, BIBFRAME – What is it and how will it affect libraries? 

BIBFRAME is a project initiated by the Library of Congress in 2012, with the aim of replacing the current MARC21 format for cataloguing library materials. While MARC has been a reliable and effective method of managing data for libraries, it was designed to meet the needs of unconnected libraries, beginning back in the 1960s. Standardisation allowed the easy sharing of data between libraries for the first time. In 1973 MARC became the international standard for libraries. MARC21 (the current standard) was created in 1999. 

So why has there been a push for change?  

While MARC data works well in the traditional library setting, and allows easy data exchange between libraries, it is not easily accessible to the internet. The push for data to be more linked and quickly found has placed demands on libraries to examine data storage practices.  

BIBFRAME aims to integrate with the digital world to give greater access to our collections through search browsers. While keeping the necessary data to allow libraries to continue to provide usual search practices, it is formatted in an HTML format to allow ease of access. Naturally there have been some changes in terminology to make the information more understood by a wider audience than just library members. 

One of the advantages of BIBFRAME is that users will be able to “Google” library items in a normal search and get results of holdings from nearby libraries. 

The Library of Congress sees that the MARC21 standard will be in use for many years to come. Translators or converters are being developed which will change MARC21 records to a BIBFRAME format automatically. New editors are being created to allow creation of BIBFRAME records from scratch without the need to go through MARC.  

If you want to read more about BIBFRAME the Library of Congress has materials devoted to the project at https://www.loc.gov/bibframe/ 

To give you an idea of how the two formats differ check this out: 

cam a22     uc 4500

001    20674836

003    DLC

005    20211204130249.0

008    180919s2019    nyua          00| 0|eng 

010    $a  2018958785

020    $a9781419738074$qprint

020    $z9781683356714$qeISBN

040    $aDLC$beng$cDLC$erda

042    $apcc

050 00 $aTT820$b.K335 2019

082 0  $a746.432$223

100 1  $aKaye, London$eauthor

245 10 $aCrochet with London Kaye$bprojects and ideas to yarn bomb your life$cLondon Kaye

264  1 $aNew York, NY$bAbrams$c2019

300    $a175 pages$bcolor illustrations$c25 cm

336    $atext$btxt$0http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/contentTypes/txt

336    $atext$btxt$0http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/contentTypes/txt

336    $astill image$bsti$0http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/contentTypes/sti

337    $aunmediated$bn$0http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/mediaTypes/n

338    $avolume$bnc$0http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/carriers/nc

340    $pillustrations$0http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/millus/ill

500    $acolor illustrations

650  0 $aCrocheting.

650  0 $aCrocheting$vPatterns

650  0 $aYarn bombing.

650  0 $aYarn bombing$vPictorial works

The same record in BIBFRAME is approximately 350 lines of code, this is the first few

<rdf:RDF xmlns:rdf=”http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#” xmlns:zs=”http://docs.oasis-open.org/ns/search-ws/sruResponse” xmlns:bf=”http://id.loc.gov/ontologies/bibframe/” xmlns:bflc=”http://id.loc.gov/ontologies/bflc/” xmlns:madsrdf=”http://www.loc.gov/mads/rdf/v1#” xmlns:rdfs=”http://www.w3.org/2000/01/rdf-schema#”>

<bf:Work rdf:about=”http://bibframe.example.org/20674836#Work”>





<rdfs:label>DLC marc2bibframe2 v1.7.0</rdfs:label>

<bf:generationDate rdf:datatype=”http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema#dateTime”>2022-10-05T21:34:53-04:00</bf:generationDate>




<bf:Status rdf:about=”http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/mstatus/c”>





<bflc:EncodingLevel rdf:about=”http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/menclvl/f”>





<bf:DescriptionConventions rdf:about=”http://id.loc.gov/vocabulary/descriptionConventions/isbd”>

You can see the full record at https://lccn.loc.gov/2018958785/bibframe

If you want to see how it looks in a library catalogue go to http://libris.kb.se/ and select English.

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