Michigan State University

REMOTE Searching in Sierra (Matching Copy)

If SkyRiver cannot supply the needed record you can search other libraries' catalogs from within Sierra using the Z39.50 (REMOTE) feature.

To search other libraries' catalogs, from the main search screen in Sierra,

  • Click the + button to the right of the search box in Sierra
  • Choose Remote from the drop down menu.
  • The "Select Databases" box will open
  • Click to put a check mark next to each library catalog you wish to search
  • Remember that not all libraries support all the search indexes in Z39.50, so choose your libraries appropriately
  • Click OK

Select search type from the drop-down menu and key in search term(s)


The Searching Remote Databases box appears and tracks search progress

When search is complete click CLOSE

Open desired record from the results display

You cannot compare the various records side by side. Compare them one at a time, making note of the essential features of each.

Select one record and edit it as necessary. Bring this record into our catalog as either an OVERLAY of an existing breif bib or as a NEW record:

OVERLAY: To bring the record into our database by overlaying an existing record, click OVERLAY

  • The Select bib to overlay box displays
  • Key in search terms and click SEARCH ; (Hint: the order number is the most efficient search)
  • Verify that the record retrieved is the correct bib, and then click USE BIB

NEW: To bring the record into our database as a new bib (no overlay), click SAVE


To add an item record, click on Summary.

If you have elected to attach an item record when exporting you will be prompted for item record details as appropriate to the template you’ve chosen to apply. If you have not specified a default template, you’ll first be asked to choose a template. For most cataloging workflows you should choose the itm template for item records.

Click LOCAL to exit the remote searching function.

If you intend to do a lot of Remote searching with overlaying, you may want to change your default settings so that an item record is automatically created & attached to your bib record. To change your settings:

In the New Records tab, click to check-mark the item box at the bottom of the screen (“Records to attach to new bibliographic records”)


Fields to delete

  • 001 (control number, IF it is not an OCLC number)
  • 004 (a local, non-MARC field; if present)
  • 005 (date/time of last transaction)
  • 049 (Local holdings code)
  • 099 (this field contains another library’s local call number and this should not display to our users)
  • 59X (these fields represent another library’s local notes; these fields will display in red)
  • 856 (this field contains a URL for an electronic resource; the URL could include information specific to another library’s e-access process)
  • 9XX (these fields also represent another library’s local information; these fields may display in blue)

Fields to edit

  • 001 (IF it contains an OCLC number, move that number to an 035 field)
  • 003 (if this field appears in a record, replace what is there with SKY)
  • 040 (if there is an 040 and you are making changes to the record, you may optionally add |dMiEM at the end of the field)
  • 049 (replace what appears with the appropriate 4-character OCLC holding code for MSU, such as EEMR for location mn)
  • Location (you will always have to add MSU’s local location code in the Millennium fixed field)

Fields to add

  • 003 (if not present; should contain the word SKY)
  • 035 (if you are moving an OCLC control number from the 001 field)
  • 040 (if not present, add)
    If you are not making changes to the record, use |cMiEM.
    If you are making changes to the record, use |cMiEM|dMiEM
  • 049 (if not present; include the appropriate 4-character OCLC holding code for MSU, such as EEMR for location mn)
  • Location code in the bib record

Any fields coded Z39.50 (these fields may display in blue font) will not be retained in the exported record. There is no need to delete them prior to taking action (SAVE or OVERLAY).

You can monitor the source of your record (i.e., which remote library supplied the record) by checking the Windows title bar across the top of your window. This is the dark blue band that displays across the top of the window. The index display for remote searches will also indicate the source of the record in the ORIGIN column.

When you are viewing a record from an index display and you wish to exit from that record and view another record from the index list, do not click CLOSE. This will remove the index display and you will have to re-initiate your remote search. Click BROWSE instead.

When you select a record to display from a remote search results screen, notice that there is no .b number assigned – instead of a .b number you’ll see the words NEW Bibliographic. This is evidence that you are viewing a copy of that library’s record, and any edits you make for exporting purposes will not be retained in the remote library’s catalog. Once you save your record and export it into our database, a new .b number will be automatically assigned by the system.