[uf-discuss] Re: [Structuredblogging-discuss] microformat for books in a library catalog

Benjamin Carlyle benjamincarlyle at optusnet.com.au
Tue Dec 20 07:22:50 PST 2005

On Mon, 2005-12-19 at 23:23 -0600, Edward Summers wrote:
> We've actually been throwing around some of these on the wiki:
> 	http://microformats.org/wiki/cite
> 	http://microformats.org/wiki/cite-brainstorming
> 	http://microformats.org/wiki/cite-examples
> MARC, or MARC21 as it is known after the harmonization of USMARC and  
> CAN/MARC is a nasty old format from the early 1970s, and not at all  
> suited to being represented as semantic HTML imho. MODS [1] is a  
> reworking of MARC with more meaningful element names and an XML  
> syntax--but it is still relatively complicated, largely because it's  
> an outgrowth of MARC itself.

MARC is typically used for cataloging rather than citation. It is the
electronic equivalent to a paper card catalogue in your local library.
Cataloging and citation are targeted at slightly different audiences.
Citation is targetted at an audience who wants to follow a kind of
hyperlink from one place to another. The emphasis is on providing enough
information to know where to look and to recognise it when you find it.
Cataloging is intended for the reference librarian audience, where you
know something about the work but do not have your hyperlink. You know
it was a blue book of certain dimensions about flies. The catalogue
entry is the google base that will help you hone in on what you are
looking for. A citation has a quite different focus.

Whether this cite micrformat proposal covers cataloging as well as
citation may be important to consider. Cataloging typically requires
conformance to very specific rules such as AARC2, and significant
portions of some library courses are built around getting it right.
These rules cover details such as whether you have to record both the
width and the height of a book, depending on how closely related the
dimensions are. I think that aiming to include the capabilities of MARC
or a simliar cataloging system might be aiming too high. If MARC was
able to be encoded it may well be useful, but at a quick glance I would
see this as a microformat in itself. I think you would either have to
pick MARC21 as your semantic model or choose not be compatible with

Benjamin Carlyle <benjamincarlyle at optusnet.com.au>

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