Reasons to Use Batch Edit

Use batch edit if you need to change, add, or remove the same piece of metadata on a large number of records. For instance, at one point during La MaMa’s 2015 cataloging push, the built-in LCSH and naming authorities lookup function in our CA back-end broke. Once we got it fixed, we needed any easy way to go back into a large number of already-created records to add a relatively standard set of LCSH and naming authorities. We created a set using the “createdby” find tool, and then batch edited that set quickly to add the necessary LSCH and naming authorities.  

Another example: say you decide to relocate parts of your collection from one storage location to another. A cataloger could easily update the storage location field to reflect this with just a few clicks.

How to Use Batch Edit

  1. Create a set that represents the group of records that you want to batch edit. If you do not know how to create a set, read this description (from CollectiveAccess’s official wiki).
  1. Once your set has been created, mouse over the “Manage” tab in the main menu, and choose “My sets.”


This will take you to a screen that contains all of the sets you have created:


Find the set you want to edit, and click on the batch edit icon (which looks like a stack of papers) in the “Items” column for that set. This should take you to a batch edit screen:


  1. Now you can select the metadata element(s) that you want to batch edit in the set.

Using the menus left sidebar, you can browse which attributes of the records you would like to batch edit. You can batch edit “Basic info,” “Relationships,” “Storage Locations,” and other attributes.

For example, let’s say you want to edit the Format field. Click on the appropriate drop-down menu on the right side of the screen for the field that you want to batch edit. When you batch edit you can choose to add a new value to each item, replace all existing values with a new value, or remove all values in this metadata field. Choose the option you want. In this case, we are choosing to “replace values” with the new value.


  1. This will unlock another set of options (which will depend on the specifications of the selected metadata). Choose the option in the dropdown that applies to you. In this case, “film” will be chosen to replace the format value of all items in the set with “film.”  


  1. Be careful and consider the implications of your batch edit. Will you be erasing data that’s important? Are you sure that you want to edit all the items in the set?

When you’re happy with the options you’ve selected, click on “Execute batch edit,” and watch CollectiveAccess do its magic!

Note: All screenshots are of CollectiveAccess Providence version 1.6.2.

See Also

Official CollectiveAccess documentation for Batch Editing

Official CollectiveAccess documentation for Batch Deleting (use with caution)