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Gather Evidence to Inform Changes in MARC Metadata Practices

This activity conducted research to provide evidence to inform more efficient and effective MARC metadata practices.


There are three categories of MARC metadata users: information professionals, end-users, and machines. The ability to present users with an overview of available works from thousands of possible manifestations depends on having reliable bibliographic data elements present for machine matching.

RLG Partners participating in discussions about metadata management recommended creating a "MARC Tag Working Group" to gather evidence that could inform more efficient and effective MARC metadata creation practices that would also ensure reliable data elements required for matching records across different environments.


The working group's analysis and recommendations will help information professionals who create MARC metadata focus on key elements needed to link their records with other resources for the same work. The working group offers a set of factors to consider when making decisions about local MARC metadata practices based on their studies. Library systems that meet the report's requirements for enhanced library data mining will provide invaluable assistance in meeting users' needs.


The questions the working group addressed:

  • What data elements are currently utilized by systems in order to deliver functionality to users? What MARC data elements are not used?
  • What data elements are needed by systems’ matching algorithms to create effective union catalogs?
  • How reliable are the indicators for compliance with bibliographic standards for levels of cataloging?
  • To what extent do specific MARC fields differ across formats and in a local catalog?

The results of the analysis done on WorldCat and union catalogs in Australia, Canada, and UK provided factors to consider when making decisions about local MARC metadata practices. The lack of some evidence led to developing the list of requirements for enhanced library data mining.




  • In this webinar, some of the authors of the recently published report, Implications of MARC Tag Usage on Library Metadata Practices (.pdf), presented evidence gathered and analyzed by the RLG Partnership MARC Tag Usage Working Group to inform library metadata practices, with a focus on machine applications.
    • pdf of webinar chat transcript (36.7K/4pp.)
    • .wmv (65.3MB/1:00min.)
    • .mp4 (274MB/1:00min.)

Most recent updates: Page content: 2010-11-14


Karen Smith-Yoshimura