> I've been involved in several projects lambasted 
> because managers think MARCXML is solving 
> some imaginary problem

It seems to me that this is really the heart of your argument.  You had this experience, and now are projecting the opinions of these managers onto "lots of people in the library world."

I've worked in libraries for nearly a decade, and have never met anyone (manager or otherwise) who held the belief that XML in general, or MARC-XML in particular, somehow magically solves all metadata problems.  

I guess our two experiences cancel each other out, then.  And, ultimately, none of that has anything to do with MARC-XML itself. 


David Walker
Library Web Services Manager
California State University
From: Code for Libraries [[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Alexander Johannesen [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Monday, October 25, 2010 7:10 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] MARCXML - What is it for?

On Tue, Oct 26, 2010 at 12:48 PM, Bill Dueber <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> Here, I think you're guilty of radically underestimating "lots of people
> around the library world." No one thinks MARC is a good solution to
> our modern problems, and no one who actually knows what MARC
> is has trouble understanding MARC-XML as an XML serialization of
> the same old data -- certainly not anyone capable of meaningful
> contribution to work on an alternative.

Slow down, Tex. "Lots of people in the library world" is not the same
as developers, or even good developers, or even good XML developers,
or even good XML developers who knows what the document model imposes
to a data-centric approach.

> The problem we're dealing with is *hard*. Mind-numbingly hard.

This is no justification for not doing things better. (And I'd love to
know what the hard bits are; always interesting to hear from various
people as to what they think are the *real* problems of library
problems, as opposed to any other problem they have)

> The library world has several generations of infrastructure built
> around MARC (by which I mean AACR2), and devising data
> structures and standards that are a big enough improvement over
>  MARC to warrant replacing all that infrastructure is an engineering
>  and political nightmare.

Political? For sure. Engineering? Not so much. This is just that whole
"blinded by MARC" issue that keeps cropping up from time to time, and
rightly so; it is truly a beast - at least the way we have come to
know it through AACR2 and all its friends and its death-defying focus
on all things bibliographic - that has paralyzed library innovation,
probably to the point of making libraries almost irrelevant to the

> I'm happy to take potshots at the RDA stuff from the sidelines, but I never
> forget that I'm on the sidelines, and that the people active in the game are
> among the best and brightest we have to offer, working on a problem that
>  invariably seems more intractable the deeper in you go.

Well, that's a pretty scary sentence, for all sorts of reasons, but I
think I shall not go there.

> If you think MARC-XML is some sort of an actual problem

What, because you don't agree with me the problem doesn't exist? :)

> and that people
> just need to be shouted at to realize that and do something about it, then,
> well, I think you're just plain wrong.

Fair enough, although you seem to be under the assumption that all of
the stuff I'm saying is a figment of my imagination (I've been
involved in several projects lambasted because managers think MARCXML
is solving some imaginary problem; this is not bullshit, but pain and
suffering from the battlefields of library development), that I'm not
one of those developers (or one of you, although judging from this
discussion it's clear that I am not), that the things I say somehow
doesn't apply because you don't agree with, umm, what I'm assuming is
my somewhat direct approach to stating my heretic opinions.

 Project Wrangler, SOA, Information Alchemist, UX, RESTafarian, Topic Maps
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