Future of UNIMARC

IFLA’s UNIMARC encoding and exchange format has undergone a major transformation with the adoption of a new entity-relationship (ER) conceptual model the IFLA Library Reference Model (IFLA LRM), which brings innovative cataloguing approaches for the digital environment. This shift from traditional metadata practices suggests promising benefits for both libraries and end-users. The key transformations and improvements to UNIMARC are:

  • Two cataloguing tracks: UNIMARC has evolved to provide two cataloguing options: 1) UNIMARC-ER (entity-relationship cataloguing) and 2) the “traditional” UNIMARC cataloguing. This flexibility allows agencies (institutions, networks etc.) to choose the most suitable track for their specific needs.
  • Entities and relationships: UNIMARC now accommodates almost all aspects of the IFLA LRM model, expanding UNIMARC’s scope, cataloguing choices and future potential.
  • UNIMARC-ER features: UNIMARC-ER supports a highly structured approach to library data. It enables enriched description and comprehensiveness. Entity records are created using the UNIMARC Authorities Format or the Bibliographic Format, depending on the entity type. The format retains familiar fields and elements from the “traditional” UNIMARC, supplemented by specific fields and scope of usage.

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The “Future of UNIMARC” project aims to facilitate exchanging, sharing and generating knowledge about the future of UNIMARC. The project focuses on exploring UNIMARC’s range of uses, increasing familiarity with its entity-relationship (ER) cataloguing track, and gathering information about the library community’s needs. This could be done through exploring current and future trends within the information technologies sector, gaining more knowledge as to where we stand now, what do and should we expect from UNIMARC in the future, taking into account all aspects of the format.