The Library of Congress publishes a set of the standard Geographic Codes that go into catalogue Machine Readable Catalogue (MARC) records. This is now called MARC21 and is just one of the record formats that metadata technicians and cataloguers use to create and structure information in a networked environment.
These are the records you see when you search your local library for items.
The purpose of the geographic codes is to add a fixed version in standardized code form to reflect any geographic subject or relationship of the work in hand. It is actually these fixed forms of information that the computer reads.
For example: We read the words that say “United States,” “Indonesia, “Iran” or “Kenya” in the subject section of the item-record in the catalogue. This text is usually hyper-linked because we can use it to browse other resources that are categorized under the same subjects or have similar geographic relationships. These terms are often added to the 650 or 651 field in the MARC21 records.
But the computer needs standardized forms of this information in order to organize properly. Thus, “United States” is read by the computer as : ‡an-us—, Iran is read as : ‡aa-ir— and Kenya is read as : ‡af-ke— These code marks all go, as many as are needed, into the 043 field.
There is even a code for the whole Earth : ‡ax—— and for the Solar System : ‡azs—–
But the Marc21 Geographic Code list, for all it might be criticized for, is missing a fundamental geographic representation – that of any code to reflect the Internet or any time-space segment of reality connected with CyberSpace.
I think it’s high-time to repair this gaping hole in the Code List.
We need a geographic code that represents the Internet, Cyberspace, the World Wide Web (Inter-webs) – whatever you call it in your language – as a discrete and specific geographic location.
I have ideas too…
We can’t use ‡ai—— (which could stand for Internet) because that is claimed for Indian Ocean. And we can’t claim ‡ac—— (which could stand for Cyberspace) because this has already been claimed for Intercontinental areas (Western Hemisphere). No, we need another code.
And I just happen to have found a gap in the code sequence allowing the perfect code to slot in.
I think we should use : ‡ait—– (to represent the Internet). 🙂 Not only does this code arrangement reflect major letters in “Internet,” but it also accomplishes a secondary goal of reflecting the work of the Internet itself : IT (Information Technology).
This is revolutionary…
Who’s with me?
Thanks for reading.