MARC (was Re: Thoughts on manual database design?)

Fred Cisin cisin at
Sun Sep 27 13:05:50 CDT 2015

On Sat, 26 Sep 2015, Steve Algernon wrote:
> Not sure if it's relevant:
> My brother was one of the few engineers on this product, in Palo Alto. 
> The software ran on dozens of different machines and architectures, 
> using the most portable language of the day: Fortran 77.  I believe MARC 
> was the umbrella name/company for a number of different products.

OCLC and Library Of Congress are sure going to be surprised that their 
MAchine-Readable-Cataloging system is the umbrella name/company for a 
number of unrelated products!   Was Z39.50 similarly commercialized?

MARC can be very efficient or very bloated.  For example, if you allocate 
arrays for all fields, then a record can be up to 250K (think 8" SSSD). 
But, with even half-assed dynamic allocation to use the space needed, 
rather than the maximum that it could be, a very crude MARC record editor 
can be done on an Atari Portfolio.

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