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MARCcat UX/UI analysis

Tiziana Possemato, Paul Mouland

Tiziana introduced Paul, who has worked for at Cult as a consultant for 20 years.

Discussion about MARC validation/tag tables by Paul Mouland. Paul demonstrated the main tag table for Amicus. Amicus is the library product first developed at the National Library of Canada and owned by at Cult.

  • There are separate tables for authorities and bibs.
  • The Amicus table demonstrated is maintained by programmers. The group expressed the need for catalogers that are not programmers to be able to update this table.
  • Can something be marked obsolete but still be accepted in records? - Yes.
  • Fixed fields are not included in Amicus in a tabular form. This is compatible with MARC, but information is not stored as MARC.
  • Tiziana noted that what Paul demonstrated is what is currently the state, but is welcoming input for future develop. What does the group think is needed?


Today's MARCcat meeting discussed interactions between MARC21 documentation and local tag tables.  What kind of help do we want to display to users of the MARCcat tool?  I was asked to show some screenshots of my local Voyager system, which I'm not exactly recommending, just demo-ing here.

A little bit of a bib, with my cursor on the 260 line of an old and cruddy record:

See the lower left corner?  The words "Publication, Distribution, etc. (Imprint)" are not being pulled from the MARC21 document at, but rather from the local tag table, which has cut-and-pasted the MARC21 guidelines.

If I put my cursor on the 260 $b and hit a function key, I get a table of valid values:

This list also is pulled from text in our local tag tables.  Notice that we are carrying value "d" for our legacy data, outside of current MARC21.

And for a local tag, also driven by the local tag table, let me show our 852, not the same as the MARC21 852:

Because of the way our tag table integrates with our editor, when a user puts their curson on the 852, they get the quick help in the lower left corner of their screen that says "Local call number, used for bulk import of shelf-ready records" and when they can't remember the subfield codes, they can display valid values using the function key.

I like the idea of linking out from MARCcat to MARC21 documentation, but I do also like the little quick-help tags.  I might add that errors in the local tag tables are rather easy to expose with this method, which is a good thing, if occasionally embarrassing.


Also, here's some of the conditional logic for generating format types at the very top of the record that I was inaccurately gesturing towards and which I believe Paul also alluded to:

Nothing surprising but it is a huge pain to change anything other than a new value in the fixed fields.


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