Importing records from external databases

Libraries Australia functionality allows you to import MARC records from external databases. The import functionality applies only to those search databases that support the export of MARC records. Not all the search databases available through Libraries Australia have this facility.

You are required to search the Australian National Bibliographic Database (ANBD) before you import a record to ensure that you will not be adding a duplicate record to the database.

When importing a record from an external target it is likely that it will need editing before it can be added to the ANBD.

There are a number of general editing guidelines that should be followed when importing records:

  1. Remove any fields that are pertinent only to the system where the record originated. Fields that fall into this category include 001, 003, 005, and 035*.
  2. Remove all institution specific data (ISD). ISD is usually defined as data that is applicable only to the institution that created it or to a specific copy of a work within that library and because of this it is not be shared with other libraries. Fields that fall into this category usually begin with or contain a 9, e.g. 9XX, 099, 59X, 790. There is one standard MARC21 exception – field 490 (Series untraced or traced differently). General note fields containing copy specific information should also be removed, e.g. 500 $a"No. 345 of a limited edition of 500".
  3. Remove or modify any data that does not meet Libraries Australia cataloguing standards (e.g. names constructed according to earlier cataloguing rules, nonstandard content in coded data). For some assistance with standard coded data content please see Conventions for Cataloguing in a network.
  4. Remove any holdings on the record and add your own locations after the record has been successfully saved in the ANBD.
  5. Retain the original cataloguing agency’s symbol found in field 040 $a.
  6. When importing records with non-Roman script, edit the $7 script subfield in parallel tags if necessary.

*Libraries Australia records will be matched against records in the OCLC database on a regular basis. The OCLC number will automatically be inserted into matching ANBD records. Please do NOT manually add tag 035 to any record you import from OCLC.

$7 Script subfield

Check that records with non-Roman script carry the correct script code in the $7 script subfield. Edit the $7 script subfield as required to indicate the language of the script in the tag, inserting the appropriate script code.

The following codes should be used:

ba Latin
ca Cyrillic
cjk Chinese
cjk Japanese
cjk Korean
fa Arabic
ga Greek
ha Hebrew
ia Thai
ja Devanagari
la Tamil
ma Georgian
zz Other
700 0#$607$7ba$aMingkhwan Thornsirikul.
700 0#$607$7cjk$a
should be changed to:
700 0#$607$7ba$aMingkhwan Thornsirikul.
700 0#$607$7ia$a

MARC field 040 in imported records

Regardless of which database a record is imported from, the 040 $a subfield should always contain the original cataloguing agency's symbol, ie DLC, CStRLIN, NZNB. Add a $d for the database where you found the record if it is not already present. Most of the database symbols used in Field 040 are international symbols taken directly from the MARC codes for Organizations, the exception being that we use NZNB for Te Puna records, rather than the MARC code Nz.

The codes you will need when importing MARC records from Libraries Australia target databases are:

CstRLIN Research Libraries Group Union Catalogue
DLC Library of Congress
HkCU Chinese University of Hong Kong
HkU University of Hong Kong
HkUST Hong Kong University of Science and Technology
JaToWDT Waseda University
NZNB Te Puna
Uk British Library
Your own NUC symbol
eg. $aOCoLC$cNl$dNZNB$dNSL

The remaining target databases do not support the export of MARC records.

The common subfield codes in the 040 field are:

$a = Original cataloguing agency

i.e. the Library symbol of the organisation that created the original content for the record. When importing a record from an external target cataloguers should retain the existing library symbol.

$b = Language of cataloging

i.e. the language used when cataloguing. A code is used for the language. This is the language used for the physical description, notes and subject headings. When importing a record from an external target, cataloguers should remember that Libraries Australia expects this language to be English. The language of the cataloguing is assumed to be English if the $b subfield is not present. It is also permissible to have a $beng. Records where the language of cataloguing is not English have to be amended before being imported to Libraries Australia.

$c = Transcribing agency

i.e. the Library symbol of the organisation that transcribed the record into machine readable form. When importing a record from an external target, cataloguers should retain the existing library symbol in this field. If copying an authority record from LCNA, cataloguers may provide their own library symbol in this field.

$d = Modifying agency

i.e. the Library symbol for the organisation responsible for modifying a record. A modification is defined as any correction to a record, including cataloguing, content designation, or keying changes, but not including the addition of a holdings statement. In Libraries Australia practice $d is also used to input the symbol of the database where the record was found (if not already present in the field) and the symbol of the library that imported the record.

$e = Description conventions

i.e. the description rules used in creating the record. All Resouce Description and Access (RDA) records should have 'rda' added.


040 $aNSL$cNSL

[Record originally created and transcribed at the State Library of New South Wales]

040 $aDLC$cNSL

[Authority record originally created by the Library of Congress and transcribed from LCNA or LCSH onto Libraries Australia by the State Library of New South Wales]

040 $aDLC$cDLC$dNSL

[Record created in and copied from the Library of Congress and modified by the State Library of New South Wales]


[Record originally created by LC then copied from OCLC by the National Library]

040 $aNSL$erda

[Record originally created at the State Library of New South Wales with Resource Description Access]

Importing records from an external database Via Libraries Australia Search

You can search external databases, such as Library of Congress catalogue, to find bibliographic records (see Chapter 3). Having found the bibliographic record you want, you can then import (or add) the record to the ANBD and then add your library's holdings.

Please note that databases use their own record schema and records that are not in MARC21 format cannot be imported. Therefore there is no Librarian’s (MARC) view or Import record button when viewing records from ARO, APAIS/APAFT or PictureAustralia.

When you have found the record you wish to import, go to the Full View of the record and click on the Import Record button.

You will then be taken to a screen where the data you have entered into the web cataloguing form appears in a box with MARC codes and numbers. The codes and numbers will appear in PICA MARC format. The PICA MARC format is a version of MARC used by the Libraries Australia Cataloguing Client which has been developed by the OCLC/PICA company in the Netherlands. More information about these codes and numbers can be found at:

If you wish to add the new record to the ANBD, click on the Save button. You will then be taken through to the Holdings screen and then follow directions below.

Adding your holdings

The holdings screen will have a red number at the top of the page. This number is the ANBD number, a unique number identifying this record. You can find this exact record by searching on the ANBD number (ignore the last digit – this is the check digit) using the Number index in Advanced Search. The bibliographic record you have entered will appear on the screen.

The following information will be displayed:

Inserted: This is the date that the record was inserted.

Modified: This is the date that the record was last modified.

Status: This is the status of the record.

Add relevant information:

NUC: This is the National Union Catalogue code of your library. If you are unsure ofyour NUC code you can find it using ILRS:

Call no: This is the call number of the item you are cataloguing.

Local system no.: If your library has a local identifying number for this item, enter ithere.

Serial volume nos.: This is the volume number/s if you are entering a serial/journal. Serial dates: These are the dates of the serial you are entering.

Completeness note: This is the completeness note for serials (850$h). Referral note: This is the referral note for serials (850$k).

Retention period: This is the retention and guaranteed subscription note for serials(850$x).

URI: The Uniform Resource ID field is to be used for URLs of electronic resourcesavailable only through local access. This is the 956 tag. For example, if your library only offers access to a particular electronic database for your patrons, and not all people, put the URL of this electronic resource in the URI field. The URI field will only be visible to your patrons. URLs for freely and/or widely available electronic resources should be included on the main web cataloguing form page under URL.

Once you have entered in the holdings screen information, click on the Save button.

Importing records from an external database Via the Cataloguing Client

Cataloguers can search external databases through the Client and import a bibliographic record directly into the Client for editing and saving. Only those databases that support the export of MARC records are available for searching and importing a record.

Searching of these databases is included in your subscription fee.

1. Open the external databases broadcast search screen:

a. log in to the cataloguing client

b. select Libraries Australia

c. select NBU

d. type ‘ext f’ into the command line

This will take you to the broadcast search screen for external databases.

Alternatively, click on the ‘external databases’ button to reach the external database broadcast search screen.

NOTE: To return to the ANBD click on the ‘ANBD’ button or type ‘fil 1.1’ in the command line.

You can select any or all of the listed databases by clicking in the box beside each database name.

To check how you can search each database, see Appendix 7 of the Cataloguing Client Manual

2. Search and display the record you wish to import.

3. Click ‘copy external bib’ button. This takes you to a new screen which displays the copied record. NOTE: those tags which relate to the record you copied will be deleted, for example, the record number, 9XX tags and so on, but ISBNs and ISSNs, for example, will be copied.

4. Use Save to save and validate the record or edit the record then Save. To discard without saving, use the back arrow button.

Adding Holdings

Click on the Add Holdings button, this will add a basic Holdings record which you can then edit,

e* 850 ##$c 

Add your holdings to the $c subfield and add other subfields as required. Use the F1 key to take you to the Help screen for Holdings, or see Figure 1 Holdings subfields.

NOTE: Do not add a $a with your NUC symbol to the Holding, it will be automatically added when you Save the record.

Save the record when you have finished adding your holdings. Check the Holdings and your NUC symbol, which should have been automatically added as a $a.

Holdings: MARC Tags and Subfields

Subfields in bold are repeatable.

Figure 1: Holdings subfields

Tags Subfields Meanings
850 a Holding institution (NUC symbol)
b Local system number
c Call number information
e Serials volume numbering
g Serial dates
h Serials completeness note
k Serials referral note
x Serials retention & guaranteed subscription note