARC format. A small public
> library probably has very little original cataloging to do. Local high school yearbooks, some self-
> published family histories. Doing things differently locally would mean all the common stuff would
> have to be done in-house, not just down loaded.
> David Bigwood
> [log in to unmask]
> Lunar and Planetary Institute
> Catalogablog: http://catalogablog.blogspot.com
> On Mar 14, 2012, at 8:59 AM, Matt Amory wrote:
> > Is there a full-featured ILS that is not based on MARC records?
> > I know we love complexity, but it seems to me that my public library
> > and its library network and maybe even every public library could
> > probably do without 95% of MARC Fields and encoding, streamline
> > workflows and save $ if there were a simpler standard.
> > Is this what an Endeca-based system is about, or do those rare birds
> > also use MARC in the background?
> > Forgive me if the question has been hashed and rehashed over the
> > --
> > Matt Amory
> > (917) 771-4157
> > [log in to unmask]
> > http://www.linkedin.com/pub/matt-amory/8/515/239