It could be very helpful to have a short history of MARC.  AIUI,
MARC's purpose was to make automate the printing of catalog cards.
Searching, OPACs, etc, were bolted on later.  Maybe having an
understanding of why MARC looks like it does will help coders feel
less frustrated with some of its weird quirks - like Uniform Title.

I've found programmers to be fascinated by MARC once they begin to
understand why it is structured the way it is and (most importantly)
understand why it's not going to metamorphose either quickly or soon
into a form they might see as more logical or useful. :-)


Tania Fersenheim
Manager of Library Systems

Brandeis University
Library and Technology Services

415 South Street, (MS 017/P.O. Box 549110)
Waltham, MA 02454-9110
Phone: 781.736.4698
Fax: 781.736.4577
email: [log in to unmask]

On Thu, Nov 17, 2011 at 7:18 PM, Kelley McGrath <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I am not by any stretch of the imagination a coder, but I think it would be
> helpful to have some discussion of common cataloger-coder communication
> issues. So many cataloger-coder discussions online seem to consist of people
> talking past each other (although I do think there is a much larger and less
> vocal common ground in the middle). In addition, I have sometimes seen my
> cataloger and coder/IT colleagues struggle to communicate with each other
> and find myself trying to translate. Are there ways to make that translation
> process easier or cultivate more translators? What do coders wish that
> catalogers knew about how computers interact with metadata?
> I would also be interested in ideas on how to shift the conversation more
> towards underlying functionality. A central failing of computerized catalogs
> IMO is that they tend to replicate the literal form and actions of cards and
> the card catalog rather than tried to find a way to express the underlying
> functionality of the card catalog in a computer environment. This is also
> sometimes badly done because the programmers don't understand the point of
> what they're replicating (although to be fair, what they're trying to work
> with is often not in a form optimized for a computer environment). Uniform
> titles in many catalogs are a good example of this.
> Kelley
> PS Some of the other emails mention wanting help with understanding where
> real data differs from what's in specifications or differs over time or for
> other reasons. Speaking as a reasonably competent cataloger, I would say
> that, although some things can be anticipated in advance, I find this to
> inevitably be an iterative process.
> PPS I'm looking forward to attending.
> On Thu, Nov 10, 2011 at 11:14 AM, Becky Yoose <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>> Hey folks,
>> There's been increasing discussion and interest about cataloging
>> around this community (and others like it) for quite a while. I found
>> some co-conspirators and we are planning to propose a pre-conference
>> on cataloging/library metadata creation geared towards the huddled
>> code4lib masses (otherwise known as coders) who are yearning for
>> knowledge of this Darkest of Library Arts.