About MarcEdit

MarcEdit quick-facts


MarcEdit was initially conceived in the summer of 1999, and finished largely in response to a major database clean-up project that had been planned for the Oregon State University’s electronic catalog. The problem was simple; a large number of Marcive records were entering the database with invalid call numbers. The problem had been discovered over the summer, and our initial response was to correct our Marcive profile. The problem, however, was that no one knew how many incorrect records had made it into our system. So we began pulling together list of data in an effort to see how much work needed to be done. The results were staggering–45,000 records needed to be corrected in the database. These records were mainly from series in which we had classed documents materials into LC, rather then using the SuDoc numbers contained in the Marcive records.

However, by luck or maybe just chance, I had been developing a Windows-based alternative to the Library of Congress’s MARCBreakr/MARCMakr. I’ve always enjoyed using LC’s DOS utility to perform small database projects, but when I upgraded to Windows 2000, I found that I could no longer use their software. So I started to develop my own utility to suit my needs. However, rather then simply creating a clone of LC’s utility, I decided to create an application that could both function as a “traditional” windows application, but also had the ability to be used and integrated with other software applications and programming/scripting languages like the Windows Scripting Host, PERL or C++. This required that the application be designed using Microsoft’s COM architecture, and meant that I had some learning to do.

As the clean-up project approached, I raced to complete a workable MARC engine that could be accessed through the Windows Scripting Host (WSH). I had abandoned by plans to develop a GUI-based application, and decided to focus only on providing enough functionality to complete this project. And in the end, I did finish. Working entirely on my own, by the light of my small computer lamp in my den, I hacked out the code for the application. Once finished, I wrote a handful of scripts, and then began “flipping” call number data. In the end, all 45,000 records were able to be corrected in just a handful of hours. This allowed our staff ample time to verify the corrections and fix “false flips”, and provide access to these materials by the beginning of Fall term. The project was a big success.

Yet, even with this success, I had honestly planned to drop development of MarcEdit. The necessary work required to create an intuitive GUI-based application was a little daunting, and since myself, and Kyle Banerjee were the only two using the application, it didn’t seem worth the time. But after much prompting and cajoling by Kyle, I finally decided to finish the application. It took another couple of months, but I finally had something. Again, Kyle got after me to make MarcEdit available to the library community as a whole, and again I was reluctant. With so many good applications available, I wasn’t sure what MarcEdit had to offer. But again, I relented, and made the application available to the public at large, free for anyone to download and use. In retrospect, I’m glad I listened to Kyle. The program has proven to be an invaluable tool for me in performing database maintenance tasks. And I am assuming, useful to the tens of thousands of users that have downloaded the application throughout the globe, and to the many more that continue to download this application daily. It is my hope that MarcEdit will continue to be a useful program for them today, and well into the foreseeable future.