It has to mean UTF-8. ISO 2709 is very byte-oriented, from the directory structure to the byte-offsets in the fixed fields. The values in these places all assume 8-bit character data, it's completely baked in to the file format. -Tod On Apr 17, 2012, at 6:55 PM, Jonathan Rochkind wrote: > Okay, forget XML for a moment, let's just look at marc 'binary'. > > First, for Anglophone-centric MARC21. > > The LC docs don't actually say quite what I thought about leader byte 09, used to advertise encoding: > > > a - UCS/Unicode > Character coding in the record makes use of characters from the Universal Coded Character Set (UCS) (ISO 10646), or Unicode™, an industry subset. > > > > That doesn't say UTF-8. It says UCS or "Unicode". What does that actually mean? Does it mean UTF-8, or does it mean UTF-16 (closer to what used to be called "UCS" I think?). Whatever it actually means, do people violate it in the wild? > > > > Now we get to non-Anglophone centric marc. I think all of which is ISO_2709? A standard which of course is not open access, so I can't get it to see what it says. > > But leader 09 being used for encoding -- is that Marc21 specific, or is it true of any ISO-2709? Marc8 and "unicode" being the only valid encodings can't be true of any ISO-2709, right? > > Is there a generic ISO-2709 way to deal with this, or not so much?