EAMMS | HMML
MARC, which stands for MAchine Readable Cataloguing, is an encoding format used for storing bibliographic data in a machine-readable form. It comprises a data structure and encoding procedure that implements the national and international standards Information Interchange Format (ANSI Z39.2) and Format for Information Exchange (ISO 2709). It is maintained by the MARC Standards Office at the Library of Congress and by MARBI, the MAchine-Readable Bibliographic Information Committee of the American Library Association. It is the encoding format most commonly used by libraries in North America, Great Britain, and Europe for the storage and retrieval of bibliographical information, as well as the exchange of this information with the major bibliographic databases OCLC (On-line Computer Library Catalogue) and RLIN (Research Libraries Information Network).
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The MARC Initiative has two objectives. The first is to review existing MARC encoding procedures and, within this framework, to adapt them as far as possible to the specialized techniques of medieval manuscript description. The second objective is to develop a set of cataloguing practices especially for these materials which will be compatible with Anglo-American Cataloguing Rules, 2nd ed. revised (AACR2R). The proposed cataloguing rules are entitled Descriptive Cataloguing of Ancient, Medieval, Renaissance, and Early-Modern Manuscripts (AMREMM). These rules provide item-level bibliographic control over both literary and archival manuscripts which owing to their special historical, artistic, or literary value require more precise and detailed identification and access than is provided for such materials in other cataloguing manuals. These rules accommodate a wider range of materials than just those produced in the Middle Ages, taking as their focus materials that are the products of a scribal mode of book production as opposed to those produced by printing by movable type.
The proposed MARC encoding procedures and cataloguing guidelines are currently being tested at the Vatican Film Library at Saint Louis University. Once these procedures and guidelines are approved, it is envisioned that records for these materials will be input by holding libraries into the OCLC and RLIN databases.
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NOVEMBER 1999: Announcing the availability of a draft text for a new set of manuscript cataloging standards, entitled DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGING OF ANCIENT, MEDIEVAL, RENAISSANCE, AND EARLY-MODERN MANUSCRIPTS (known more economically as AMREMM). These rules are intended as a supplement to AACR2 -- similar in scope to Descriptive Cataloging of Rare Books (DCRB) and Archives, Personal Papers, and Manuscripts (APPM) -- to allow creation of item-level MARC catalog records for pre-modern manuscript materials in library on-line public access catalogs as well as in the national bibliographic utilities OCLC or RLIN. A public hearing will be held to invite comment and discussion on these proposed cataloging rules at the midwinter meeting of the American Library Association in San Antonio, Texas, on Friday, January 14, 2000, from 8:00 to 10:00 PM. Scheduling and other information can also be found in the RBMS Newsletter. All are welcome to attend.
November 1998: Working versions of both the MARC encoding procedures and cataloguing rules are currently being reviewed by the EAMMS group in conjunction with a subcommittee of the Bibliographic Standards Committee of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, which is a division of the American Library Association. Regular reports on the progress of the project are made at the Midwinter and Annual meetings of the American Library Association. A working draft was presented to the Bibliographic Standards Committee at the Midwinter meeting of the ALA in Philadelphia (29 January - 3 February 1999), and final approval is anticipated by the time of the Annual meeting of the ALA in New Orleans (24 June - 1 July 1999).
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The Vatican Film Library holds on microfilm approximately three-quarters of the Greek, Latin, and Western European vernacular manuscripts contained in the Vatican Library in Rome. Many of these manuscripts have already received detailed cataloguing in the Vatican's series of printed catalogues, but many others have not. The Vatican Film Library intends to provide summary cataloguing access to all of these materials through its own on-line catalogue and to submit these records to OCLC as well. Through the use of controlled subject access, uniform headings, and new catalogue records the wealth of the Vatican Library's manuscript collections will be made more readily accessible to researchers throughout the world.
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Content of page by Gregory A. Pass
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