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Aleph Item Process Status: New Book

The Aleph Item Process Status (IPS) in Aleph is sometimes misunderstood, as it is sometimes (but not always) more than a display field. The functionality built into some of the IPS is complex, so it will probably be best to approach them separately. Today, let’s please take a look at NB New Book.

NB New Book is not used by every CUNY library in the same way. Items with this IPS will need to be considered by each library regularly using it.

There are some common aspects to NB. Items marked with IPS ‘NB’ are not CLICS eligible. Some libraries have said that they preferred to offer new books first to patrons of their own library. In the new LSP, if these items are part of a collection that is CLICS requestable, then these ‘New Books’ would also become requestable in the new LSP.

It would be a good idea to look at how your library is using the Item Process Statuses of ‘NB’ currently in Aleph, and to create some documentation about what your library is looking to achieve. We would then want to use the built in functionality in the next system to accomplish the same thing.

For example, some libraries are using NB status to identify a specific set of materials as being part of a special or separate group. In effect, they are using the IPS of New Book to create something like a collection. (At one CUNY library, many of their items labeled as NB are in fact older books.) It might be that in the next system it would be useful to have these items identified as an unique collection.

Not every library at CUNY is using NB in a way that is supported by the built in Aleph functionality. Since Aleph remains relatively static and unchanging between upgrades, one can get by with a kludge. The new LSP will not be static as there will be ongoing releases over time. We will likely have to pay a little closer attention to how the new software is designed to work, or risk being caught off guard.

Discussion of Item Process Status opens a whole new area of discussion, investigation, and this will be part of the work done by the Data Migration Task Force. (Details about the various Migration working groups are just beginning to be discussed in Committee meetings. Please see your Committee Reps for more details.) We will be talking more about IPS over the coming year.

Sync your Collections with your Circulation Policy

We will need to think about how Collections relate to circulation policies at your library. Circulation under the Library Service Platform will be driven by Collection codes. So, the next phase will involve syncing Circulation (Aleph) Item Status for items within the same collection.

This is less of a concern for items of different material types. One can make exceptions based on material types. However, if you have items of the same material type (eg books) then you may want to review what is in place.

The Aleph report XX_cltn_count provides overall counts of items by sub-library, collection, item status, and by material type. This report will run four times per year so that it is always in Task Manager. (Other listings of a specific collection can be requested by work order.)

For example, a library has a collection with some books that have an initial loan period of three days, along with books that have an initial loan period of 7 days. Maybe it would be better to have a ‘reserves 3 day’ collection and a separate ‘reserves 7 day’ collection. (Some libraries already make this distinction.) Alternately, a library might eliminate one of those initial loan periods. Maybe that collection rarely circulates books for a ‘3 day’ loan?

Pre-planning for Aleph Catalog migration

We have begun early planning for our Aleph migration. At the most recent Cataloging Committee meeting, I had asked libraries to begin reviewing their Collection codes. (Ideally, I request that this be done in the first half of 2018.)

The purpose is take into account more recent initiatives and planning. For most libraries, everything may be fine just as it is. For some libraries, it will be helpful to re-visit their selection of collection codes.

For example, the ‘X’ collection codes for textbooks was something that was useful in the past. It was set up in part to facilitate statistics to compare textbook circulation across CUNY libraries.

Some CUNY libraries have already begun to move away from these ‘X’ codes. The utility for comparison is not as useful as it once was.

One CUNY library already moved their ‘retired’ textbooks into a single ‘old textbooks’ collection. (The books are no longer in Reserves.) They are now circulating these older editions in a new way, with more liberal lending policies for their campus’s students.

Last month another library decided to consolidate 14 collection codes into four existing collection codes. The below chart illustrates this change. (A third library reduced these codes down to two existing codes.) Certainly this reduces complication / error, and makes their circulation statistics more manageable for their staff.

Collection codes to be retired New / Existing Collection code
X3REF, X4REF, X5REF REF
X3RES, X4RES, X5RES RESE
X3RET, X4RET, X5RET, TEXTI RETX
X3STA, X4STA, X5STA, STACI STACK

Serials order record clean up

Libraries are now working on clean-up of Serials order records. An open serials record not attached to a Bibliographic record is not going to have a clear purpose when we eventually migrate. It is also unclear today for staff working in Aleph.

At one library (just before Thanksgiving 2017) we found 262 open serials orders. Of those, 154 orders are not attached to a Bibliographic record. The order creation dates range from 1994 to 2008. Setting those orders aside, this leaves 108 orders (41 %) attached to a Bibliographic record where there is a clear journal title.

Now, we know that those ‘unattached’ orders were not all for budget transactions. We do not know which are the ones still being used as a dummy record.

For an order used for ordering / budget transactions purposes having an attached Bib record (with STA=SUPPRESSED) provides better identification. Since it is a suppressed record, never to be displayed to patrons. It would be more direct and maintainable to keep track of how the orders are intended to be used. Anytime staff look at a record to figure something out, people will want to naturally look at the title.

Consider the purely hypothetical record, with

STA=SUPPRESSED
245= Ebsco Melbourne Scholars Package

Without knowing anything else about this example, you already know what the record’s purpose is.

Also, the Bibliographic record should have a brief holdings and item record. The Item record should be set to Item Process Status = NA (not arrived), SU (suppressed), WD (withdrawn), or CA (Order Canceled). These are the Item Process Statuses that will result in the ‘Title’ being suppressed from patron view.

WD might be a good idea if you do not want the record to be migrated, but this would also depend on how you weed Bibliographic records that have these statuses. It will have an implication depending on which software we use to replace Aleph. If you do not weed by IPS, then it frees your hand in choosing an appropriate IPS.

Orders being closed should be marked as Order Status = ‘CLS’, Invoice Status as ‘Complete’, and depending on the type of order as ‘Arrived’. One would also want to look at any related Subscription records. (No reason to show items as still being expected, then they are not.)

Please contact OLS for help with specific questions.

CUNY’s migration to a Library Services Platform

CUNY’s migration to a Library Services Platform (“LSP”) will provide unified services across the library. It will be a long journey, and we will be building up information for our roadmap as we reach different milestones.

To follow the journey, please consult the OLS Support Site: http://support.cunylibraries.org/systems/lsp

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