Working with MARC

Revision as of 06:31, 13 March 2010 by Bess (Talk | contribs) (Ruby)

Revision as of 06:31, 13 March 2010 by Bess (Talk | contribs) (Ruby)

Working with MaRC

MaRC stands for Machine Readable Cataloging, and many folks in the code4lib community find themselves working with marc records at some point. This page is meant to be a round-up of the tools for working with marc. If you want a general introduction to the standard, the wikipedia article is a good place to start.

Desktop tools


Getting Sample Data

One common question is where to get sample marc records for testing or playing around with. If you work at a library, chances are good that you can get some records out of your ILS (go ask your systems librarian if you don't know how to do this yourself). If you don't work in a library, you can get marc records from the internet archive at

There is a nascent movement within the code4lib community to establish a test set of problematic marc records, especially records that are representative of the kinds of weirdness that is encountered in real libraries. It is hoped that this could eventually become a test corpus against which to run various marc processing implementations. For more information, watch Simon Spero's excellent talk from Code4LibCon 2010.

Searching and Indexing Systems




Getting Started with Zebra - indexing and searching MARC records

Programming libraries



There are quite a few options for manipulating MaRC with perl. You can find many of them at CPAN at





ruby-marc - some notes and recipes for processing MARC files in ruby