1. Download and install MarcEdit from http://marcedit.reeset.net
  2. Compile the list of ISBNs for which you want MARC records in a text file, one ISBN per line (you can also use book titles, author etc. but ISBN is the one best able to give you an exact match

  3. Open MarcEdit and open the Z39.50/SRU Client tool


  4. Select Batch Search and open the text file (.txt) with the ISBNs from the step above. Make sure the search parameter is set to ISBN.


  5. Select the database from which you want to download the MARC records. I recommend using U.S. Library of Congress (UTF 8) but you can use any one, or add your own if you have the database credentials).

  6. Click the green arrow to start the download. You will be prompted to save the MARC file
  7. The script will start running and query the chosen database for MARC records matching the ISBNs. For each match, a response will be returned stating “1 records found in database…”. If no record is found, the response will state “0 records found in database”. In this example, 7 out of the 10 ISBNs were matched and the MARC records downloaded to the file you created in the step above. If you are not satisfied with the success rate, change the database and try again.


  8. Open the MARC file in which the results were saved. Select the default character encoding (usually either MARC-8 or UTF8). Check the “Translate to UTF8” option. Then click “Execute” and then “Edit Records”


  9. To import the MARC records into Koha correctly, you will need to add at least two additional fields and related subfields, namely:
    1. 942$c (bibliographic item type) and
    2. 952
      1. Subfield $a (branch code for the home branch),
      2. Subfield $b (branch code for the holding branch),
      3. Subfield $y (Koha item type),
      4. Subfield $p (Koha item barcode), and
      5. Subfield $o (Classification number – in this tutorial, we will simply copy the classification number from field 082$a. More editing will need to be done after import to insert the full call number)
  10. To make it easier, sort the fields by going to Tools > Sort by > Sort fields within the record by > Sort All Fields
  11. Add field 942$c first. Go to Tools > Add/Delete Field. “BK” represents the Koha Item type (in this case BK stands for Books/Workbooks/Booklets. Make sure this matches the item type of your particular set of MARC records. If you are working on different item types, it is better to group them (in step 2 preferrably) and compile the MARC records in batches.
  12. Close the Add/Delete Field dialogue
    1. Under field/sub-field, enter a random number (one that will not be confused with any of the existing fields. In this case, I used 999 because I’m pretty sure it doesn’t conflict with any existing records. And it must have 3 characters. We are going to delete this field eventually, so don’t worry!).
    2. For number prefix, put a prefix that matches the one you will be using for all your other records, including ones which you are going to create directly in Koha.
    3. If this is your first batch, it’s safe to put “1” as your Start Digit. Otherwise, make sure you continue your existing bar-code sequence.
    4. Make sure your Digit Length also matches all your existing bar-codes.
    5. Select the first 3 options (Always insert, Insert in new records, Generate in current file).
    6. Click OK. All your records should now have field 999$a with bar-codes in the format {prefix}{xxxx} (if you chose to use a prefix that is. In this tutorial, it looks like this: KOHA0003).

  13. Next, you want to create bar-codes for the records and place them in field 952 (under sub-field “p”). Go to Tools > Generate Control Numbers.
  14. Next, you want to add field 952. This has more subfields, and in this example, we are only going to add 5 (you can add more should you need to – please refer to this article for more info https://wiki.koha-community.org/wiki/Holdings_data_fields_(9xx)). In this tutorial, the home branch code is KOHA, the holding branch code is KOHA, the Koha item type is BK, the barcode is in the format KOHAxxxx, and the call number will be copied from field 082$a.
  15. Go to Tools > Build New Field and enter the following in the “Pattern” field – =952 \\$aKOHA$bKOHA$yBK$o{082$a}$p{999$a} (remember to replace the variables in the subfields with your own branch specific data). Click process and close the dialogue box.


  16. All your records should now have a field 952 populated with subfield data.


  17. Now you can delete the arbitrary field 999 created earlier. Go to Tools > Add/Delete Field. Input 999 under “Field” and click “Delete Field”. Close the dialogue


  18. Compile the records into MARC records. Go to File > Compile File into MARC. Choose a location in which to save the .mrc file and enter the file name. Under “Save as type”, select UTF8-MARC file (unless you are using another format).
  19. Open your Koha admin page and go to Tools >Catalog > Stage MARC records for import
  20. Choose the file you save in the step above and click “Upload file”
  21. On the next page, select the options you want. If you are not sure what to choose, leave everything as default. It’s a good idea to fill in the “Comments about this file” section – use concise but adequate description that will help you to identify the sort of MARC records being staged for future reference.
  22. Click “Stage for import” then, on the next page, click “Manage staged records”
  23. Select the correct framework for the new records and click “Import this batch into the catalog”
  24. You have successfully created MARC records using ISBNs and MarcEdit!