MARC Records FAQ | Alexander Street

MARC Records FAQ

Admin Portal MARC Downloads

For users downloading their MARC records from:

1. I cannot log into the Admin Portal or do not know my credentials.

  • Please note that logins are case-sensitive and may contain capitalization.
  • Log in using the same credentials you use at the Alexander Street usage statistics sites. If you do not know the log in, please contact your usage statistics librarian or
  • If you are getting an "Error" please clear your brower's cache and history and attempt to log in again.

2. Why am I being prompted to enter a valid email after I have logged in?

  • If this is your first time your institution has logged into the Admin Portal, you will be prompted to enter an affiliated email address. This can be any email address from a member of the university.
  • This is for registration purposes only and will not be required to be entered by other users of the Admin Portal.

3. Why am I only able to "Download All Changes" for one month and not a range of months?

  • If this is your first month using the service, you will only be able to select one month. After the 1st of the next month, you will be able to select a range of months.

4. Why are trials included in my MARC record sets?

  • Because this delivery system is based on the titles to which you have access, your trial titles will show up in your MARC set. When the trial ends and if you no longer have access to the titles, these MARC files will appear in your "deletes" folder.
  • To avoid getting records for trial content, please use the Custom sets section in order to select the collections for which you'd like to download records.

5. I see many .mrc files in my download folder and prefer to work with one large file with all records combined. How can I combine my downloads?

  • View a video tutorial on how to do this!
  • Because our records are now delivered based on access, you are receiving only those titles specific to your institution. This means that our systems runs based on title-by-title access. If you wish to combine these into one downloadable .mrc file, our MARC team recommends the free MarcEdit software:
  • Combining .mrc files is just a few easy steps if you prefer to work with one large file. You can also combine them to work with just your additions, deletes, or updates. This system gives librarians the flexibility to decide how they wish to load their records.
  1. Once you have downloaded and unzipped your MARC files, open MarcEdit --> Tools --> MARCJoin
  2. Click on the icon of the folder with the green arrow on it.

  3. Name the file for your combined MARCs and click Save.

  4. Click the other folder icon to select the files you want to join.

  5. Highlight all of the files you wish to join into one record and click Open. Helpful fact! If you are joining a large amount of files, instead of clicking on each file or clicking and dragging, click on the topmost file in the window, then scroll all the way down to the last file in the group you want joined, and while holding down the Shift button click on that last file.

  6. Click Process

  7. Your combined MARCs will now be in one large .mrc file and you can edit them as necessary for your specific institution's policies.  Note:  If you are joining a large amount of files, the "File(s) to" field will remain blank. This is normal. After clicking "Process", please wait for the message in the dialog box to appear notifying you that the files have been joined successfully.

6. When I "Download all available MARC records as of" a month, what is in my file?

  • When you select this download option, you will receive MARC records for all collection titles on our LAZR platform to which you have access. If you are unsure which of your products are hosted on our LAZR platform, please contact
  • Also, we only have full MARC records in the system. Any brief records you have previously downloaded from Alexander Street through a different delivery system have not been included. As we create new full records to replace earlier brief records, they will be added to the portal and will show up in your future downloads as "additions."

7. I would like to see my MARC records by product. Am I able to do this?

  • Our new system allows you to go into the custom sets interface where you can download records new to the collections your institutions has access to.

8. My deleted records do not contain deletion codes in the LDR. Why is this?

  • We specifically do not code for this. We do not code 'd' in the LDR for deletes because often a record may be removed from one collection and will remain in another. Therefore the record must remain neutral. If we were to code 'd' in that record, customers who have that record in the collection in which it is staying would also get the record with 'd', which would be a misnomer.

9. Why did the 001s change from “ASP12345/marc” to “99193408300971” ?

Beginning April 1, 2020, you will notice some changes in a few of our MARC fields. The Alexander Street cataloging team recently completed a migration of our MARC record storage database. We had been storing our MARC records in an Evergreen database and we’ve migrated to storing MARC records in our PQ Alma Institution. This will allow us to better manage our MARC records and to better serve you. There were some MARC field changes required with this migration. There is no difference in how you access and download your MARC records in the Admin Portal.

001: will now contain an MMS ID number, which is autogenerated and required for Alma.

Example: 99193408300971

024: will now contain what was previously in the 001 field, our internal ASP MARC IDs.

Example: ASP3228527/marc

035: We will continue to provide OCLC numbers in an 035. But there will now be an additional 035, autogenerated from Alma.

Example: (VaAlASP)ASP3165615/marc

Alexander Street MARC Policy

Materials for which records will be provided

Records are prepared for parent- or container-level entities, including books, scores, albums, videos, serials, collections.

  • Text
    • For most products, records are created for Books/Monographs and Manuscripts
    • For some products records may be created for Series/Serials
    • For some products records may be created for Collections (see Archive Collections)  
  • Audio
    • Records are created for Albums
  • Video
    • Records are created for Videoworks (individually displayed videos, rather than the DVDs on which they came)
    • Records are not created for newsreel clips.
  • Scores
    • Individual scores.
  • Archive collections
    • Collection level records only.
    • Each archive collection will receive a record, but not individual items within boxes and folders.
  • Other
    • Records are NOT generally created for analytic items from collections, independent articles, ephemera, or regalia (photos, posters, playbills, letters, sketches, etc.)

Corporate Site MARC Downloads

For customers downloading their MARC records from:

1. Can I sort on the main product table to find products of interest?

  • We had several requests for this, but Drupal does not support that type of functionality. The collections are listed alphabetically, and each collection may have separate entries for different world regions.

2. Why do we have so many sets for some products?

  • Each product has a unique page with at least 2 sets listed on it, one for a product-level record (1 record that points to the product landing page) and a set of all valid records (“base set thru supplement XX”) for titles in the product.  While Alexander Street is still adding content to products, there is often a third set (“supplement”) that shows the most recently added records.  Sets of full MARC records appear in the left-most column.
  • If you have never downloaded records for a product before, you should download the “base set” file.  It will include all records ever released for the product, including those in any supplement set that appears below it.
  • If you have records for some of the titles in the product, then download the “supplement” set only.  This will provide you with the newest records to help complete your catalog coverage.
  • Supplements are released as content requires, rather than on a set schedule. When a new supplement is released, the “base set” file is updated to include those records.  If you think you have missed one or more supplements, contact us at and we can supply any missing supplement sets you may need.
  • Once all the MARC records for a product have been released for over a year, the multiple sets are merged into a single “complete” set.  We do keep the original supplements for another 6-12 months.

3. How do I retrieve the records?

  • On the detail product pages, the Product information line includes a link to a record that points to the product home page.  On subsequent lines, each available set name links to a zip file which contains the MARC records in UTF8 format and a release note (README) with information about what’s in the MARC records. Customers need only click on the link to download the set.

If you use OCLC to source your records:

  • With the discontinuation of the collection sets program libraries now must use WorldShare Collection Manager to subscribe to sets for MARC record delivery.
  • Once a library has selected their Alexander Street Press collections they have options to set holdings in WorldCat, output MARC records, provide full-text links, and synchronize their collections with their other OCLC services. WorldShare Collection Manager is included as part of their Cataloging or CatExpress subscription.

Getting started with Collection manager, includes tutorial for MARC record delivery:

Full Collection Manager Documentation:

If a library has specific support requests please contact the OCLC customer support group at where you can be helped quickly and accurately.

4. How do I know that new records are available?

  • Users of the main Alexander Street platform (at may log in to the Admin Portal at to download their custom record sets. Download Adds, Deletes, or full sets by Collection, and find any updated MARC records.
  • Users of other Alexander Street platforms should visit the MARC home page for updates. The MARC home page has the most recent date updated noted above the title listings. The date of the most recent update for each product is included on the line. 

5. What do the columns “Items in Set” and “Links in Set” mean?

  • Our earliest sets of records often included a single record for a multivolume or multipart work. As a result, these records would have more than one 856 link (one to each volume or part).  These columns report the number of individual records (Items in Set) and the number of links (Links in Set).  The “Links in Set” number is closest to the actual number of titles in a product collection.
  • Beginning in late 2013, we changed our process to provide only “one record – one link”.  This means that our newest products should indicate the same number of Items and Links.  We are not revising previously released records, however.

6. What are the “discovery services” offered?

These are commercial services that many of our customers use to enhance their ILS/catalog access to the contents of our collections. We regularly send MARC records to four services.


Integrated Search, A-to-Z, LinkSource, EDS


WorldCat Knowledge Base


SSKB, 360 Core, 360 Link, and 360 Search, Summon


SFX, Primo

7. What is the "release note" (README) included in the zip file?

  • Each release includes a note that describes what is in the release, what other record sets are available, the total available records, and whether future updates are planned.  Many notes also have a "Corrections" section, which indicates what - if any - records have been dropped from release, updated and re-released, or if the customer needs take any action to the set before loading it (this may include deletion of selected records due to licensing requirements). 

8. I use OCLC for my cataloging.  Can I find OCLC IDs included in the ASP MARC records?

  • We are contractually prohibited from using OCLC IDs in our 001 fields, but we do list OCLC IDs in the 035 fields for all records.

9. The URLs in the MARC records contain a resolver reference that doesn't work.  Should I change the URL?

The most common reason for the failure of the resolver urls at any particular library generally has to do with Proxy settings. The proxy setting must include the following: (XXXX = the product code, e.g., ATIV, FLON, HISC, etc.)

A customer needs one of the XXXX entries for each product.  So for a customer subscribing to EENZ, ATIV, FLON, and VAST, all these entries should be in the proxy settings:

If the customer continues to have problems, they should contact our customer support for assistance.  The second most common reason for failure is an inaccurate customer authorization.

10. Why don't the details of the MARC records match those in the other discovery files?

  • The completed MARC records files (catalog record sets) have been manually reviewed by professional catalogers, while the data provided through the metadata repository (discovery files) is simply a dump of raw Alexander Street Press data that has been converted to MARC format.
  • The name and subject terms used in the MARC catalog records have been compared to LC authorities; the terms used in the discovery files matches the terms used in our indexes (that is, ASP controlled vocabularies).  If our indexing does not provide subjects, neither will the discovery records.
  • Discovery record sets will usually provide more title coverage than the MARC catalog sets.  Discovery sets are available through several commercial vendors.

11. I am reviewing the MARC records for a product and noticed that every record has a field 945.  Can you explain what information is contained in field 945?  

The 945 field indicates countries and regions where we may or may not distribute titles.  This information is baked into our products and affects what titles you see. 

$a = regions where titles are permitted through our licensing

$b = regions where titles are forbidden through our licensing

$c = regions where titles are suppressed due to local government or cultural requirements


945  \\ $a North America $c China

  • licensed for distribution in North America, but China forbids distribution
945  \\ $a The Whole World $c China $c Malaysia $c Middle East
  • licensed for distribution anywhere in the world, but China, Malaysia and the Middle East forbid distribution
945  \\ $a Australia $a New Zealand $a United States $c China
  • licensed for distribution in Australia, New Zealand, and the United States, but China forbids distribution

945  \\ $a The Whole World $b Japan $c Middle East

  • licensed for distribution anywhere in the world except Japan, but the Middle East forbids distribution

Because there are so many permutations, we cannot create individual sets by country or customer at this time.  You should sort through the set of records and remove any where your country is included in the $b or $c or is explicitly omitted in the $a. 

  • Information about this is normally included in the README note included in every MARC zip file.

12. What will happen to customers that used WorldCat Collection Sets service?

  • Effective September 30, 2014, the service provided by the WorldCat Collection Sets was integrated into the WorldShare Metadata Collection Manager. The electronic collections will be managed through the WorlCat knowledge base. For more information, please see:

13. Why do some MARC/Discovery records have numbers on their URLs that are different from the numbers on the live site? 

On occasions, you may find links in our records that have a different identifier numbers than the ones showing on the collection website. 

     For example, (from live site)

AND;1460591 (from MARC record)

This resolves to

Even though the two URL strings are different these are actually the same content. Most of our MARC record URLs will resolve using the same identifier number. However, there will be exceptions such as this. 

14. How can I dedupe or merge Alexander Street records? I noticed that new records are starting to include a field 944. What are these for? 

Please retain the field '944', subfield 'a' on the records since this should be used as the merge/overlay match point for any future reloads and for deduping records found in different collections.
Every record has a control number in the field 001, example "ASP12345/asiv". This functions as a unique identifier for the title, but only within the collection. If the title is found in two different collections then there will be two records each with their own 001, example "ASP12345/asiv" and "ASP12345/vast". The field 944 contains a number that identifies both records as being for the same title, so in this case "12345". 
There may be cases where the number in the 001 and in the 944 will not match. That should not be a problem.  If two records have the same 944$a then they are the same content.
15. My product is migrating from the AS platform to the PQ platform. Do I need to do anything with my MARC records?

The short answer is no. The existing MARC record links will remain the same and they will continue to work. The links will continue to resolve to the legacy AS platform until it’s been decided by product managers to redirect to the newer platform. This is usually timed in alignment with the legacy sites being turned off.  There should be advance notice of this happening through banners on the websites and through notices from PQ. Once the legacy sites are turned off, the links will resolve to the new platform. Look for a notice from PQ marketing as to when the sites are scheduled to be shut down.

Discovery Services FAQs


1. Where is the All Titles file? Why was the All Titles file removed for my collection?

To ensure customers are getting the proper access to their titles we have removed several of the All Titles collection files from Discovery layers. In most cases customers should be subscribing to the appropriate regional file (like “Academic Video Online: Premium - United States” or “Ethnographic Video Online, Volume 4 – Australia”), because in those cases titles that are blacklisted for, say, the US have been removed and a library patron will not experience a deadlink when clicking on through a record. There were of course exceptions because some records are only found in the All Titles file of some collections (like “Security Issues Online (Video)”), in which case we have kept the All Titles files of those collections active in the Discovery layers. Therefore, if a customer does not see their territory in the regional breakdown of a collection, then the All Titles file is appropriate. One may see a drop in coverage number if switching from the All Titles file to a regional file. This is natural and does not mean that one has lost coverage, it just means that the coverage is now tailored closer to what one already has access.


2. Why is the discovery title count different than what I see in the product?

This is expected and should not be a concern. Our collections are dynamically updated to provide you with the best content., however there is sometimes lag time between updating a discovery file and updating a product site. The difference in counts could be due to a variety of reasons. Here are some reasons why the title count may differ:

  • Products can be updated daily, while we update our discovery metadata on a weekly basis.
  • There are sometimes regional restrictions on access for certain titles.
  • While we do provide some regional files, we do not provide a separate file for every country/region.
  • We do sometimes lose licensing rights to content and it may have to be removed immediately.
  • Some content in our collections that is sometimes represented by a single MARC record with multiple links.


3. Which discovery collection should I activate?

You should contact your Discovery vendor so they can assist you with activating collections. While Alexander Street does provide the metadata to these vendors, we are not able to assist you as well as they can assist you. We do not have access to the Discovery layers, we are simply providing our metadata content to them.


4. In the Alma Community Zone, what collection I should use for individual Alexander Street streaming videos that are not part of a package?

There is no Community Zone collection for single videos purchased by a customer.  You should download those records from the Alexander Street Admin Portal and upload them to your Institutional Zone.


5. I have access to an Alexander Street package but I don’t see the package listed in the discovery layer?

Unfortunately, due to complexities within packages, we are not able to provide a single file for packages. You should instead activate the smaller collections within those packages.

For example, if you have access to Music Online: Listening you should select the following collections:

  • Music Online: Classical Music Library
  • Music Online: American Music
  • Music Online: Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries
  • Music Online: Jazz Music Library
  • Music Online: Popular Music Library
  • Music Online: Contemporary World Music


Please contact your discovery vendor if you have questions about this.