I’m formatting a bibliography for the book series Sources of Oriental Languages and Literatures and it’s been slow going. The titles and author names use lots of foreign characters so copy and paste presents all sorts of problems. I’m working off a PDF that already had OCR run on it so when I tried running OCR, I got an error saying “Acrobat could not perform recognition (OCR) on this page because: This page contains renderable text.”
I looked around and found this Abode support blog post that showed me how to get around that. I converted the PDF to TIFF and recompiled the TIFF files to a new PDF. I could run OCR on this file, but there were too many errors on the Word Document to make it useful. Again, problems with the foreign characters. I didn’t have ABBYY Fine Reader and I don’t know a way to have Adobe recognize special symbols, so it seemed like I would have to copy each individual citation and reformat them in Excel, correcting the foreign characters manually. Boring.
Since the bibliography was ultimately going to be uploaded to a Drupal-powered website, I poked around on the Drupal Modules page to see if there might be some kind of bibliographic module or MARC interface that could help speed things up. Yes! There is a module that lets me upload MARC records and display them as nodes. All I needed was a way to get MARC records for the books in the Sources of Oriental Languages and Literatures. I don’t have access to OCLC so I needed something different, but free.
I looked around online and found a variety of commercial and freeware options for downloading MARC records. Basedow Information Systems released a Z39.50 Client called Mecury as freeware. It looked pretty straightforward, so I thought I’d give it a shot.
Installing Mercury Z39.50 Client
Installing Mercury was very simple. Here are the steps I took:
- Go to the project homepage and click on the download link.
- Choose the current version (I suppose you could choose the older version, but I’m not sure why you would want to).
- Choose Version of Mercury Z39.50 Client
- A popup will appear telling you that you have chosen to open the file. Click on the “Save File” radial button and click OK.
- Save Mercury Z39.50 Client
- If your brower prompts you for a download location, choose a location to save the file. My browser automatically downloads to the Desktop, which is fine for now.
- Go to the zip file and double-click on it. You will need some kind of extractor, but there are many to choose from. I am using WinRAR. When your zip extractor program opens, click on the “Extract To” button to extract the file.
- Extracting Mercury Z39.50 Client
- You will be prompted to choose a destination path. This is where you want the file to extract to. WinRAR automatically chooses the same location as the zip file. It will create a new folder to store the contents of the zip file. For me, this is my desktop, which is fine for now. Choose your location and click OK.
- Choose destination path for Mercury Z39.50 Client
- Once the file extracts, go to the folder and open it up. There should be one install file called Setup.exe. Double-click on it.
- Setup.exe file for Mercury Z39.50 Client
- This will bring up a Setup Wizard to install the freeware. Click on the Next button to continue.
- Setup Wizard for Mercury Z39.50 Client
- You will be prompted to select a destination location for the program. The setup wizard automatically selects your Program Files folder in your computer’s hard drive, but you can change this if you want. Click “Next” once you have selected your location.
- Select destination location for Mercury Z39.50 Client
- You will be prompted to create a folder in the Start Menu for a shortcut to the program. You can change this if you want, but the default is just the title of the freeware, which is probably best. Make your selection and click “Next.”
- Select Start Menu Folder for Mercury Z39.50 Client
- The next screen asks if you want to create an additional icon for the freeware on your desktop. The checkbox is selected by default, but I don’t like software shortcuts on my desktop, so I unchecked it. Make your choice and click “Next.”
- Desktop icon for Mercury Z39.50 Client
- You are now ready to install the freeware. Just click on the “Install” button and let the Setup Wizard do the rest. Don’t close it though. Once the freeware is installed, you will see a screen that says “Completing the Mercury Z39.50 Client Setup Wizard.” Click on the “Finish” button to close the Setup Wizard and launch the Z39.50 Client.
- Completing the Mercury Z39.50 Client Setup Wizard
That’s it! It’s really very easy, just like any simple installer, and the Client comes with a few dozen library catalogues already installed. You can add more libraries, search for records, extract or import records, etc. I’m running a search on Sources for Oriental Languages and Literatures so I can export the MARC records and upload them to my Drupal Module. Or I might export XML files to see what else I can do with them.