Sorting a record on a tag

The primary purpose of the MARC Sort/Dedupe utility is to organize a file using the data in a specified tag: for example, find all records with duplicate OCLC numbers, sort a file on the title (245), etc.

It is also possible, in two cases, to use this utility to sort the tags inside a record (as opposed to sorting the records in a file).


If selected, 'Sort Same Tag on Data' will

  • sort all variable tags in the record in numerical order, and
  • sort tags matching the 'Tag 1' parameter in alpha-numeric order

The file itself is not sorted at all.

The data in the matching tags is sorted starting with indicator 1, unless the 'Ignore indicators option is selected; in that case, the sort starts with the first subfield.

This option might be useful to produce reports on records that have large numbers of repeated tags (like holdings data, or 650s, 700s, etc), since it will put the repeated tags in alphabetical order, which may make the records more readable.

The user should be aware that Note fields (5XX) are (intentionally) not entered by catalogers in numeric order; also, the first subject heading in an LC record is (intentionally) meant to be first.


If selected, then the utility will only sort tags that match the paremeter entered for 'Tag 1'.

Again, the file itself is not sorted at all.

The difference here is that while the above option sorts all the tags in a record, this one allows the user to specify that only a single tag to be sorted. This option also makes it possible to customize the order in which the first subfield in a field will sort.

For example, let's say we have a bunch of records with two 856 fields, like this:

856 41$3Also available in PDF form for download.$u
856 40$u$zAn electronic book; click to view

but we want the 856 beginning with $3 to display after the one with $u.

This objective is problematic in a sort routine, because numbers sort before letters in the typical ASCII order. To get around this limitation, the 'Sort only Tag1 on Data' option includes a tool that permits the user to specify the sort order of the first subfield.

When the option is selected, a list containing all of the MARC subfields appears on the option form. The subfields are listed in a fairly generic MARC order, but each subfield can be dragged and dropped into a new position. So, in the example above, simply drag '3' to follow 'u', and the utility will move all of the 856's beginning with $3 to follow those beginning with $u:

236/sort_on_tag.txt · Last modified: 2021/12/29 16:21 (external edit)
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