Merge Multiple R-Balls

RIMMF is a single user application.

To share your data you must export it and make the export accessible to others.

If many people are working on a common project, as in a jane-athon, its usually desirable to combine all of that work into a single folder that can then be reloaded into RIMMF.

These are the general steps we would use following a jane-athon:

  • each cataloger exports their data folder
  • the exported folders are combined into one folder
  • the resulting folder is shared (in some way)

Before you start

If each participant begins the project with a file of core records (something we dubbed a 'janebase' in the jane-athons), its important that these core records have their own unique record prefix.

Its equally important that each participant be assigned a unique record prefix to be used in the records that they add to the project themselves.

Thus, at the end of the project, the records in each participant's data folder will fall into two groups–core records, and records added by the user–each distinguished by their own record prefix.


If there are no core records in the project, then its easy to assign a unique record prefix to all of the records in a data folder using these steps.

Otherwise, the following workaround may solve the problem. Be sure to backup your data folder before trying this workaround.

For each particpant's data folder (that does not have a unique record prefix):

  • close RIMMF, if it is running
  • open the data folder in windows explorer
  • click on the name column to sort on it
  • identify the core records (filenames beginning with the core record prefix)
  • delete the core records (in windows)
  • start RIMMF
  • close RIMMF
  • add a clean copy of the core records to the data folder
  • start RIMMF again (to re-index and repair broken links)

Exporting the data folder

The general steps to export a data folder are detailed here.

But there are a few things to be extra careful about if combining data folders. So, for best results, make sure that:

  1. All records in the EI view are selected
  2. The option 'Include MARC sources' is selected–this ensures that any MARC files downloaded by anyone during the project will become part of the common result.
  3. The type of export option is set to: Zip (Rimmf R-ball)1).
  4. Each participant exports their data folder to a uniquely named file (the filename prompt appears as soon as the Export button is pressed.)


If your project does not meet the guidelines stated above:

  1. core records have a unique record prefix (or were not used at all)
  2. each participant used a unique record prefix

the steps below may result in data being lost.

Merging the exports

This step requires a single computer, with RIMMF installed on it.

  • Make a new folder and name it appropriately
  • Gather all of the exported files from the previous step and copy them to the new folder

Since the .zip format is being used, there should be one .zip file for each participant.

  • For each .zip file, right-click on it and select 'Extract here'

After the first .zip file has been extracted, the remaining .zip files may probably generate messages that prompt you to 'replace an existing file'. The filenames in these messages should all begin with the core record prefix. In this case, select Yes to All.

  • When all of the .zip files have been extracted, remove them from the folder.
  • Start RIMMF, and use the Change data folder 'Tool' to select the folder created above

This will re-index the records and repair any links that were lost by overlaying the core records.

Alternately, in new versions of RIMMF, you can start the program, go to 'Tools | Download web folder', and drag and drop the folder created above onto the form.

Sharing the result

Once the steps above have been completed, you may want to review the resulting data folder and clean-up any problems (duplicate records, incomplete records, etc.).

This is just the normal database maintenance that all catalogers and metadaticians love to perform.

When that's out of the way, follow the Exporting … steps above on your new combined folder.

The resulting .zip file can be

  1. shared on a web server (like we do with the R-balls:
  2. emailed to your colleagues as an attachment
  3. and so on.

The main thing is that the resulting .zip is easily imported back into RIMMF

This format preserves the 'one file=one record' model of the RIMMF data folders, which the following steps require
howto/mergerballs.txt · Last modified: 2023/06/07 20:39 by
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