MARC Metadata Records

ICPSR will cease distributing MARC records at the end of 2015, in favor of an OAI-PMH approach. We will post more information here as it becomes available.

Obtaining MARC from ICPSR

From any search results page, you can download the result set by following the "MARC21 XML" link underneath "Export Results" (at the bottom of the right column). Use the "Filter by Recency" facet to restrict your result set to records recently added or updated, or use other facets/queries to customize your result set.

In addition to building your own sets, you can choose to download the pre-built sets below:


We have provided a number of FAQs on our MARC:

  1. Can I generate MARC for studies updated in a particular date range?

    Unfortunately, no. The Filter by Recency function enables you to select studies added/updated in the last week, month, quarter, or year. We have no plans of implementing a specific date range search for adds/updates. That said, ICPSR will be generating annual update files that feature all adds/updates for the prior year.

  2. Can I get assistance from ICPSR in loading the MARC into my card catalog?

    ICPSR does not have a great deal of MARC expertise in house. If there is a flaw in the XML itself, we can correct that quickly, but we cannot provide guidance on loading the MARC into your catalog. Your best source of support would be to discuss the matter with other ORs.

  3. Can I just obtain the MARC from OCLC?

    You can, but you'll be charged for the records. In addition, there's no guarantee that the records will be up-to-date.

  4. Can I obtain MARC from ICPSR? What about Dublin Core?

    ICPSR has a number of export functions for study-level metadata. On the search results page, you can now export results as either MARC21 XML or comma-delimited files (with a maximum of 500 results). This export feature appears at the base of the right-hand column on the search results page. From the study home page, you can now export a study-level metadata record in a variety of formats, including DDI, Dublin Core, and MARC21 XML.

    These export options replace ICPSR's previous method of disseminating MARC records. The changes are:

    • We now provide MARC21 XML, not true MARC.
    • The new MARC21 XML doesn't include all fields previously indexed; it's a concise metadata record.
    • We no longer submit our MARC to OCLC.
    • We no longer have our MARC reviewed/corrected by library staff at the University of Michigan.
    • Users can easily build custom sets of MARC21 XML, rather than having to re-import all ICPSR metadata.
    • Users can obtain updated XML at will, rather than waiting for an annual batch from ICPSR.

    At the beginning of each year, our staff will generate two large XML files:

    • a file containing all ICPSR metadata as MARC21 XML
    • a file containing all studies added or updated in the last year as MARC21 XML

    We'll link those files from the OR site, so that the 500 result limit doesn't prevent users from obtaining the full metadata.

    If you see any flaws with the XML, please don't hesitate to let us know. The new setup makes it very easy for ICPSR to globally update our XML, and we'd like to ensure that the XML is suitable for our institutions' library catalogs. If you have any questions/concerns, please email

  5. Can I submit ICPSR MARC records to OCLC?

    Not without express permission from ICPSR. ICPSR is currently in discussion with interested parties. If you would like to assist in submitting our records to OCLC, please contact

  6. How can I get around the 500 results maximum on the metadata export/search results?

    Your export link will look something like this:

    That URL will return ICPSR studies in MARC format that were added/updated in the last quarter. It will return the first 500 results. If you change paging.startRow=1 to paging.startRow=501, it will return results 501 through 1000. By doing that, you can snag more than 500 results, but you have to break them into 500-record increments.

    You can change paging.rows to a higher value, but it won't let you get around the 500-record limit.

    Why doesn't ICPSR just make links for each 500? Or the whole set?

    We want to prevent the export functions from taxing the server too much. If we put those links on the site anywhere, then every search engine crawler would hit those links repeatedly, which could cause our server to grind to a halt.

  7. How do I match your MARC records to existing records in my catalog?

    To update your catalog records, please use the 035 field as the matchpoint. 035 contains the ICPSR study number, which is always unique.

  8. Why are the summary fields empty?

    This was a bug in our MARC export process that we're in the process of correcting.

  9. The links in my catalog no longer work!

    If the URLs in your catalog begin with anything other than, then you're using URLs that aren't persistent. Please update your MARC records. Because we implemented persistent URLs a few years back, you won't have to deal with this problem again.

  10. What fields were dropped in the revised MARC?

    We removed the following elements when we switched from distributing MARC to MARC21 XML:

    • 035a: OCLC id
    • 490: series name
    • 505a: dataset names
    • 516a: number of datasets
    • 518a: time period
    • 522a: geographic coverage
    • 536a: funding agency
    • 536c: grant number
    • 567a: universe
    • 650/651: LC subject headings added by U-M Libraries


If you have any questions, or find an error in our MARC, please email us at Our new setup makes it very easy to customize the MARC21 XML, so please don't hesitate to report any errors.

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