Strange diacritics in MARC record batch imports from PAMS Birdie MacLennan 24 Sep 2008 22:10 UTC


We are an EBSCO A to Z list subscriber, using this product to keep
track of the great majority of our e-journals. We get monthly MARC
record updates for our catalog, and have been having consistent
problems with diacritics (accent marks, etc.) for MARC records.  The
diacritics get converted into other characters, thus compromising the
integrity of the records and our patrons' ability to find journal
titles in our catalog.

Below are examples of two problem titles. There are others in our
catalog (essentially any EBSCO imported records with diacritics).

  * Archives europâeennes de sociologie [electronic resource] = European
  journal of sociology = Europèaisches Archiv fèur Soziologie.

  --> Should be: Archives européenes ...  Archiv für ...

  * European review of applied psychology [electronic resource] = Revue
  europâeenne de psychologie appliquâee.

  --> should be:  ... = Revue européenne de psychologie appliquée.

Our systems people tell us that the records are already problematical
at the point of import ... the problem isn't our's.  And EBSCO appears
to confirm this, noting that their MARC files are encoded in the
MARC-8 format and that this prevents the diacritics from being
displayed correctly.  They assure us they are in the "midst of
converting formats." But at this time, they don't have a time frame of
when this will be completed.

I first reported this problem to EBSCO last January, and since that
time have periodically asked for updates.  Today, all these many
months later, another patron queried us about the bizarre character
formatting in a record for an e-resource title with distorted

I'm wondering if we are the only EBSCO customer library experiencing
this problem?  Do libraries subscribing to MARC record update batch
loads through Serials Solutions or other Publication Access Management
Services have problems with diacritic displays?

Thank you in advance for any thoughts or perspectives.

         Birdie MacLennan
         Bailey/Howe Library            E-mail:
         University of Vermont           AIM/IM:   birdieatbailey
         538 Main Street                  Phone:   802-656-2016
         Burlington, VT  05405, USA         Fax:   802-656-4038
    Library Associate Professor / Director, Resource Description and Analysis