Using MarcEdit to Retool Existing MARC Records of Paper Maps for Use in an Online Geoportal

This is the second in our series of follow-up posts by Midwinter Lightning Talk presenters.

The Michigan State University Libraries recently joined the Big Ten Academic Alliance Geoportal, a consortial online discovery tool for maps and geographic data. While the principal focus of the geoportal’s map-based interface is access to geospatial data for use in GIS applications, the geoportal also accommodates map-based discovery of digital scans of paper maps. Contributing our scanned paper maps to the geoportal requires submission of records suitable for the generation of ISO 19115-compliant metadata. To accomplish this, we devised a MarcEdit workflow using our existing MARC records for paper maps to create new MARC records for digital maps — which could then be delivered as MARCXML records to the geoportal staff, who used them to generate the ISO 19115 metadata for display in the geoportal. An additional benefit of the workflow was the creation of new MARC records for the digital scans, for use in our own library catalog.

We opted to start with MARC records for paper maps that have already been cataloged and scanned. The first step in our workflow was deciding which MARC fields could be programmatically edited using the paper-based record as a starting point, and which fields would require human review with manual entry.

Examples of programmatic changes included:

  • changing the 300$a field to “1 online resource”
  • changing some coding in the fixed fields
  • changing the 338 field’s carrier type to “online resource”
  • adding 655_7 “Digital Maps.”

Examples of manual edits applied after new records were generated in MarcEdit included:

  • conversion to RDA standards, including spelling out abbreviations and removing brackets in titles
  • removal of FAST headings so as to trigger OCLC’s process for automated re-analysis and re-application of FAST headings
  • miscellaneous punctuation and formatting issues.

Some fields, such as a 776 linking back to the original paper-based record, could be created programmatically for the new scan-based record, but required human review afterward. Our complete spreadsheet of changes can be viewed here.

As a result of this project, MSU Libraries now has 44 maps represented in the geoportal. An example geoportal record may be viewed here, and its corresponding record in the MSU Libraries catalog may be viewed here. We are happy with our initial results, although in hindsight we would have adhered to the PCC Provider Neutral Guidelines, and we have modified our procedure to do so in the future. The MSU Map Library staff are also pleased with our results, and we are excited to apply our workflow to additional records.

Tim Kiser, Special Materials Catalog Librarian
Nicole Smeltekop, Special Materials Catalog Librarian

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