Library of Congress - October 31, 2011
With these strong statements from two expert groups, the Library of Congress is committed to developing, in collaboration with librarians, standards experts, and technologists a new bibliographic framework that will serve the associated communities well into the future. Within the Library, staff from the Network Development and Standards Office (within the Technology Policy directorate) and the Policy and Standards Division (within the Acquisitions and Bibliographic Access directorate) have been meeting with Beacher Wiggins (Director, ABA), Ruth Scovill (Director, Technology Policy), and me to craft a plan for proceeding with the development of a bibliographic framework for the future.
Below this cover note, you will find our thoughts about the way ahead. We have identified the requirements for the new bibliographic framework, based on the recommendations made by both the Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control and the final report on the RDA Test.
We at the Library are committed to finding the necessary funding for supporting this initiative, and we expect to work with diverse and wide-ranging partners in completing the task. Even at the earliest stages of the project, we believe two types of groups are needed: an advisory committee that will articulate and frame the principles and ideals of the bibliographic framework and a technical committee that has the in-depth knowledge to establish the framework, itself.
When MARC was created in the late 1960s, early 1970s, the Library community, along with computer scientists, took a bold step that led to libraries being able to share bibliographic data. This was an extraordinary achievement in that individual libraries became nodes in a much larger network of library resources. A side benefit is that the cost of cataloging was significantly reduced. The new bibliographic framework we are aiming for will broaden participation in the network of resources, librarians will be able to do a much better job of linking their patrons to resources of all kinds (from the library and from many other sources), and costs can be better contained.
The MARC standard is responsible for the creation of millions of bibliographic records from all parts of the globe. We recognize the need to continue supporting MARC during the transition, and, most likely, for years to come as libraries determine their timetable for making a change. The amount of legacy data, though, does not deter us from taking responsible actions for the next generation of libraries and librarians. The problem has been well defined by our partners. We now turn to partners of many types to help us find a durable solution.
We are posting this general plan for your comments. Please let us know what you think. We are grateful for your interest, and we appreciate suggestions for improvement. We encourage you to post your thoughts to the Bibliographic Transition listserv.
Full report at Library of Congress.