Every once in a while I am reminded of the 043 marc field, and fantasize about using it in an interface some day.
It includes coded (controlled) information about the geographical topic of the item cataloged.
It appears in a surprisingly large number of records in many of our corpuses, even though hardly any of our systems do anything at all with it; seems like it could potentially be really useful, yeah?
But, wow, it looks like the relationships in the marc geographic codes are just as odd as the infamous relationships in LCSH.
<gac> <uri>info:lc/vocabulary/gacs/ff</uri> <name authorized="yes">Africa, North</name> <code>ff</code> <uf> <name authorized="yes">Africa, Northwest</name> <uf> <name>Northwest Africa</name> </uf> </uf> <uf> <name authorized="yes">Islamic Empire</name> </uf> <uf> <name authorized="yes">Rome</name> <uf> <name>Roman Empire</name> </uf> </uf> <uf> <name>North Africa</name> </uf> </gac>
“UF” is a thesaural abbreviation for “Used for”. Normally it indicates a non-authorized “lead in” term, but here some of them are labelled “authorized”? That’s the first weird thing.
But more importantly, am I misunderstanding things, or did that just tell me that “Roman Empire” and “Africa, North” are synonyms? That doesn’t seem right. The geographic area “Africa, North” may overlap with the geographic area “Roman Empire”, it may even be entirely subsumed by it, but surely they aren’t synonyms.
Follow the chain further, and, if “UF” is a transitive property (which I can’t understand any meaning of “used for” that would not be), we seem to be told that “Rome” is a synonym for “Africa, North.” I’m pretty sure that Rome is a city and doesn’t overlap with “Africa, North” at all.
Apparently “UF” doesn’t mean at all what one would assume it does. The question remains whether UF means anything that’s actually useable at all.
Note: Providing XML is good, but you’ve got to also provide some documentation of what the heck the XML means, whether by an XML schema or even just good narration.