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Advogato: ldd libcongress.so

Nov 29, 2000, 22:02 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Nick Moffitt)

"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 cataloging art."

"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."

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