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Marking Progress, Part Two
The first installment of the "Marking Progress" series (AL, June, p. 134) summarized the pre-PC stage of computing as being an era in which textual data, both structured and unstructured, was stored in proprietary database management structures and "marked up" by proprietary word processors. In such a fractured environment, it was necessary to create "lingua franca" for transporting structured and unstructured data.
A bibliographic record is an example of data that must be stored in a structured format in order to be processed by a computer program. Early on, the library community realized that if bibliographic records were going to be transferable from one proprietary computer system to another, a …