Problem with Library catalogue translator.

Hi, I am not sure that this is a problem that Zotero people can directly help with, but since I don't understand the answer I just got from my institution's library, I was hoping that you could at least shed some light.
The RMIT Library catalogue has a site translator for Zotero that manages everything except the call number, which it gets wrong.
I wrote to a library tech guy and got the following
HI Julia,

I installed Zotero and had a quick look - I can fully understand your enthusiasm - it does seem to have a lot of useful potential. Certainly easy to get up and running.

I think I understand the problem - however it is unfortunately beyond me to fix it (in a reasonable amount of time).

In case it helps our catalogue records are stored according to structured format called Marc - this can be seen by clicking on the Marc view link when you view a record in the catalogue . Each field in MARC is numbered and stores a different piece of bibliographic information.

From what I can see - Zotero is accessing this Marc view page via the catalogue and importing the information to it's own database. The default instructions with this translation is that the call number is identified from the 050 field. (At least that's what happened when I tried it with one record)

I got this far into the Zotero code to match up what was going on:

"// Extract call number
this._associateDBField(item, "084", "ab", "callNumber");
this._associateDBField(item, "082", "a", "callNumber");
this._associateDBField(item, "080", "ab", "callNumber");
this._associateDBField(item, "070", "ab", "callNumber");
this._associateDBField(item, "060", "ab", "callNumber");

this._associateDBField(item, "050", "ab", "callNumber");

this._associateDBField(item, "090", "a", "callNumber");
this._associateDBField(item, "099", "a", "callNumber");
this._associateDBField(item, "955", "a", "callNumber");"

In RMIT's case we are using a different field from any of the ones listed above, our call numbers are in the 852 field - we don't even display this in the MARC view for public. The 050 field which Zotero is pulling in is something like the Library of Congress call number which probably comes standard with many of our catalogue records. Most of our records are imported and modified from other suppliers.

To get it to work that I can see would require

1) Altering the catalogue to display the 852 field in the Marc view (via the OPAC)

2) Altering the translator to take the 852 field instead of the 050 field it is currently using.

Getting the Library to alter the catalogue to support software that is not University supported ie EndNote - would be very low priority particularly as we are likely to have a minor version release shortly. Changes we make have to be remapped into each upgrade.

Altering the translator could be done - but I think it would probably have to go along the lines of create a new translator which calls the existing Marc translator for everything but the call number. Getting all that working could take a while. Assuming the Library didn't alter the catalogue Marc display then it might still be possible to screen scrape the call number from the standard catalogue record page.

So my best suggestion at the moment is to
1) Just edit the call numbers as you pull them into Zotero (Annoying if there are large quantities)

2) See if you can find a programmer who could work on it for you. - i.e. a new translator including screen scraping. (I really doubt ITS would want to do this.) I didn't follow it all through - but I think once translators are established they are stored back on the Zotero site so would have to be registered with them as well.

Sorry I can't help further with this. I am more than happy if you want to get in touch.

Cheers Mike
Is this of any use in solving the problem?
  • Hi Julia,

    You have a very thoughtful librarian!

    The 852 MARC field is about location and it is probably something Zotero should pick up whenever it's there. It looks like it can have a few different sorts of values, but it is probably something that would be worthwhile for Zotero to grab from any library catalog. I opened a ticket in our development system to get 852 mapped to the location field in Zotero.
  • Thanks. I have let our thoughtful librarian know. I will be very pleased when this is fixed!
  • I have what may be a related problem. The call numbers come through inconsistently for me, sometimes only the main class and nothing from subfield b and onward. Other times, the whole call number finds its way to Zotero. I spoke with a cataloger at my library (University of California San Diego) and apparently they now add call numbers in the 050 field, but in the past used the 090 field. So, in our current catalog record, the call number may be located in one or the other of these fields, depending on the item. What this means for me (I think?) is that Zotero is sometimes able to pull in the entire call number, but other times only the main class is coming through. Perhaps I'm overlooking something here, but it seems like a related problem? I would also very much like to rely on the call number data without having to individually edit as I input. Might there be a solution out there or in the works?

    Many thanks for your time,

    Heather Smedberg
  • Hi, I too have a problem with getting the entire call number from my library catalog (Exlibris Aleph system)to come over into Zotero. The call number in the bib record is stored in the 090 field. Zotero only picks up the first part of the call number (the class number) and not 090 subfield b.

    Does anyone have suggestions for getting Zotero (ver 2.0b7.6) to pick up the entire call number? many thanks!
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