Koha ILS

Preparing Records for Koha Import

Hello everyone! I’d like to talk to you about a topic I tend to see a lot in the tickets I work on: preparing records for import. Many of our partners receive records from e-book vendors or other sources that require them to edit and add Koha’s item tag. So, for those of you that appreciate written instructions, I thought I’d share the process that I myself go through in MarcEdit.

First, I’ll say that your records will always need the following in the 952 tag (which is Koha’s item tag):

$a branchcode (home branch)
$b branchcode (holding branch)
$y for item type

You will need to have the item types in Koha before you import. To add an item type, click on “Koha administration” on your main/home Koha page. Under Basic Parameters, click on “Item types”. Now, click on “New item type”, and add the item type you need.

In the field for Item type you will need to enter a code for the new type. Codes have to be ten characters or less, cannot contain spaces or special characters, and must be uppercase. For example, your e-books’ type could be “EBOOK”. The Description field is where you will put the type as it will actually appear in your OPAC. So, put in the description of what you want your patrons to see. You could enter something like “E-books” or “Ebooks”, etc.

Your branchcode is found by going to Koha administration -> Basic parameters -> and clicking on “Libraries and groups”.

Now that you’ve got the codes, you’re ready to edit the records! Once you’ve downloaded MarcEdit, the program should automatically open your .mrc files for you.

1) In the first window that pops up, click on the box next to “Translate to UTF8” (UTF8 is the default encoding used by Koha. If you notice your diacritics look wonky using this encoding, you might need to select a different encoding to begin with).
-click on the Execute button
-once available, click on the Edit Records button

2) Add the 952 tag and the necessary subfields to your records:
-go to Tools in the middle of the toolbar at the top of the window
-select “Add/Delete Field” from the drop-down list
-under Field, select “952”
-under Field Data, write your subfields and their corresponding data
(here is where you enter the codes, not descriptions, for your item type and branch)
-click Add Field

3) Compile the file back into marc:
-go to File, the first option in the toolbar at the top of the window
-select “Compile File into MARC”
-in the File name box, rename your file
-for Save as type, select UTF-8 MARC File

4) Close the window and choose whether or not to save the changes you’ve made to the current marc file.

And those are the basics! Of course there are other fields you can add too, but these three are absolutely required for getting items to display and import properly. For those of you that are visual learners, these are links to some videos from our website where you can see the process from beginning to end:

Hope this helps!


Adding the 942$c bibliographic item type can also be done during this process! Here’s how to do that (same process as #2):

-go to Tools in the middle of the toolbar at the top of the window
-select “Add/Delete Field” from the drop-down list
-under Field, select “942”
-under Field Data, write your subfield and theitem type code
(just the code, not description, for your item type)
-example: $cEBOOK
-click Add Field

Continue on to #3!