MarcEdit: Build New Field Enhancement

By reeset / On / In MarcEdit

I’m wrapping up a few odds and ends prior to releasing the next MarcEdit update – mostly around the linked data work and how the tool works with specific linked data services – but one of the specific changes that should make folks using the Build New Field tool happy is the addition of a new macro that can be used to select specific data elements when building a new field. 

So, for those that might not be aware, the build new field tool is a pattern based tool that allows users to select information from various MARC fields in a record and create a new field.  You can read about the initial description at: and the enhancements that added a kind of macro language to the tool here:

When the tool runs, one of the assumptions that is made is that the tool pulls the data for the pattern from the first field/field/subfield combination that meets the pattern criteria.  This works well if your record has only a single field for the data that you need to capture.  But what if you have multiple fields.  Say for example, the user needs to create a call number, and one of those elements will be the ISBN – however, the record has multiple ISBN fields like:
=020  \\$a123456 (ebook)
=020  \\$a654321 (hardcopy)

Say I need to specifically get the ISBN from the hardcopy.  In the current build new tool function, this wouldn’t be possible without first changing the first 020 to something else (like an 021) – then changing it back when the operation was completed.  This is because if I used say:
=099  \\$aMyCall Number {020$a}

I would get the first 020$a value.  There hasn’t been a way to ask for the tool to find specific field data in this function.  But that has changed – I’ve introduced: find. 

Function: .find
Arguments: needle
Example: {020$a.find(“hardcopy”)}

Find will allow you to selectively find data in a field.  So, in the example above, I can now select the correct 020.
=020  \\$aMyCall Number {020$a.find(“hardcopy”).replace(“(hardcopy)”,””)}

This will output:
=020  \\$aMyCall Number 654321

A couple notes about usage.  Find must always be the first option in a chain of macros.  This is because the tool actually does the other operations like substitutions – so the criteria being queried must reflect the data in the record at read – not after it has been processed.  If you place find in any other position, you may invalidate your pattern. 

This will be part of the next upcoming MarcEdit update.