Merging Control Numbers into Records Using MarcEdit

So there does exist a document already on this topic, Getting OCLC numbers into your vendor records using MarcEdit but I found the instructions difficult to refer to. I ended up writing my own version with the added instructions on creating a set of MARC records specifically for this purpose. After doing this sort of thing again today, I finally decided to share them.

Once you do this once or twice, you’ll get a hang of it, and it’s actually a fairly simple process, but I always need a reference in case I forget things.

Create a Mini MARC set

Use Case

The example in the document I referred to talks about merging two existing sets of records. The records I work with typically have the control number in a spreadsheet with some of the item’s information (title, author, ISBN, etc.), so the first step is to actually create a set of MARC records with the minimal information needed to merge the control numbers into the main set of MARC records.


To create the mini set of MARC with control numbers, you will need a match point. In the vendor records I’ve been working with, the match point is the ISBN (020). MarcEdit also gives you 010, 022, and 035 as default options, and you can customize it to a certain extent.

  1. Do your work with data in a spreadsheet and make sure you have at a minimum your control number in a column, and match point in a second column (order does not matter). I suggest title as well simply for reference.
  2. Save as Tab Delimited Text (.txt)
  3. In MarcEdit, choose Delimited Text Translator (also under Add-ins).
    • Source file is your tab delimited .txt
    • Output to a filename of your choice
  4. Map each field to its appropriate field. For example,
    • 020$a for ISBN
    • 035$a for control number column
    • 245$a for title
  5. Run it.

You should now have your mini set of MARC records with minimal information for merging purposes. Do take a quick look over to check that everything is there.

Merge into MARC record set

You should now have two sets of records, your mini set and your main set that you want to add control numbers to.

  1. Choose Tools → Merge Records
    • For Source File, select your main MARC records set
    • For Merge File, select the mini MARC set you created
    • Set your output file to your desired location and filename
    • Choose record identifier e.g. 020 to match on ISBN
  2. Click on Next
  3. Choose Merge Selected Fields
  4. Select the field fields you want to import e.g. 035 (control number)
  5. Click on Next

Review the output to make sure they were merged properly, and that’s it.

Author: Cynthia

Technologist, Librarian, Metadata and Technical Services expert, Educator, Mentor, Web Developer, UXer, Accessibility Advocate, Documentarian

3 thoughts on “Merging Control Numbers into Records Using MarcEdit”

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