"When the Library of Congress began to use computers in the
1960s, it devised the LC MARC format. This was a simple record
specification that allows for portable catalog entries even today.
The MARC 21 record format, coupled with the z39.50 transport
protocol, is used by libraries all over the US to swap
bibliographic data. But what about the Free Software world? What
with the proliferation of free POSIX systems that run on cheap
hardware, it would seem to be a no-brainer for small libraries and
special collections. What's kept this from happening?"
"For those of you who groaned when you read the title, I assure
you that I did that solely so I wouldn't be tempted to make any
more bad library puns in the body of this article."
"Seth Schoen has been scanning an awful lot of books with his
snazzy CueCat barcode reader. His scripts make search requests via
the Library of Congress Web Catalog, storing the result in plain
text files. Although novel, this is hardly the state of the
"Libraries have been using computers for cataloging since long
before it was generally practical to do so. A few widely-used
standards have been published, including the MARC 21 record format
and the z39.50 searching and record retrieval protocol."