Technically Speaking

By Dorman, David | American Libraries, April 2000 | Go to article overview

Technically Speaking


Dorman, David, American Libraries


Heads Up--It's Cleanup Time!

This month's Heads Up Alert concerns the new Web standard approved by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) in late January. XHTML 1.0 has replaced HTML 4.0 as the Web's most current hypertext markup language standard.

In the long run XHTML will serve as a transition to a semantic Web that will greatly facilitate our ability to organize and retrieve electronic resources. In the short run it means that current HTML code will have to be "cleaned up" if it is to remain compatible with future Web markup standards that will be based on XML, the extensible markup language. XHTML is very close to HTML, but it is "cleaner and tighter." So start cleaning up your HTML code now. To find out how, visit www.sunworld.com/sunworldonline/swol-12-1999/swol-12-webmaster.html and learn more about preparing for the new Web.

The End of MARC?

"We need to replace MARC as soon as possible with an equally rich, but unencumbered format that facilitates, rather than impedes, our ability to experiment." Thus spoke Dick R. Miller, head of technical services and systems librarian at Stanford University's Lane Medical Library, at the Medical Library Association Meeting last May in Chicago.

That unencumbered format to which he was referring is, of course, XML. This past winter, to facilitate such experimentation, the Lane Medical Library released XMLMARC version 1.0, MARC to XML conversion software for free, noncommercial use. XMLMARC is a Java client/server program that, according to Miller, "converts MARC to XML based on flexible maps and simplified, yet detailed DTDs for bibliographic and authorities formats." The software can be downloaded at xmlmarc.stanford.edu.

The $64,000 question is: Will ALA or another professional group lead a standards effort to adapt the rules of AACR2 cataloging to XML so that the profession can settle on a single successor to MARC?

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