OCLC Connexion

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Kurt A. Bodling wrote this as a reply on the Koha listserv.

Here is how this process works here at George Washington's Mount Vernon. (This procedure was originally written for a person who isn't too comfortable with computers and needed the detail; you may do well with less.)

Procedure for Adding OCLC Records to a Koha Catalog -

What follows are detailed instructions for this process as of early May 2010, using the OCLC Connexion Browser and Koha While you can use Microsoft's Internet Explorer for the OCLC part of this, these instructions specify using the Firefox browser because it just works better for the entire process and is easier than switching browsers in mid-stream.

Begin with a particular item to catalog in hand.

Then the basic process is to:

  • Find or create a good record for the item in OCLC;
  • update the OCLC WorldCat holdings so the world knows you own it;
  • export the record from OCLC;
  • import the record into Koha;
  • embellish and save the record in Koha; and
  • add an item record to the bib record.


Open Firefox and log onto OCLC Connexion at http://connexion.oclc.org/ using your 9 digit 'Authorization' and the corresponding 'Password.'

On the 'Cataloging' tab, click the 'Search' button to open up a search screen.

In the search screen, search for a good record representing the item you're working with.

When you get the specific OCLC bibliographic on your screen - and you may possibly have to decide between two or three records, in which case you should choose the fullest record - then you should review the record for obvious errors. Follow your library's guidelines for selecting one record over another, as well as for enhancing records and so on.

When the OCLC record is ready to be exported, first select the Action "Update Holdings" from the Action drop-down list in the top center of the screen. The screen will refresh shortly with a brief message that the holdings were updated. Then use the same drop-down to select "Export Record in MARC". The screen refreshes again.

If you have more items you are working through, repeat the above until you are done with OCLC for the day. Every time you "Export Record in MARC" OCLC puts a copy of the bibliographic record in a kind of 'parking lot' awaiting your command to drive the fleet away from OCLC. So the final steps to export the records are to click on the "General" tab at the top of the screen. Then on the "Admin Options" drop-down that appears, select the "Download Export Files" option. At or near the top of the resulting list will be a line for all the records you had OCLC 'park' for export (the "Created" column will have today's date in it, and to the right will be the words "Not Downloaded"). Click the check box and then at the bottom of the screen click the "Download" button. (NOTE: this exports all the records that have been "parked" by anyone using your authorization and password since the last export was done, so be careful if you are sharing authorization numbers with another staff member)

Things may work more smoothly down the road if you have your computer save the file to your "Downloads" file or to your "Desktop". Wherever you have the file go, however, note where it is because you will need to know the location in order to get the bibliographic records into Koha. OCLC should remember from one time to the next, and it's just easier if your exported files go to the same place all the time.

All should be well unless your computer is blocking downloads for some mis-guided security reason. If that happens, you will get a message to that effect (possibly up towards the top of your browser window) and the records won't really be exported to your computer. If that happens, you'll want to respond to the message and tell your computer's Border Patrol to allow the OCLC records in; and you'll want to see whether you can change a security setting to tell your computer that OCLC is your friend.

FINALLY, then, log out of OCLC by clicking the Logout button at the top right of the browser window.

Koha -

Curiously, just as exporting records out of OCLC is a two-step process, so is importing records into Koha. Go figure! Here's how to accomplish this feat.

In Koha, the two steps are 1. Stage imported records; and 2. Manage staged records. After you have done both of these, you may then need to embellish each record one at a time and you will need to add an Item Record for each catalog.

Koha - Log In to Staff Module

First, have Firefox open and log into our local Koha. This is your real, live catalog (not a test catalog), so everything you save will eventually be viewable by the public.

Koha - Stage Imported Records

On the opening screen, select "Tools" from the right-hand column of options.

On the Tools screen, select "Stage MARC Records for Import".

On the Stage MARC Records for Import, use the "Browse" button to navigate to the location of the file you exported from OCLC. It should have been saved to your computer's 'Downloads' file or 'Desktop' (see above in the OCLC section). If you have done this before, Koha will remember where you put the file last time and will start browsing from that location. OCLC named the file "Export.dat". (And if you have downloaded MARC records from OCLC over a period of time without deleting them, then the newer files will automatically be called "Export(2).dat" and "Export(3).dat" and so on. The newest download has the highest number.) BE SURE to select the proper file in order to keep you from importing MARC records you already imported at an earlier session. After the computer path to the file is entered in the box on the screen click the "Upload File" button. The screen pretty quickly will fill out with several important things. Most should already be filled in properly. Under the 'Upload progress 100%' space there is a box labeled "Comments about this file:". Putting anything here is optional, but it helps to fill this in with your name/initials and a very brief note about what the downloaded files describe. This can be important because all the librarians who are bringing in MARC records bring them into the same "reservoir" and when some problem shows up, it is much easier to figure out what is going on if these Comments are filled in.

Continuing on, there are several options to choose. Use whatever your library's needs indicate. For many "Character encoding" should read "MARC21". And in the "Look for existing records?" section there are 3 selections. Once you have thought through what happens and what your library's patterns are, the choices should be pretty obvious. For example, use "COMBINED" for the record matching rule if you never want to replace a previously-imported OCLC record with the same one (but would perhaps like to import similar records for the same title).

Below that is a button labeled "Stage for Import". Click it.

The screen will change to give you a little summary of what you imported and just staged. If more than two lines have a number other than zero next to them, then you need to make note of what they say. Ideally, the first line will tell you how many records were in the imported file, and that number will be matched on the 3rd line that reports how many records were staged. The other lines should read zero. Something on line 2 means one of the MARC records was rejected by Koha. Something on the 4th line means that a copy of that MARC record from OCLC was already in your Koha catalog (that shouldn't be a huge problem unless the record you just replaced had any local enhancements that your librarians put into the record to embellish what is in OCLC).

Koha - Manage Staged Records

The next logical step is to click the "Manage Staged Records" link, which will let you finish the importing process, embellish the records, and create item records for each auction catalog. If need be, this can be left until another day, but if you do so it is doubly important that you typed your name and a comment into the box earlier on so that you can find this set of MARC records later. (The steps for picking up later are not outlined here.)

To "manage staged records" right after you've staged MARC records, you click on the link at the bottom of the screen. This takes you to a screen summarizing the batch of staged records. Down towards the bottom of the screen is a button labeled "Import into Catalog", and below that is a list of the MARC records you imported from OCLC.

Look at the list of records. If any of the records you are importing are already in your Koha catalog, you will see it mentioned as a matching record. You MUST search that item in the catalog before proceeding any further in order to see what you will be over-writing if you import the new copy of that OCLC record. If there is absolutely no difference, then you can go ahead and import. If the previous copy has local notes in it, they will disappear when you over-write, and you probably don't want that to happen.

Once you're ready to move ahead, click the "Import into Catalog" button.

You will see the screen re-write itself so that now the table of bib records at the bottom of the screen has a list of "Bib" numbers on the right. Each bibliographic item (each imported MARC record) gets its own "Bib number" in Koha. You may want to write down those numbers, because you can use them to find each record in the Koha catalog to do the embellishment and enrichment steps. Note, though, that this group of bibliographic records and Koha numbers will be retained and can be retrieved through the Manage Staged Records screen later on.

For now, click on the first number in the list to open the first bibliographic record and edit away according to your library's needs and policies, adding the Item Record(s) needed for the individual copies you have.

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