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Historically, Harvard catalogers did their work in Aleph (or HULPR!) and many still do. However, the advantages of cataloging in OCLC are increasing, so more and more of us are using Connexion and then exporting our records into HOLLIS, where local headings and holdings information are added. The degree to which an OCLC record is enhanced is at the cataloger's discretion, but the cataloger should be mindful not to get bogged down in improving master records if the results have little benefit for local records.

For further instructions on importing and targeting from OCLC into Aleph, see the Aleph documentation at LTS' Aleph/Cataloging Documentation; for more on upgrading records in OCLC see the OCLC documentation at

Tips for searching OCLC numbers in Aleph

To search for OCLC numbers in Aleph, one needs to include certain prefixes to the number. These are based on OCLC practices, described on their website ( These state:

OCLC numbers 1 through 99999999:

ocm prefix

OCLC Control Number, 8 digits, right-justified with leading zeros


Example: ocm00012345


OCLC numbers 100000000 and higher:

ocn prefix

OCLC Control Number, 9 digits

Example: ocn123456789


OCLC numbers 1000000000 and higher:

on prefix

OCLC Control Number, 10 or more digits

Example: on1345345345


So, if the number is eight digits or fewer, add "ocm"; if it is nine digits, add "ocn"; and if it is ten or more digits, add "on".

Problem issues

Maintenance of accurate records in both HOLLIS and OCLC is complicated, now made even more so with the use of MARS and BNS automated services. ITS has begun a page for asking questions at an OCLC holdings questions workspace. However, this site is not for documentation purposes. So, the RBT will here try to provide some workflows.

  • When faced with a Houghton hard copy on a microfilm record in HOLLIS:
  1. Bring OCLC record for hard copy in or create a new record.
  2. Identify our holdings and item records that need moving and send an email to the Associate Librarian for Technical Services asking to have them moved to the new bib record (moving alerts OCLC to delete our holdings from their microfilm record)
  3. If there are no other holdings on the microfilm record, once the Associate Librarian for Technical Services has moved the holdings and item records, the original bib record can be deleted; or,
  4. If there are other holdings on the microfilm record, send in a trigger explaining that the microfilm record should be deleted, with instructions on moving the other holdings to the new bib record.

NOTE: This will result in inaccurate holdings for the microfilm record in OCLC; by sending in a trigger, this should be addressed


Automation: macros and keyboard shortcuts 

Connexion has a small number of built-in macros. To see these ready-made macros, click Tools → Macros → Manage, then select OCLC. 

If you are updating a pre-RDA record, you may wish to use the Add33x macro. If you find yourself frequently performing such updates, this macro, written by Walter Nickeson, makes an existing record RDA-compliant. To add his macro to your suite, highlight and copy the contents of this text file, open a new macro in Connexion, and paste. 

And, of course, it is possible to write your own new macros for use in Connexion. The ITS wiki has some useful tips, as does OCLC's own documentation. Be sure to save your work in a new book as the built-in OCLC book may be overwritten whenever Connexion is updated. 

There is also a huge amount of keyboard mapping available in Connexion. The key combination ctrl + e will open a menu of diacritics, but there are also several (thousand!) key combinations which will simply enter the diacritic you desire, or perform some other function. To see a list of these, click View → Assigned Keys. There is also an informative instruction sheet here, and it includes a printable cheat sheet that I used for a while until I memorized its contents (surprisingly easy). The keyboard can also be customized to accommodate an individual cataloger's particular needs. 

Some shortcuts used by RBT members:

ctrl + shift + a to ...set something up?

To keep the OCLC macro tree open, have your cursor on "OCLC," hit Enter. The macro menu will close and the next time it opens the tree will have been expanded.


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