May 23, 2018

Roy Tennant About Roy Tennant

Roy Tennant is a Senior Program Officer for OCLC Research. He is the owner of the Web4Lib and XML4Lib electronic discussions, and the creator and editor of Current Cites, a current awareness newsletter published every month since 1990. His books include "Technology in Libraries: Essays in Honor of Anne Grodzins Lipow" (2008), "Managing the Digital Library" (2004), "XML in Libraries" (2002), "Practical HTML: A Self-Paced Tutorial" (1996), and "Crossing the Internet Threshold: An Instructional Handbook" (1993). Roy wrote a monthly column on digital libraries for Library Journal for a decade and has written numerous articles in other professional journals. In 2003, he received the American Library Association's LITA/Library Hi Tech Award for Excellence in Communication for Continuing Education. Follow him on Twitter @rtennant.


  1. Steven Schwengel says:

    When mixing and matching data records it seems that we simply have to many choices to find the ideal way to describe, record and recall records.

    When we have to many choices, say choosing one dip of ice cream on a cone from (50) kinds of ice cream can leave us less satisfied as opposed to when we only have say (5) kinds to chose from and are more likely to land on an ideal or just good enough flavor (or descriptor framework).

    When we have to many data choices from the start, the costs of having so many options can become daunting and we miss the simply ‘good enough’ for a ‘nearly perfect’, but not always repeatable description and standard.

    Few people, even in the tech world programming write excellent and perfect queries the first time around. Query creation really is an art. The same thing is true for record descriptions as we all in many ways are artists of the craft of query and record creation.

  2. Denise Machado says:

    I didn’t understand this topic:

    “Some MARC fields are coded with hidden assumptions. Example: A MARC record that describes the author of a printed book has no explicit mention of the author’s role or the physical format of the work. But a MARC record that describes a musical score identifies the material type in a code in the 008 field and the contributor’s role in a $4 field.

    What are the “hidden assumptions”? Could you give another example for this case?


    • The hidden assumptions are that the person named has the role of “author” and the item being described has a physical format of “book”. Those things are not explicitly coded, so therefore they are hidden assumptions.