[Koha] What to use, UNIMARC or MARC21 ?

James Weinheimer weinheimer.jim.l at gmail.com
Fri Sep 18 03:05:49 NZST 2015

On 9/15/2015 5:55 PM, Curtis Rempel wrote:
> L4U exports in MARC format which should be easy enough to import,
> however, during koha config, I had to choose between UNIMARC or
> MARC21.  Full disclaimer: I’m a Linux guy, I wouldn’t know a UNIMARC
> or a MARC21 record if one fell out of the sky and knocked me out
> cold.:-)    How would one know what to choose here?   Would I somehow
> be able to determine what MARC flavour the L4U export is?   Does it
> even matter?

Yes, it matters a lot, but primarily to the people who will be inputting 
into the catalog. There are a few library formats, various flavors of 
MARC based more or less on nationality: there is MARC21 (which is used 
primarily by the Anglo-American community) but there are all kinds of 
others. UNIMARC is popular in Europe.

Normally when a librarian wants to catalog something, they look to see 
if another library has already made a record for it, then the librarian 
can download that record into the local catalog, saving a lot of time 
and labor. Obviously for this to work, the formats have to be the same. 
So, the format makes a difference when you import these records. In the 
US, you can expect to download records in MARC21, but in Europe, you 
will expect to download in UNIMARC but there are exceptions everywhere.

The inputters should know where they want to get the records--if they 
don't, then they need to figure it out.

James Weinheimer weinheimer.jim.l at gmail.com
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