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Creating Records


BestMARC can be used to easily find already cataloged records and customize them to your needs, or create brand new records from scratch. BestMARC contains a database of pre-screened records of high quality to use or search additional servers on the internet that someone else might have cataloged.

If a record still cannot be found, enter the basic information into BestMARC and use the errors and warnings section to quickly and easily create a base MARC record that can be used right away.

Search Results

After performing a search, the Search Results tab appears:

Search results

If this was the first time performing a search, the Search More Servers section displays first. If a record cannot be found in the following list, click this button to perform a more extensive search.

A list of search results displays with the following columns:

  • Info

    • A cover image if available. Click on it to see a larger version.

    • The record's material type. If it matches the material type you searched for, it appears in bold.

    • The source of the record.

      • BestMARC - a record in BestMARC's own database
      • Z-server - a record from the current Search More Servers request
      • Other database - a record from a previous customer's Search More Servers request
  • Match

    • How closely the result matches the given search criteria. Entering more search criteria will improve the results. 100 means every search criteria was entered and matched. 0 means no criteria matched.

  • Quality

    • The quality of the MARC record itself. The higher the number, the better the quality.

  • Detail

    • The record's details. Result data that matches the search criteria appear in bold.

  • Reading Programs

    • If reading program information is available for this record, it is displayed here. Use an Advanced Filter to find only records with scores. If your Profile is set to use Reading Program Updates and a reading program that you use is listed in this column, it will automatically be added to the record.

  • Edit

    • Click to open the record in the MARC editor. The record will be opened using the Profile settings you've set. Make any changes you like and when you click Save, the record will be saved into the My Records grid. You can also click Cancel and no changes will be made.

Search More Servers

Sometimes you have a unique or very new item that is not in BestMARC's database. When you cannot initially find the MARC record you are looking for, you can do a deeper, more comprehensive search for it on other servers on the internet. After an initial search, the Search results screen shows a Search More Servers section:

Search More Servers

Click the Search More Servers button to search the BestMARC databases as well as other servers on the internet using the Z39.50 protocol. After searching, the results are combined with BestMARC's results and ranked with the highest Match and Quality at the top. The Info column will display Z-server for each record coming from a different server:

Z-server result

The results from the Search More Servers request are added to another database that BestMARC uses for all future searches, displaying as Other database records. Therefore, by searching for new or hard-to-find materials, you improve the search results for all BestMARC users.

If you still cannot find your record, make sure you don't have any misspellings and that you've entered as much information about the item as you know and try again. If you still cannot find it, you can turn your search criteria into a MARC record by Cataloging it.


If you've tried searching for your record and a Search More Servers request and still cannot find a MARC record, you can easily turn your search criteria into a ready-to-use MARC record.

  1. Ensure you have filled out your Profile so the record will be created using your preferred cataloging rules.

  2. Fill out all the bibliographic fields for the material. Here are some tips:

    • Select the appropriate Material type. This will be the record template that is used to create your MARC.

    • Author: use Last name, First name

    • Title: if the material has a subtitle, add a colon followed by the subtitle

    • Pages: enter just the numbers. p. or pages will get added automatically based on your Profile's cataloging standard setting. If you enter something other than numbers, it will be added exactly as you entered it.

  3. Click Catalog. The template menu appears:

    Catalog menu

  4. Click a template to start this new record from. The first option always matches the Material Type selected in the Create pane. The other options are custom Templates you've created. This defines the default fields and subfields for this record.

  5. A new MARC record is created and opened in the MARC editor based on the entered criteria and your Profile settings. All of the criteria is added automatically to their designated fields and subfields.

  6. Use the editor's Tips & Examples to verify that all of the information has been added correctly.

    Tips and Examples

  7. Use the editor's Errors & Warnings section to help fill out the rest of the suggested fields.

    Errors and Warnings

    Click on an error or warning to take you directly to the field to fill out and use the Tips & Examples to determine what to enter.

  8. For subject headings, use the Subject Explorer to help you find appropriate subjects to add. Try to add 3-5 subject headings.

  9. Click Save. The record will be saved into the My Records grid.

Advanced Filters

Advanced filters can be used to display only records that fall within a certain reading program range.

Click Advanced to display additional search options.

Advanced Filters

  • Check the box next to the reading program you wish to filter on.

  • Drag the sliders to select the minimum and maximum score to include in your result.

  • Click the labels under the range slider to select only those record with the qualifiers you want selected. If none are selected, any are allowed.

  • Click Search to perform the search.

If multiple reading programs are selected, a record must match all filters in order to be returned.


Your Profile contains settings specific to your library such as the Library Automation System you use, whether you catalog using AACR2 or RDA, and what Reading Programs you use. You can set up these preferences by clicking on Profile at the top of the page.

Setting up your profile allows BestMARC to automatically create records that match your cataloging preferences or add information automatically. Here are a few options you can set:

  • Library Automation System

    • Allows you to create copy/holdings specific to your automatation system

  • Cataloging standard (AACR2 or RDA)

    • Ensures all the records downloaded from BestMARC are in your desired format and error checking is based on the correct cataloging rules

  • Advanced MARC editing

    • Turning on this option allows you to see and directly edit the MARC leader and control fields

  • Reading Programs

    • By selecting the reading programs that you use, the selected reading program data is automatically added after finding an item with an associated reading program score

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