MARC history timeline

I’m working on a handful of projects about the history of MARC, and one of the things that would be really useful to me is a good, concise history of the family of MARC formats. I haven’t been able to find quite what I’m looking for, so I decided to make it!

The timeline below is my first, very imperfect attempt at mapping out the big markers in the history of MARC.  A couple of caveats: it is very much the result of my interests and my knowledge (other people would likely highlight other milestones); it is very US-centric (given my familiarity with and interest in MARC21 and USMARC); it is incomplete (I know it is missing things, and hopefully I will add to it over time). I also don’t love this timeline format, but I decided to use this simple but unlovely WordPress plugin until I find something better.

I’d love feedback, suggestions, criticism, etc.  Tell me what I’ve forgotten, point me to other sources, correct me on things I got wrong!  But in the meantime, please enjoy the history of our goofy but lovable data format.


Color code: blue is general policy and history; green is bibliographic format; red is all other formats; yellow is format integration.

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CLR report on automation at Library of Congress

1963

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MARC Pilot Project (MARC I)

1965-1968

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MARC II introduced at ALA

1967-07

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LC releases specification for MARC II

1967-08

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MARC II operational

1969-03

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Serials and maps formats released

1970

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Film format released

1971

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Original manuscript and music formats released

1973

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MARBI takes on role of MARC Advisory Committee

1973

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MARC Authorities Format published

1976

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Review based on publication of AACR2

1978-1979

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Bibliographic formats published together as MARC Format for Bibliographic Data (MFBD)

Each field had “validity designators” for different forms of material.

1980

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The USMARC Principles: The Underlying Principles published

1982

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Format integration broadly undertaken

1983-1988

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USMARC Format for Holdings Data published

First edition

1984

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New edition of Authorities format published

1987

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Discussion Paper 16: Format Integration Considerations released and discussed

1987 (Spring/Summer)

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Proposal 88-1 (Format Integration) voted on and approved, with amendments, by USMARC Advisory Committee and later by LC

1988 (Late Summer)

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USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data published, incorporating format integration changes

1988

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New version of USMARC Format for Holdings Data published

1989

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Provisional format for community information approved by MARC Advisory Committee

1992

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New edition of USMARC Format for Authority Data published

1993

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USMARC Format for Community Information published (first edition)

1993

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New edition of USMARC Format for Bibliographic Data published

1994

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USMARC and CAN/MARC communities work on integration

1994-1997

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Update No. 2 to 1994 edition of authority format published, bringing USMARC and CAN/MARC into alignment

1997-03

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Update No. 3 to 1994 edition bibliographic format published, bringing USMARC and CAN/MARC into alignment

1997-07

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MARC 21 published

1999

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MARC 21 Format for Authority Data published

1999

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MARC 21 Lite Bibliographic Format published

1999-02

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MARC 21 Formats for Authority Data, Holdings Data, and Community Information published

2000

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MARC 21 XML released

2002-05

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British Library adopts MARC 21 to replace UKMARC

2004-06

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New edition of MARC 21 LITE Bibliographic Format published

2006

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RDA/MARC Working Group formed

2008

 

Sources

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