Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Eclipse Editor for MARC Records

Academic journal article Information Technology and Libraries

Eclipse Editor for MARC Records

Article excerpt


Editing bibliographic data is an important part of library information systems. In this paper we discuss existing approaches in developing user interfaces for editing MARC records. There are two basic approaches: screen forms that support entering bibliographic data without knowledge of the MARC structure, and direct editing of MARC records shown on the screen. This paper presents the Eclipse editor, which fully supports editing of MARC records. It is written in Java as an Eclipse plug-in, so it is platform-independent. It can be extended for use with any data store. The paper also presents a Rich Client Platform (RCP) application made of a MARC editor plug-in, which can be used outside of Eclipse. The practical application of the results is integration of the RCP application into the BISIS library information system.


An important module of every library information system (LIS) is one for editing bibliographic records (i.e., cataloguing). Most library information systems store their bibliographic data in a form of MARC records. Some of them support cataloging by direct-editing of MARC record; others have a user interface that enables entering bibliographic data by a user who knows nothing about how MARC records are organized.

The subject of this paper is user interfaces for editing MARC records. It gives software requirements and analyzes existing approaches in this field. As the main part of the paper, we present the Eclipse editor for MARC records, developed at the University of Novi Sad, as a part of the BISIS library information system. Eclipse uses the MARC 21 variant of the MARC format.

The remainder of this paper describes the motivation for the research, presents the software requirements for cataloging according to MARC standards, and provides background on the MARC 21 format. It also describes the development of the BISIS software system, reviews the literature concerning tools for cataloging, and analyzes existing approaches in developing user interfaces for editing MARC records. The results of the research are presented in the final section, which describes the functionality and technical characteristics of the Eclipse MARC editor. The Rich Client Platform (RCP) version of the editor, which can be used independently of Eclipse, is also presented.


The motivation for this paper was to provide an improved user interface for cataloging by the MARC standard that will lead to more efficient and comfortable work for catalogers. There are two basic approaches in developing user interfaces for MARC cataloging. The first approach includes using a classic screen form made of text fields and labels with the description of the bibliographic data, without MARC standard indication. The second approach is direct editing of a record that is shown on the screen. Those two approaches will be discussed in detail in "Existing Approaches in Developing User Interfaces for Editing MARC Records" below. The current editor in the BISIS system is a mixture of these two approaches--it supports direct editing, but data input is done via text field, which opens on double click. (1)

The idea presented in this paper is to create an editor that overcomes all drawbacks of previous solutions. The approach taken in creating the editor was direct record-editing with real-time validation and no additional dialogs.

Software Requirements for MARC Cataloging

The user interface for MARC cataloging needs to support following functions:

* Creating MARC records that satisfy constraints proposed by the bibliographic format

* Selecting codes for field tags, subfield names, and values of coded elements, such as character positions in leader and control fields, indicators, and subfield content

* Validating entered data

* Access to data about the MARC format (a "user manual" for MARC cataloging)

* Exporting and importing created records

* Providing various previews of the record, such as catalog cards



As was previously mentioned, the Eclipse editor uses the MARC 21 variant. …

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