Re: MARC problems
Steven F. Baljkas <baljkas@...
2005-05-01 17:44:42 GMT
Sunday, May 1, 2005 12:30 CDT
Just in quick response to your e-mail ...
> From: Nathan Ehresman <nehresma@...>
> Date: 2005/04/30 Sat PM 03:29:33 CDT
> To: koha@...
> Subject: [Koha] MARC problems
> I am a Linux System Administrator who was asked to install koha on a
> machine for a local school. I am a complete newbie with library
> software and I'm stuggling with some of the terminology.
If you need help with Koha terminology, you should take a look at Brooke Johnson's Newbie guide available at
If you need help with library science jargon, there are many on-line sources, but I would certainly be
willing to help you out with any questions, as I am sure, many others would. If you have specific questions,
feel free to send them my way, on or off listserv. FYI, the Koha community in general is very good at posting
quality responses in short turn-around.
> Anyway, Koha is installed (2.2.0) and runs but when I attempt to add a biblio
> (that's how you add books to the system right?) I get an error in the
> koha logs saying there was an error in SearchMarc.pl and something
> about using an undefined value as a HASH reference.
You do need to set various parameters first. If you check the Koha Archives, you should find several
questions answered re: undefined values/HASH reference problems. Maybe one of those will have the
answer for you, too.
> My question: this is a standalone machine without any type of network
I've been wondering if that could work myself, but hadn't gotten around to asking/checking. Again,
Brooke's Newbie guide and Paul Poulain's newly translated doc on Setting Parameters might have the info
> Do I need MARC and how do I turn it off? Also, what the heck is MARC? :)
In reverse order, MARC = MAchine Readable Code. It is the coding used for cataloguing (bibliographic)
records. There are two chief varieties or flavours as Koha refers to them, MARC21 (sometimes still
referred to erroneously as USMARC) and UNIMARC. Officially, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K.
and the U.S. national libraries make use of MARC21; most libraries in those countries follow suit.
Libraries in other European, African and Asian nations may and do use UNIMARC or MARC21.
Basically, MARC records are alphanumeric strings, the end of the first part of which defines fields and
field lengths that allow the linear string to be turned into a table or matrix. If you want to find out more
about MARC, you should surf to URL <http://www.loc.gov/marc/umb/>.
Although I would be the last to advocate you doing this, yes, you can turn off MARC. Depending on how much
cataloguing your staff will be doing in the future, this may not be a great idea. Without MARC, you are
deciding that you will have to do ALL original cataloguing.
In any case, check the guides mentioned above and you will find info on how to turn MARC off.
Steven F. Baljkas
library tech at large
Winnipeg, MB, Canada