Welcome to the Medlane project

The Medlane project is an experiment by Lane Medical Library to investigate new methods for making library information available to the public. Current library information is segregated from other information resources on the World Wide Web due to its archaic communications and, often, storage format. The Medlane project is investigating recasting library information into a more universally accepted format, XML (the eXtensible Markup Language).

XML, the lingua franca of the World Wide Web, was chosen for its open nature and platform independence. In addition to converting library information into a Web friendly format, we are experiementing with a "Web services" approach to library systems. By creating a more modular architecture and a Web friendly library information schema we hope to ensure the relevance of library information well into the next century.

The History of the Medlane project

The Medlane project started in 1998 when staff at Lane Medical Library recognized that our growing number of digital resources were becoming segregated from the library's traditional print resources. Understanding that the traditional resources needed to be better integrated with our rapidly growing repository of digital texts, databases, and metadata records, staff at Lane Medical Library started experimenting with XML to convey, and possibly store, library information.

The first product released by the Medlane project for public review was the XMLMARC program. XMLMARC converts MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) into XML using a map file that describes the MARC to XML transformations. Originally, the mapping language was expressed in XML, but contained logical instructions embedded within XML tags. The XML produced by the original XMLMARC program conformed to a "MARC-like" DTD (Document Type Definition) distributed with the program as a proof of concept.

Slowed a little by the implementation of a new library system, work on the Medlane project continues. The XMLMARC program has been completely rewritten to be compliant with the GNU GPL license; it has also been redesigned to use a new mapping language, MARCUTL (the MARC Update and Transformation Language). In the process of rewritting the program, a more complete MARC API (Application Programming Interface) was also developed. This API, along with the new mapping language, allows the XMLMARC program to make changes to MARC records (retaining their MARC format) or to convert MARC records into XML.

Lane staff have also recently finished our new XML schema. We intend it to replace the "proof of concept" one originally distributed with the XMLMARC program. The schema, named XOBIS (the XML Organic Bibliography Information Schema), is currently available for public review. Unlike other library information XML schemas, XOBIS attempts to build on XML's strengths while retaining the full set of library information. Most alternatives to XOBIS either literally reproduce the MARC format in XML or they only attempt to map a subset of the data traditionally stored in bibliographic and authority MARC records.

Those interested in learning more about XOBIS or the XMLMARC program are encouraged to visit their Web sites. We have created mailing lists for these projects and encourage those interested in contributing or tracking their progress to subscribe. There is also a general discussion of the Medlane project on the Medlane mailing list. Thank you for your interest in the Medlane project. Feedback, suggestions, questions, or comments are always welcome.

Current Medlane Staff
Dick Miller (Sept. 1998- )
Mary Buttner (Sept. 1998- )
Kevin S. Clarke (May 2000- )
Jo Wang (July 1999- )
Randy Woelfel (Sept. 1998- )
Pamela M. Murnane (Sept. 1998-Dec. 1999; Sept 2001- )
Charles Yates (July 2001- )
Danjin Zhu (Jan. 2002- )
Other Contributors

Asad Rao Khan (Jan. 2000-Aug. 2000)

Maria Feng (Sept. 1998-2004)
Prisdha Dharma (Jan. 1999-Dec. 1999)

Rebecca Wesley (Apr. 2000-2004)

Todd C. Grappone (Sept. 1998-2004)

Ying Li (Sept. 1998-2004)

News and Updates

2005-03-25  Site changing servers; Medlane will represent Lane efforts

XMLMARC being rewritten to use a MARCUTL Relax NG schema (instead of the DTD).

Bibliography and FAQs
Select Publications

Putting XML to work in the library: Tools for improving access and management. Published by: American Library Association, October 2003
Available for purchase

XOBIS an Experimental Schema for Unifying Bibliographic and Authority Records. Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. 2004; 39(3/4):[in press]. Preprint

Introducing XOBIS to the FRBR Working Group (2003). International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Annual Conference. August 4, 2003, Berlin, Germany

HTML (English)  
PDF (English)

The Race is on: XML, XOBIS, and the pursuit of eXcellence. Ohio Valley Group of Technical Services Librarians. 2003-05-15 Terre Haute, Indiana

HTML (English)  
PDF (English)

MARC and XML: A Choice or Replacement? Access2002 Conference, Oct. 22, Windsor, Ontario

HTML (English)  
PDF (English)

Updating MARC Records with XMLMARC. Published in: XML in Libraries. Edited by: Tennant, Roy. Published by: Neal-Schuman, 2002.

Available for purchase:
Online at BooksAMillion

Managing MARC with Open Source Software. Published in: Open Source Software for Libraries: An Open Source for Libraries Collaboration (LITA Guide #9). 2002.

More information online

Adding Luster to Librarianship: XML as an Enabling Technology. MLGSCA/NCNMLG Joint Meeting January 31, 2002

HTML (English)  
PDF (English)

XML: Libraries' Strategic Opportunity. Library Journal. Net Connect Supplement. Summer 2000

HTML (English)
PDF (English)
HTML (Korean)
HTML (Chinese)
PDF (Chinese)



Last edited 2005-03-25
If you have any questions about this site or the Medlane project, please find the appropriate contact person on the Medlane FAQs page.