Repetition of Information in OCLC MARC Formats: Implications for Library Automation Systems
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Advances in technology have made larger and yet less expensive computer memory available to libraries. A1so, the increased speed of processing has made access to any element of a huge data base possible in a fraction of a second. In spite of less cost for memory storage and high speed technology, there is always room for more efficiency in dealing with an ever increasing gigantic bibliographic data base.
OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) is the oldest and largest bibliographic network in the United States. Many libraries use OCLC bibliographic records for their library automated systems. OCLC MARC (Machine-Readable Cataloging) formats, with few exceptions, follow the Library of Congress MARC formats for communication of bibliographic information in machine-readable form. However, examination of the structure of MARC formats and the contents for various types of materials, such as books, serials, etc., indicates that the data recorded in certain parts of the MARC structure are repeated. The adjustment in the OCLC display and/or print programs could result in reduction of average bibliographic record length and hence a saving in memory storage cost. The saving of memory, by avoiding duplication, could be very helpful to libraries with a limited storage capacity. It also could potentially decrease response time because the average length of bibliographic records would decrease.
This paper compares information in the fixed field and variable fields and attempts to demonstrate some areas of OCLC MARC formats where more intelligent computer programs could be developed that would reduce the average time to input a record and reduce the size of the MARC records without any loss of information. It also points out certain areas where coded in formation is already used by the OCLC print program.