Extras - Product Review - MARCit: Web Site Cataloging Made Easy

Cathy Adamo is currently a cataloger for Cassidy Cataloguing Services, Inc.  She's   worked previously in academic, special and public libraries as a cataloger, dealing with both print and nonprint materials. She  received my MLS from the University of Pittsburgh, and has  bachelor's and master's degrees in Music Education from West Virginia University.

(Archived October 1, 1998)

Nichols Advanced Technologies’ MARCit software is a helpful tool in cataloging Internet resources. MARCit works with your web browser to help you catalog the site of your choice while viewing it on your screen.

When your MARCit software has been loaded, you are ready to catalog away! On opening the program, a floating MARCit button appears on your screen. When you find a site that you want to catalog, you simply click the button to activate MARCit. A template window with labeled text boxes appears. MARCit will automatically fill in the fields labeled URL and title (including general material designation). I noticed that the title which MARCit had automatically filled in for me did not match the title on the screen (which is the chief source of information for Internet resources). The title, like the URL, is taken directly from the browser, and may not be identical to what appears on the web page. All text fields may be edited while running MARCit, however, resulting in less editing after uploading the record into your database.

Using MARCit is a definite time saver when it comes to coding the fixed-length data element (008) and physical description (007) field values. These are automatically plugged into the record. In fact, you don’t even see them in the template window. The values are taken directly from the web site to formulate these fields. MARCit also formulates the leader, control number, date and time of latest transaction (005), cataloging source (040), file characteristics (256), data quality note (514), type of computer file or data note (516), and mode of access note (538).

With the exception of the title and URL, all the information for the other tagged fields must be entered manually. MARCit takes advantage of typical Windows functions, such as copy, cut and paste, and will accept data which has been copied directly from the web site being cataloged, which can be a time-saver. How many fields you use, and how much information you include is up to you. The only mandatory fields are the ones formatted automatically by the MARCit software.

I didn’t think about punctuation until I saw my records in MARC format. There was no punctuation in the 260 field, unless I supplied it (which means thinking about where to put it in the template boxes). 650s didn’t end in periods, either, unless I remembered to put them at the end of the last subject element.

MARCit supplies MARC tags, subfields and indicators for the labeled fields in the template. Each of the LC subject headings which I chose for my records was tagged with a second indicator of 4, even though they are valid LC headings, and one of the 246 tags was given a first indicator of 2. I wasn't quite sure how the indicators were assigned, but figured I could edit them once the records were imported into my database.

Subject headings are fairly easy to formulate using MARCit. There is a pull-down menu for type of heading (topical, local, personal name, corporate name, and geographic name) and additional pull-down menus which enable you to add up to three subdivisions (general, chronological, and geographic). The type of heading/type of subdivision combinations determine the tags and indicators for the subject headings in the record. Additional headings may be added as necessary.

MARCit may be configured to accept LC, Dewey, or local call numbers. Other facets of the program may also be customized for your library, such as cataloging source and notes. This is done by choosing "TOOLS", then "OPTIONS" from the menu bar.

When you are finished cataloging your web site, click on save. Records are saved in a file which can be imported into any system which accepts MARC records. After uploading your file, you should alter it in some way (rename, empty) or delete it. MARCit will append records to the same file if you don't tell it otherwise.

To use MARCit, you need an Internet connection, Microsoft Internet Explorer or Netscape Navigator (v.3.0 or later), and a PC running Windows 95, 98, or NT with 5 MB of hard drive space and 16 MB of RAM. I use a PC with Windows 95 and Netscape 2 and was unable to run MARCit until I downloaded an extra file from MARCit's web site. After installing the new file I had no problem using the program.

For its price ($49.95 per workstation), MARCit can be a big time-saver. I appreciate the fact that I don't have to consult MARC manuals to code the 007 and 008 fields. I also feel that using a template makes cataloging easier because I am prompted for information I may otherwise forget to include in a record.

For more information about MARCit, contact:

Nichols Advanced Technologies, Inc.
8911 Capital City of Texas Highway
Suite 2100
Austin, TX 78759
(800) 642-4648
(512) 342-2827 (fax)