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MARC Records

VuFind® was initially designed with the MARC bibliographic record format in mind, though additional formats are supported through the use of Record Drivers starting with version 1.0. For general information on MARC, see Understanding MARC Bibliographic from the Library of Congress. The Code4Lib Working with MARC page also provides some useful tools.

Importing Records

VuFind® comes packaged with the SolrMarc tool for importing MARC records. Follow these steps to take advantage of it.

1. Export the Records

Before you can load the records into VuFind®, you need to get them out of your Integrated Library System (ILS). If you are just testing VuFind®, you can also download sample records from sources listed lower on this page.

Every ILS has a different procedure for exporting records, and detailing all of them is beyond the scope of this document. Check your ILS documentation or talk to your vendor if you need help. You can also check the MARC Export Notes page to see if there are notes specific to your ILS; please consider adding to the page if you have knowledge to share. If you still need help, you can always ask on the mailing lists on the Support page – the VuFind® community is always happy to help when it can.

Keep these notes in mind to ensure that your records can be imported without any problems:

  • Export your records in either binary (ISO2709) MARC format, or MARC-XML, not human-readable ASCII. If for some reason you cannot export the records into binary or XML form, you can use a tool like yaz-marcdump from the YAZ toolkit to convert one MARC format to another.
  • Make sure your resulting file has a “.mrc” extension if in ISO2709 format, or a “.xml” extension if in MARCXML. Most versions of SolrMarc require that you differentiate formats with these extensions, so it is a good practice to use them to be on the safe side.
  • Each exported record must contain a unique identifier so that VuFind® can tell it apart from the others. We recommend including your ILS's bibliographic record ID in the exported data for this purpose; you may need to add a special configuration option to your ILS's exporter to make this happen. VuFind®'s importer expects to find the unique ID in the 001 field, but you can customize this by editing the marc.properties file (for more details, see Customizing Import Mappings).

2. Configure the Importer

The import tool relies on settings in import/import.properties. If this is the first time you are indexing, make sure that file paths and URLs in this file are correct for your setup. For more details on what everything means, see the SolrMarc documentation.

3. Import the Records

To begin an import, follow the platform-specific instructions listed below. This may take hours or days for very large data sets!

Linux Method

Switch to your VuFind® installation directory and run:

./import-marc.sh your_records_file.mrc

Windows Method

Switch to your VuFind® installation directory and run:

import-marc.bat your_records_file.mrc

Advanced Options

Indexing Multiple Files

Starting with VuFind® 9.1, you can provide any number of filenames in your call to the import script, and SolrMarc will load all of them. Calling the script once with many files will run faster than calling it once per file, since it reduces the amount of startup/shutdown overhead.

Specifying a Custom Configuration

In both Linux and Windows, you can use the optional “-p” switch to override SolrMarc's default import.properties file with a different file. For example:

./import-marc.sh -p /usr/local/vufind/import/custom.properties your_records.mrc

This may be useful if you need to import different sets of records using different mappings.

For more details, see Managing Multiple SolrMarc Configurations.

Importing Authority Records

It is also possible to import authority records into VuFind®'s separate authority index (see the Authority Control page for more details). A special tool (import-marc-auth.sh under Linux, import-marc-auth.bat under Windows) is provided to help with this. This works exactly like the standard import-marc script, except the SolrMarc settings are found in import/import_auth.properties, the default MARC mappings are found in import/marc_auth.properties, and you may provide a second parameter after the MARC filename to specify a set of additional MARC mappings to override the defaults in marc_auth.properties.

Important: The default properties assume a unique identifier in the 010 field. If your identifiers are in 001 (common for ILS exports), specify marc_auth_ils.properties as the second parameter of the script. If your identifiers are somewhere else, you may need to build your own custom properties.

Authority data is currently used in two ways: it can be searched through the simple Authority module (found at http://your_server/vufind/Authority/Home), and it provides “see also” and “use instead” references within the index generated by the Alphabetical Heading Browse feature. Additionally, you can choose to activate the Authority Recommend module which will provide Search recommendations to users based on a search of the Authority Index for their current search terms. E.g., if users search for a known pseudonym, the Authority Recommend module will suggest that they search for the registered heading instead.

4. Restart VuFind®

If the imported records do not show up in VuFind® immediately, you will have to restart the program as described here.

5. Optimize Your Index

For improved performance (and, if applicable, correct spellchecker behavior), it is a good idea to optimize your Solr index after you import records.

Customizing SolrMarc

See the SolrMarc page for more details on how you can customize the behavior of the import process to meet your needs.

Indexing Full Text

It is possible to harvest full text from URLs found in MARC records. This requires that you first install a full-text extraction tool and then uncomment the appropriate fulltext line in import/marc_local.properties. Comments in the property file explain exactly how the functionality works. Full text indexing is disabled by default.

Sources for Sample Records

This section is for listing sources of binary MARC records helpful for testing purposes if you want to try VuFind® without using your own records:

The Indexing MARC Records video provides an overview of some of the information found on this page.

indexing/marc.txt · Last modified: 2023/07/21 11:27 by demiankatz