I’m working on a handful of projects about the history of MARC, and one of the things that would be really useful to me is a good, concise history of the family of MARC formats. I haven’t been able to find quite what I’m looking for, so I decided to make it!
The timeline below is my first, very imperfect attempt at mapping out the big markers in the history of MARC. A couple of caveats: it is very much the result of my interests and my knowledge (other people would likely highlight other milestones); it is very US-centric (given my familiarity with and interest in MARC21 and USMARC); it is incomplete (I know it is missing things, and hopefully I will add to it over time). I also don’t love this timeline format, but I decided to use this simple but unlovely WordPress plugin until I find something better.
I’d love feedback, suggestions, criticism, etc. Tell me what I’ve forgotten, point me to other sources, correct me on things I got wrong! But in the meantime, please enjoy the history of our goofy but lovable data format.
Color code: blue is general policy and history; green is bibliographic format; red is all other formats; yellow is format integration.
- Format Integration and its Effect on the USMARC Bibliographic Format, 1992 ed. (Washington: Library of Congress)
- Library of Congress. MARC21 format specifications.
- McCallum, Sally H. (1990). “Format Integration : Handling the Additions and Subtractions.” Information Technology and Libraries, 9(2), 155–161.
- Seikel, Michele, & Steele, Thomas (2011). “How MARC Has Changed: The History of the Format and Its Forthcoming Relationship to RDA.” Technical Services Quarterly, 28(3), 322–334. https://doi.org/10.1080/07317131.2011.574519
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