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Working with MARC files


Teaching: 0 min
Exercises: 0 min
  • What is a MARC binary file?

  • What does it mean to break and make a MARC file and how do I open a file of MARC records in MARCedit?

  • Why is encoding important?

  • Explain the difference between mrc and mrk MARC file formats

  • Successfully break and open a file of MARC records

  • Explain encoding and its importance

Working with MARC files

MarcEdit recognizes the following MARC file types:

File type File extension Usage
Binary MARC file mrc File format typically used in an ILS or LSP. Other file extensions provided by vendors (ex. marc, dat, bin) are equivalent.
Mnemonic MARC Text File mrk File format used by MarcEdit.
MARC UTF-8 Text File mrk8 Legacy file format for MARC mnemonic files saved with UTF8 encoding.
MARCXML file xml  
MODS file xml
Text files txt

However, to work with a MARC file in the MARCEditor your file needs to be in MARC mnemonic format.

MARC Tools

MarcEdit’s MARC Tools allows you to transform between different data formats recognized by MarcEdit. To transform our binary MARC file into MARC mnemonic text format you use the MarcBreaker.

Break a MARC (.mrc) file to use in the MarcEditor

  1. Launch MarcEdit and from the main menu select MARC Tools.
  2. Within MARC Tools, under Select Operation click » MARCBreaker.
  3. Under Select Data to Process click the file folder image to the right of the Open box, from here navigate to where you have saved the sample MARC data file (.mrc) and double click to select.
  4. Next, you will need save your file in the MARC mnemonic format by clicking the file folder to the right of the Save As box. Select the location and name you would like to give you new file.
  5. Under Character encoding select UTF8 as default character encoding.
  6. Click execute. Once you click execute the newly created .mrk file will open in the MarcEditor.

Add image here.

Character Encoding

To ensure the integrity of your data you need to select the correct character encoding for your dataset. MarcEdit does not automatically detect character encoding, however, UTF8 is set as the default encoding scheme. You can update the encoding scheme when using the MarcBreaker, or you can update the default in Preferences → MarEditor → Default Encoding. For more information on character encoding and translating from one encoding to another, see The MarcEdit Field Guide

Key Points

  • MarcEdit can work with a variety of file formats

  • MARC Tools allow you to convert data from one file format to another

  • The MarcEditor works with a MarcEdit specific mnemonic format of MARC records (.mrk)