Learn about: The RIMMF Search & Retrieve Tool

The goal of this tool is to make it possible to search a few sources of good, consistent, free MARC data, available on the Web; and, after the data is retrieved, map the MARC record into RIMMF RDA format and display the result; and then allow you to choose whether or not to import the converted data.

Invoking the interface

The RIMMF Search interface can be opened in three ways:

  1. From the Main Menu | Tools | Search and retrieve
  2. By entering function key <F3> at any point
  3. By choosing 'Search for name in NAF' when in the Text box of any relationship element



  • Choose an approriate Source to search. RIMMF defaults to '[ID] NAF' the first time the interface is opened in a session, by which we mean the NACO Authority file as available via http://id.loc.gov (Thank you, LC!)
  • Customize a search, adjusting the Search Options provided, if necessary
  • Enter the term you wish to search, in the 'Terms' box
  • Press <Enter>, or press the 'Search' button

Search Source

To change a search source, click on your choice in the 'Search Source' panel on the left of the menu.

The first 10 options, listed below, search the Library of Congress catalogs using the SRU protocol1).

  • [BIB] Any
  • [BIB] Name
  • [BIB] Title
  • [BIB] Lccn
  • [BIB] Isbn
  • [NAF] Name
  • [NAF] Title
  • [NAF[ N/T
  • [NAF] Lccn
  • [SAF] Subject

This protocol provides:

  • more granularity and more comprehensive results (than the other search options)
  • multiple indexes
  • support for variant headings
  • support for adding modifiers to the search terms (e.g., left-anchor, truncation, phrase vs. keyword)

The number of records retrieved by this process is currently set to 15. The resulting list of hits displays in no discernible order. If more than 15 records are found by a search, click on the <Search> button again to bring up additional results. Since you cannot move backwards through the resulting lists, however, it might be more efficient, to use the Links button and go to the LC OPAC to do your search there, and then return to this form and enter the LCCN or ISBN of your chosen record.

These next 2 options, captioned '[ID]', search headings in the ID.LOC.GOV versions of the NACO Authority File (NAF) and Subject Authority File (SAF).

  • [ID] NAF
  • [ID] SAF

Hit results are displayed in an alphabetical list, starting with the closest match to what you entered. Searching ID.LOC.GOV is much faster than searching via SRU; however, there is no support for variant headings, only 10 hits are ever retrieved, and there is no support for moving backward and forward in a hitlist.

The next option searches VIAF, the Virtual International Authority File, using the autoSuggest protocol.

  • [VIAF]

The result list displays in no discernible order.

The final option browses Wikipedia using the current search term:

  • [Wikipedia]


Enter the words, etc., that you want to search here, then press <Enter>, or press the 'Search' button on the left. Even after pressing <Enter>, the cursor will remain in the box until you move it, so its easy to change a search.

Search hints:

  • Capitalization does not matter
  • Punctuation does matter: enter commas and periods (after initials)
  • You must normalize LCCNs and ISBNs (but you do not need to add the 2 or 3 blank spaces as a prefix to the LCCNs)
  • Name and Title are browse indexed only, the others are keyword searches

Result Options

If a search results in one or more hits, the following buttons on the right of the menu become actionable:


This option:

  • downloads the MARCXML version of the record
  • converts it to tagged text format
  • displays it in the RIMMF browser

From here you can determine whether or not the retrieved data is what you are looking for.

As a shortcut, double-clicking on an item in the hitlist will do the same thing as clicking View MARC.


After looking at a MARC record and deciding that it matches your search, you might want to add the record to your RIMMF datastore. To do this, select the entry in the hitlist (this may already have been done in the previous step) and press 'Import'.

This will launch the following sequence of processing inside the program:

  1. Determine what RDA entity to use for the MARC record
  2. Fetch the mapping for the determined RDA entity from the tables
  3. Reformat the MARC data to a format more conducive to 'mapping'
  4. Reformat the mapping so that it looks more like MARC
  5. Perform the mapping
  6. Run various clean-up routines on the result
  7. Create a new RIMMF document from the determined RDA template
  8. Load the mapped data into the default template

The above happens pretty quickly, except perhaps when importing a Manifestation, when you might be able to see the program 'thinking a bit' about the task. The reason for this is simply the large size of the default template for this entity.

At this point, this interface only imports from MARCXML records. Even VIAF records are converted to MARCXML so that they can be imported. You cannot import Wikipedia records, but can learn a great deal about Works, Persons, etc., from articles posted there.

Importing records from MARC to RIMMF RDA is a complicated process; so complicated that we have a number of other sections about the topic. Go to the “Learn About” page to read more about importing MARC and “MARC Mapping Issues”.

Click the down arrow by this button to choose another source to search, e.g., the LC OPAC, or OCLC WorldCat (public interface). You will not be able to use the <F3> Import button to import a record found in one of those outside sources, but see the Drag and Drop MARC to RIMMF instructions for how simple it is to bring in such a record.

You can also add your own links to this “Links” menu by following the instructions displayed when you choose “Add a link to this menu”.


Click this button to open this help page from the <F3> menu.


If a search seems hung-up you may use this button to abort the search. The default time-out for the search tool is 30 seconds. Another way to abort a search is to click on the clock widget in the top right corner.

If a search 'times-out' try it again–the server might simply be busy.


Right-clicking on any heading in the search results hitlist will browse to the html page for that URI:

After a search, a pair of captions will display between the search terms and the hitlist, and two little widgets will be shown at the top right side of the screen:

On the left ('16' in the snapshot) is the hit counter for the current search. On the right ('1 s' in the current snap) is the time taken for the search; the second widget will indicate a search is in progress by spinning a clockwise direction. You can click on the second widget to stop a search.

Local search

Every time you use the tool to perform a search, RIMMF performs the same search locally against your own Entity Index (EI). If there are any hits against the EI, it will be announced by the blue caption at the top of the hitlist; and if there are, simply click on the caption to switch over to the EI and view the matching items. The purpose of this is to prevent you from adding duplicates to the system.


Its not possible for us to troubleshoot internet problems, unfortunately.

But we have a page that might help narrow down the problem: Internet Access Problems.

a protocol which makes it possible to access Z39.50 services over HTTP
details/searchandretrieval.txt · Last modified: 2023/06/07 20:39 by
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