Possible steps forward for internationalization in MARC and BIBFRAME

Two developments have come to light independently of each other on the listserv for the Committee on Cataloging: Asian and African Materials (CC:AAM) of the American Library Association (ALA).  One is a statement in support of the internationalization of the BIBFRAME effort.  The other is a discussion paper on the introduction of ISO 15924 script tags into the 880 fields of MARC.  Together, they have generated a fair amount of discussion in committees at ALA and online.  I won’t dive to deeply into those discussions here, except to reiterate a point from Karen Coyle that more use cases would be helpful, and to offer that both efforts point to a similar perceived gap in the architecture of bibliographic data.  There have been efforts in the past to integrate parts of BCP 47 into MARC, whether in the 041 field (for ISO 639-3 language tags) or in the 066 field (for ISO 15924 script tags), but the solutions have not been evenly implemented, and leave considerable gaps in the availability of accurate language tagging.  As the use of BIBFRAME becomes more widespread and requirements for accessibility increase, resolution of these efforts in the architecture of our metadata frameworks will become more important.

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