“The MARC Pilot Project. Final Report”

Thanks to Matthew Beacom who posted the link to this report on the RDA listserv. In 1968, Henriette D. Avram published the document, The MARC pilot project: final report. Today as we have experienced first hand or read about the RDA test, it is interesting to go back in time to read about the test for MARC that was done in the late 1960’s. And yes, there was a test done by the Library of Congress and 16 other libraries “to determine the feasibility of putting cataloging data into machine-readable from [sic] for distribution of magnetic tapes.” Some of the institutions that took part in this pilot project, also participated in the RDA testing!

What’s interesting about this document?

  • It explains this report serves to document what was successful or not so that mistakes could be avoided in the future.
  • The need to share library data at a reasonable cost.
  • Automation (and the computer) are tools to facilitate the needs of scholarship, science, and technology.
  • MARC system should be dynamic and flexible “to keep pace with a rapidly changing, dynamic library system”.
  • There were problems with schedules and delays in implementation.
  • The realization that standards are a must.
  • It has a whole section dedicated to cost.
I’m sure you’ll find more if you read this document. It is a bit of history that is all the more relevant as RDA makes its way to a new implementation date and now that LC has decided to look into the continuation of MARC.