MARC is a pain to work with; this is a truism which most of us should be
Blindly moving away from MARC is not the solution, indeed history
suggests that path leads us back to an even more complex version of MARC.
MARC is complex (and thus a pain) for three reasons: (a) the inherent
complexity of the bibliographic content it deals with; (b) the fact that
there are many MARC-using groups who have different sets of motivations
and ideas as to what MARC is for; and (c) MARC's long and complicated
Throwing out MARC doesn't solve any of these except the last, and then
only if you throw away all your data and make no efforts to migrate it.
Obtaining new data from a consortia or company almost certainly buys you
not only MARC's history, but some tasty local decisions on top.
A far more productive discussion is to explore potential replacements
for MARC. This, of course, is only productively conducted with a sound
understanding of the causes of the complexity in MARC. I'll leave it to
the reader to consider whether various proponents' arguments are
persuasive on this point.
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