MarcEdit 5.8 Delimited Text Translator – Auto Generate Arguments List

By reeset / On / In MarcEdit

One of the often requested enhancements to the MarcEdit Delimited Text Translator is the ability to auto generate the arguments list.  For many users, their spreadsheets or delimited text documents include a line at the beginning of the document defining the data found in the file.  I’ve often had folks wonder if I could do anything with that data to help auto generate the arguments list used by MarcEdit to translate the data. 

Well, in anticipation of Thanksgiving, I finished working on what will be the next MarcEdit update.  I won’t post it till the weekend, but this new version will include and Arguments Auto Generation button that will allow MarcEdit to capture the first line of a data file and if properly formatted, auto configure the Arguments List. 


The format supported by the Auto Generation feature is pretty straightforward.  It essentially is the following:  Field$Subfield[ind1ind2punct].

Let me break down the format definition:

  • Field – represents the field to be mapped to, i.e.: 245.  This is a required value.
  • $Subfield – represents the subfield to be mapped., i.e.: $a.  This is a required value.
  • ind1 – represents the first indicator.  This is an optional value, but if defined, indicator 2 must be defined.
  • ind2 – represents the second indicator.  This is an optional value, but if indicator 1 is defined, indicator 2 must also be defined.
  • punct – represents the trailing punctuation of the field.  This is an optional value.  However, if you wish to define the punctuation, you must define the indicator 1 and indicator 2 values as well.

Some examples of the syntax:

  • 245$a  — no indicators are defined, the default indicators, 2 blanks, will be used.
  • 245$a10 – defines the field, subfield and indicators 1 and 2.
  • 245$a10. – defines the field, subfield, indicators 1 and 2, and defines a period as the trailing punctuation.

In MarcEdit, you can join fields together.  This allows users to join data in multiple columns into a single subfield.  In MarcEdit, joined fields are represented by an asterisk “*”.  If I wanted to join two or more fields, I can add an asterisk group to the field.  For example:

  • Field0:  *100$a10,
  • Field1:  *100$a10.

MarcEdit will interpret field 0 and field 1 as being joined fields because the asterisk marks them as joined.

I’ve placed a video on YouTube to demonstrate the upcoming functionality.  You can find out more about it here:

If you have questions about this new function or suggestions, let me know.