Future machine-readable cataloguing format for South African libraries

M.M.M. Snyman

Abstract


A South African Machine-Readable Cataloguing (SAMARC) format based on UNIMARC was developed in the late 1970s. Since its inception SAMARC has been used extensively as national exchange format within the South African information community. However, due to various factors a need has arisen to clarify the future of SAMARC. Initiated by the Interim Committee for Bibliographic Organisation (ICBO), an investigation was undertaken to determine whether UNIMARC or USMARC should replace SAMARC, or whether the latter should be retained. SAMARC, UNIMARC and USMARC were compared regarding scope, purpose, updating, technical aspects, current status, strengths and weaknesses. Various scenarios were drawn up and the implications of each scenario for the various stakeholders were investigated. A cost benefit study was also included to evaluate the cost of conversion as well as the cost-effectiveness over the long term. Based on the information obtained, various recommendations were made regarding a future MARC format for South Africa. The report of the investigation was submitted to ICBO and all delegates attending a seminar on a future MARC format for South Africa, which was held in Pretoria on 24 and 25 April 1997. The decisions and conclusions of the seminar are also included in the article.

'n Suid-Afrikaanse Masjien-leesbare Katalogiseringsformaat (SAMARC), gebaseer op UNIMARC, is in the laat 1970's ontwikkel. Sedert die ontstaan daarvan is SAMARC op groot skaal gebruik as nasionale uitruilformaat in die Suid- Afrikaanse inligtingsgemeenskap. As gevolg van verskeie faktore het daar egter 'n behoefte ontstaan om die toekoms van SAMARC uit te klaar. In opdrag van die Interim Committee for Bibliographic Organisation (ICBO) is ondersoek ingestel na die wenslikheid om SAMARC te behou of om dit te vervang met UNIMARC of USMARC. SAMARC, UNIMARC en USMARC is vergelyk ten opsigte van omvang, doel, opdatering, tegniese aspekte, huidige status, swak- en sterkpunte. Verskeie scenarios is voorgestel en die implikasies van elke scenario vir die verskillende rolspelers is ondersoek. 'n Kostevoordeelstudie is ook ingesluit ten einde die koste van omskakeling sowel as die koste-effektiwiteit oor die lang termyn te bepaal. Aan die hand van die inligting ingewin, is verskeie aanbevelings gedoen oor 'n toekomstige MARC-formaat vir Suid-Afrika. Die verslag van die ondersoek is voorgele aan ICBO sowel as aan die afgevaardigdes van 'n seminaar oor 'n toekomstige MARC-formaat vir Suid-Afrikaanse biblioteke wat op 24 en 25 April 1997 in Pretoria gehou is. Die besluite wat geneem is tydens die seminaar en die gevolgtrekkings wat gemaak is, is ingesluit in die artikel.


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7553/65-3-1470

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