Yeah, I was gonna say, I'm not sure what type of work environment Terry has or his capacity to hold his ground in the face of enraged catalogers but I think it's wise to note the sort order problem and let the original poster determine its importance in his individual environment (and his willingness to fight that battle).

I say all this as someone who got caught on the wrong side of the Marc tag sort order thing (not with Ruby but with MarcEdit - yes, yes, I know who's the responsible party for MarcEdit, I'm not pointing fingers though, really I'm not and it's too long ago anyway) and I had NO IDEA that our records' tags weren't in sort order nor that it would be a problem but boy was it and those catalogers can be MEAN and scary if pressed (just kiddin').

Christina Salazar
Systems Librarian
John Spoor Broome Library
California State University, Channel Islands

-----Original Message-----
From: Code for Libraries [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Galen Charlton
Sent: Friday, September 12, 2014 10:23 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [CODE4LIB] ruby-marc: how to sort fields after append?


On Fri, Sep 12, 2014 at 10:11 AM, Terry Reese <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> I was so hoping someone would bring up position of MARC fields.
> Everything Kyle says is true -- and I would follow that up by saying, 
> no one will care, even most catalogers.  In fact, I wouldn't even 
> resort the data to begin with -- outside of aesthetics, the sooner we 
> can get away from prescribing some kind of magical meaning to field 
> order (have you ever read the book on determining 5xx field order, I 
> have -- it's depressing; again, who but a cataloger would know) we'll 
> all be better off.  :)

Indeed, field order is not a great way to convey meaning, is not going to migrate well to RDF, and there are few practical reasons to be too worried about it -- although some OPACs do at least display subject headings links in the order that they were entered in the record.

However, some catalogers in my experience do care, and even if only for the sake of inter-personal harmony, avoiding unnecessary reordering of MARC fields can be a win.


Galen Charlton
Manager of Implementation
Equinox Software, Inc. / The Open Source Experts
email:  [log in to unmask]
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