Category Archives: General

Sync your Collections with your Circulation Policy – La Segunda Parte

This is the second part of synchronizing your Collections with your Circulation Policy. This work comes after you have begun as described in my previous blog post:

Sync your Collections with your Circulation Policy

Let’s say that you are finding one collection where your library has 345 items with “Aleph Item Status 01”, and 2,357 items with “Aleph Item Status 02”. Let’s also assume that each item generally has the correct circulation policy.

Of course, one would want to separate what are really two sets of items in the same collection. This will be a manual process, because someone will have to edit the holdings records. Someone might also want to check whether some of the individual items seem to have the correct circulation policy.

If we moved an ENTIRE collection to a new collection, it could easily work using a batch process. There would be no new holdings records to create.

We correct both existing items and holdings, and then run a scan to double-check & triple check. There would be a need to re-check for duplicate holdings records, as well as checking any orphaned holdings we may find.

IF we only moved PART of a collection, based on Aleph Item Status (or some other criteria) it would not work by using a batch process. We would be attempting to apply changes to both the existing items and holdings records. The Aleph functionality would not CREATE new holdings records.

This would just make a mess since you might need to add a holdings record. We could not have two items linked to the same holdings record, but with each item attempting to use a different permanent collection code. These automated Aleph functions do not add temporary locations.

For example, we have two items today in collection MEDIA. If we wanted to move one of these items to collection AV and leave one in MEDIA, then we would need to manually create a new holdings record. Of course one could put both permanently in MEDIA, and use a temporary location for media reserves. This requires human judgment.

The recommended way to proceed is to either choose a second existing collection, or add a new collection code, in order to divide these two sets of records into two or more collections. Create a collection description that clearly let’s a patron know exactly where the items are physically located. (Patrons see these descriptions in initial search results.) Then, move the smaller subset of items by editing the holdings records. Items and holdings records absolutely matter in the new LSP.

Any new collections should be added before October 15th, 2018. (This will help us make sure it will be included in the new LSP.) The work of moving items would not be needed to be completed before July 2019, but OLS would not recommend leaving it until the end of the semester or fiscal year end.

Course Reserves / Reserves preparation for CUNY’s new LSP

The (CUNY Library) Data Migration Task Force is now recommending that libraries work on cleaning up our existing Course Reserves / Reserves this summer. This should be done before we set up our Test LSP environment for our new LSP.

Rather than bring over what we know already will be a problem, it is better to correct those issues now. As a shorter term benefit, your Course Reserves during the coming year will be in generally better shape.

We will be bringing over our existing Aleph Course Reserves records into our Test LSP environment (by this coming fall). Each library will have the opportunity to assess how well the catalog data migrated from our Production Aleph into our Test LSP environment, and prepare for our eventual go live. When we bring Course Reserves data over to our LIVE Production LSP environment, we will be bringing over the records from our Test LSP environment.

This will allow libraries at least 10 months to decide whether to:

• Clear out these records, and completely start over fresh, or
• Make any needed corrections and prepare their Course Reserves

There are known issues in the data migration into the new LSP. Other libraries that have gone before CUNY have found the problems serious enough that the majority recommend not migrating any Course Reserves. Some libraries have reported that their Course Reserves records migrated without problems, but describe having done careful maintenance prior to migration.

Course reserves will work differently in the new LSP, and uses a very different data structure. Migrating / translating our Aleph data over to this new environment will be directly affected by how well in order our existing Course Reserves records are.

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?

EDIT: Please look at the June 2018 Cataloging Committee meeting minutes for a more detailed explanation.

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
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