Working with MARC

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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 Marc Indexed for Search Engines

MARC in Solr



MARC in Zebra

Getting Started with Zebra


MARC Programming Libraries




You can find many packages for working with Marc in Perl of them at CPAN: Most of them fall under the umbrella of the MARC/Perl project on Sourceforge:


File_MARC (Pear package)




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


MARC21 utility

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 bibliographic 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.