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Title: February 2011 User's Group Session
Category: Mandarin
Description: MARC record sources & tips; Adding new library staff to your catalog; the mysterious startup.ini

1. MARC Record Sources & Tips


ADVANTAGE: Location fields (GSTE and SCOOLS fields exist: edit the school code)

  1. Search for a book
  2. Click a school to see the titles
  3. Add them to your book bag

  1. REPEAT for as many books as you want
  2. Open your book bag
  3. Click MARC
  4. Click SAVE  (text file)

  1. Open your catalog
  2. Import the records, edit as needed. (Location field, call number if different…)

Access Pennsylvania (

How can you not love Access Pennsylvania?  As a native Pennsylvanian (born and raised in Wilkes-Barre), I'm proud of my home state for establishing such a fine resource.  The link above takes you to a search of the entire database - all libraries - but if you go to this site, you can choose just school libraries, just public libraries, etc.

It's a similar process to downloading from the WebOPAC.  (See a detailed procedure guide here.) 

The records here are generally good, clean records - the one disadvantage is that you won't get any 852 fields.  You'll have to add them - remember to add them to BOTH the bib & holding records (the OPAC reads from the Bib record, remember!)

The Library of Congress (

You know I love the Library of Congress; I am positively MAD about the Library of Congress.  I love their website, their blogs, their resources, their catalog.  But they're not my first choice for downloading MARC records, at least not for schools.  Why?  Because you get a lot of extraneous information, plus if you're not careful, you'll end up with a Unicode record.  (Horrors!)  Once again, you won't get 852 fields.  

Having said that, though, they DO have a lot of records, and you have a better chance of finding some of your more esoteric items there.  So if you DO download from LOC, here's a handy guide.

Amazon (

Amazon never ceases to amaze me.  It seems you can find almost ANYTHING there - including catalog records.  Who knew?  Well, Gina Beirne did; she sent this source to me (thanks, Gina!).  The records here seem pretty decent, but once again, no 852 fields.  Ah, well - you can't have everything!  Here's how to get the records - it's really simple:

  1. Search for a book
  2. Click EXPORT

  1. Use the default file type (your catalog will recognize it!)

  1. Import as you would any other set of MARC records

2. Adding New Library Staff to Your Catalog

Here's the scenario: you have a new assistant in the library.  You'd like to have him/her have his/her own login & password to Mandarin.  What to do?

Many people think that only Sue K. or I have the power to add these new staff members into the catalog. While we may have our share of superpowers, this is not one!  If you have a login & password to your catalog and are part of the librarians' or administrative group, you too have this superpower.  Just add that person as a new patron in the catalog (or if he/she is already in your catalog, just edit his/her record).

The critical part is to make sure that a) there's a login & password for that person and b) he/she is in a group that has access to cataloging/circulation, etc., like the librarians' group.

Just enter a login into the 852#o field in the patron record and select the proper group - librarians will give your assistant all the same privileges you have in Mandarin - accessibility to cataloging, circulation, etc., etc.

You also should enter a password.  If you click on the 852#q field, you'll get a prompt to enter the password:

Enter the password TWICE, exactly the same way, then click OK.  Save the record, and your new staff member should be able to access Mandarin.

You DO need to let Sue K. or me know if you have a new person in the library, but that's more to make sure that they have the right access to folders on the server, and to add them to distribution lists and the listserv.

3. The Mysterious Startup.ini file

Well, okay, it's not really all that mysterious.  Sometimes when I'm writing this stuff I like to make it more dramatic than it really is.  It's actually pretty straightforward.

Any file that you see that ends in .ini is an initialization file.  What that means is that it's a file that the program looks at when it's starting up (initializing) to gather information that it needs about the program.  Some programs have multiple .ini files (Mandarin does) that feed them different kinds of information.

In this case, the startup.ini tells Mandarin two main things: what language to start in (English, French, German, Spanish, or Italian) and where to look for the data.  That's kind of important!

In our region, some libraries have their Mandarin applications installed directly on their machine, and some run the apps off the server.  (The actual data, though - your patrons, books, barcodes, transactions - is ALWAYS stored on a server somewhere, not on a local machine.) In either case, you should have a startup.ini on your local computer located in C:\Program Files\Mandarin M3.  If you're running cataloging, circulation, etc., off the server, those programs look at a startup.ini file that is also located on the server.  But the Report Tool ALWAYS looks at the local computer for its startup, so you might be happily running circulation, cataloging, OPAC, Group Editor, Inventory without any issues, and then when you try to open a report, you encounter this:

Undaunted, you press Cancel, only to be greeted by this:

Even if you don't know what an ODBC driver is, the word "failed" looks bad and kind of scary. But you have no choice other than OK, so you click that, only to go through the same cycle twice more (Report Tool tries to connect three times before it gives up.)  It'll still open the report, but if you try to run it, you'll just get blank pages.

If you experience this, the first thing to do is check your startup.ini file, located, as I said earlier, in C:\Program Files\Mandarin M3, and make sure that the address in the REMOTE section matches the address of the server where your data is stored.  If you have multiple schools on that server (pretty common), you may need to also change the port.  There are instances where the site key is also different.

Here's an example:

This is the training database here at GST BOCES.  You can see that it lists the name of the server instead of the IP address; either should work.  This database also has a different port (the default and most common one is 210).

If you encounter the error messages above, all you need to do is find the startup.ini file on your local drive, edit the file so that it has the correct information, and save the file.  If you do not know your server information - the IP address and/or server name, port, and site key, contact Sue K. or me and we can give you that info!  

4. This month's websites...

....are located here.

Many thanks to Jill Eagen for taking notes for me.  They helped a lot when I was creating this blog entry!

Hope you can join us person sometime.  There's always chocolate...

Till next time!

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