Lehigh Libraries develop open source cataloging add-on for Google Sheets

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MatchMARC Google Sheets add-on

Michelle Suranofsky, developer on the Library Technology team and Lisa McColl, Cataloging/Metadata Librarian, recently collaborated on a project that automates a step of the library’s book cataloging workflow.  The utility they created, a Google Sheets add-on called MatchMarc, was developed using the Google Apps Script platform and initially written to facilitate the workflow in a collaborative project in which the library worked with the Lehigh University’s Art Galleries to catalog their collection of print art books. The add-on automates a crucial step in the cataloging process, and has since been adopted for other cataloging projects. 

Using an API provided by a vendor the library subscribes to, the add-on automates the lookup, comparison and selection of existing cataloging records for each book being catalogued. It selects the best record (based on criteria configured by the cataloger) and writes the result to the Google Sheet.

Michelle and Lisa gave a presentation about MatchMarc at the American Library Association’s annual conference for the ALCTS Technical Services Workflow Efficiency Interest Group in June.  The code for the project and Google Sheet add-on itself have been made available for anyone to use. Add-on details and instructions for use can be found in their article entitled “MatchMarc: A Google Sheets Add-on that uses the WorldCat Search API,” appearing in the latest issue of Code4Lib Journal. They plan to further enhance the tool so it can be used by the library acquisitions team and for large e-book cataloging projects.

Boaz Nadav Manes, Lehigh’s University Librarian says: “I am very proud of Michelle’s and Lisa’s most recent automation development and the wide interest in it within Library professional circles. Undoubtedly, without this tool, cataloging the LUAG reference collection would have taken much longer and involved many more staff. This development is another testament of Lehigh Library team’s ability to innovate and make the best use of resources, and also for the values we champion by contributing it freely to our colleagues as open source code.”