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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


An introduction to the MARC record editing software MarcEdit


While the Find and Replace function (among others) allows for global editing based on regular expressions, there are some more complicated regular expressions which are built into MarcEdit and which can be performed on fields within a record primarily to correct capitalization errors in a particular field or search for missing fields within a batch of records. These operations cannot be incorporated into an automation tool like a task or script. For more information on task management, see Task Management

Accessing Native Regular Expressions

  1. Open the .mrk file by selecting it in the folder, which should open the file in MarcEditor, or open MarcEditor from the MarcEdit home screen and select the file in File > Open.
  2. Each datafield will be indicated by “=XXX” notation, which is fully searchable within MarcEditor.
  3. Select Edit > Edit Shortcuts. Change Case and Field Edits should appear in the menu.
  4. If you highlight and click “Change Case,” you will be presented with the following options:



Lower Case

Converts all characters in selected field to lower case

Upper Case

Converts all characters in selected field to upper case

Title Case

Capitalizes first letter in every word within the specified field.

Initial Case

Capitalizes first letter of first word in specified field. Will not perform operation of a number is the first character in a title.

Capitalize Initial Character

Capitalizes first letter of first word in specified field Will not perform operation of a number is the first character in a title.

If you select field edits you will see the following choices:



Clean Smart Characters Find and replace extra spaces, smart quote characters, and other characters that are not covered well.

Clean ISBD Punctuation

 Clean inconsistent or wrong ISBD characters, 

Correct {lcub}/{rcub} Mnemonic Error 

Correct {lcub}/{rcub} error, which is catching data that shouldn't and causing records to not compile.

Generate Paired ISBN-13 Values

Generate 13 digit ISBN

Find Fields Missing A Word Enter the missing word and fields to find and replace

Find Records Missing Field

Searches document for all records which do not have a specified field. 

Find Records With Duplicate Tags  Help users look for records that may have multiple tags or a tag/subfield combination with a set of records
Insert Generic LDR If Missing Insert missing LDR

Limit Number of Fields

Sets the maximum number of instances of a particular field should be found in each record. 

Replace HTML Entities

Automatically replace HTML entities to UTF8 characters

Swap Fields

Copies data from the 245 field to a specified field. 

One could also convert Degree/Minutes/Seconds to decimal degrees by selecting: Math Functions > Convert to Decimal Degrees

Below are three examples:

Find Records Missing Fields

This function allows users to search for records lacking a particular field, which is built in as a native regular expression in MarcEdit. It cannot be incorporated within an automated task.

  1. Once you have a document open in MarcEdit, select Edit > Edit Shortcuts > Field Edits > Find Records Missing Field as below:


  1. The following dialog box should appear:


Based on the field and subfield data you enter here, MarcEdit will locate all records which are missing that field. Once you have entered the field click OK.

  1. Another dialog box will appear


The field and subfield data will be populated with your entry from the previous dialog box. If you click yes, MarcEdit will search for only records which are missing the particular subfield within the field specified. If you click no, it will search for the missing datafield regardless of subfields. This option will only be presented if a subfield is included as part of your entry in the previous step.

  1. Once you respond MarcEdit will perform the search. If it locates records missing the specified field, this results report will appear:


  1. From here you can highlight a record and click “Jump to Page” to edit or examine that record. You can also save this report by clicking on the yellow folder icon on the left hand corner or copy it to your clipboard by clicking the “copy” icon next to the folder. 

Limit Number of Fields

This function allows users to automatically limit how many of a particular field is present within each record. It will delete “from the bottom,” meaning that if there are three of a particular field in each record and this function is used to limit that field to one, the second and third will be deleted.

  1. Once you have a document open in MarcEdit, select Edit > Edit Shortcuts > Field Edits > Limit Number of Fields
  2. The following dialog box should appear


Enter the field you would like followed by an equal sign then the number of fields you would like to limit. For example, if I wanted to limit the number of 500 fields to 1 I would enter 500=1.

  1. Click OK. MarcEdit will perform the operation. You can see the results of the operation given as an example in step 2 in the image below:


  1. To undo this action select Edit > Special Undo 

Swap Title

Allows users to take information from the 245$a field and copy it or move it into a separate field. This function can only be used on the 245 field. To swap other fields, see Editing Field Data.

  1. Once you have a document open in MarcEdit, select Edit > Edit Shortcuts > Field Edits > Swap Title.
  2. The following dialog box will appear


Enter the field and subfield that you would like the material from the 245$a field to be copied too. This is designed to specifically swap the title field and will keep the data in the 245$a field in addition to placing into the copied field.

  1. When you have entered the new field, click OK.
  2. To undo this action select Edit > Special Undo