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Opac Network in Europe- II

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Electronic cataloguing, leading libraries into the future

Standardizing electronic bibliographic services in order to make research efficient, simple and cost effective, is an ambitious and worthwhile enterprise considering the amount of time, money and effort most people and organizations need to spend gathering information.

Digital Economy

MARC, an acronym for MAchine Readable Cataloguing is the next generation of language platforms designed to address specific functional difficulties in electronic access to library databases and catalogues. Adopted by the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions to help standardise and integrate their services, with the intention to digitise Public Libraries into a network of across the board compatible data, regardless of the differences in cataloguing practices in already pre-existing data structures that libraries may have. Since most libraries provide identical services, and since MARC is primarily service orientated, having a compatible platform exchange between them makes viable financial sense and provides an excellent function for would be users. Indeed, focusing on the business of information exchange, MARC contends with the necessity of offering information seekers the facility of online payment along with all the ease and security such a service demands. MARC can also deal with item orders, inter-library loans and electronic document delivery, making it truly a program with a broad category of applications. Based on, but not limited to the Z39.50 and the OPAC systems formally used by professional data gatherers, MARC revolutionizes the digital world through it's sophisticated applets of heuristic tags and meta-data labelling, making it easy to track, trace, update, catalogue, copy, find and retrieve information of an electronic nature. Adaptable as it is, MARC will also make it possible for information sources, such as museums, research facilities and public domains to contribute, store or utilize data in the community of networked systems. Multiple formats have always undermined the effectiveness of networked information sources. More than typically, information had often to be converted into a “readable” format. With MARC's entry into the electronic media world, compatibility problems are simply removed. MARC flawlessly integrates search criteria with standard HTML, XML, SGML, MPEG, JPEG, PDF, TXT and GIFF formats that are congenial with most interfaces out there and are, therefore, more accessible and user friendly to the general public. MARC may not only prove to make libraries and information source providers more trenchant, but given its simplicity and potential, it'll help make researchers and research in general more effective.

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