Category Archives: General

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 Academic Works Monthly Report: May 2017

A snapshot of CUNY Academic Works

A snapshot of CUNY Academic Works

During the month of May, CUNY Academic Works grew by 238 new items and 48,708 new downloads!

The five most downloaded works in May include:

  1. Media Representation of Asian Americans and Asian Native New Yorkers’ Hybrid Persona
    Series: Dissertations and Theses at the CUNY Graduate Center
  2. Training a New Trick Using No-Reward markers: Effects on Dogs’ Performance and Stress Behaviors
    Series: Student Theses at Hunter College
  3. The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences
    Series: Publications and Research at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  4. New York City Drunk Driving After Uber
    Series: Publications and Research at the CUNY Graduate Center
  5. Birthing, Blackness, and the Body: Black Midwives and Experiential Continuities of Institutional Racism
    Series: Dissertations and Theses at the CUNY Graduate Center

Please note that, with one exception, May’s top downloads were all authored by CUNY students! This is no surprise. Students’ unpublished dissertations and theses have a higher per item download count over any other type of content. As of this date, nine schools collect dissertations and theses in CUNY Academic Works: Baruch College, City College of New York, College of Staten Island, CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY School of Public Health, CUNY Graduate Center, Hunter College, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Queens College. Some of these schools started collections as part of a longstanding requirement (with an opt-out option), and others started their collections because a student requested it. Watch this space for more information about students works in CUNY Academic Works. In the meantime, you may be interested in reading Roxanne Shirazi’s recent post on the GC Library’s blog, Dissertations and Theses Year-in-Review, 2016-17.

CUNY Academic Works Monthly Report: April 2017

A snapshot of CUNY Academic Works

A snapshot of CUNY Academic Works

During the month of April, CUNY Academic Works grew by 218 new items and 48,090 new downloads!

The five most downloaded works in April include:

  1. New York City Drunk Driving After Uber
    Series: Publications and Research at the CUNY Graduate Center
  2. The Influence of Anti-Semitism on United States Immigration Policy with Respect to German Jews During 1933-1939
    Series: Master’s Theses at City College of New York
  3. Media Representation of Asian Americans and Asian Native New Yorkers’ Hybrid Persona
    Series: Dissertations and Theses at the CUNY Graduate Center
  4. The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences
    Series: Publications and Research at John Jay College of Criminal Justice
  5. Reframing School Dropout as a Public Health Issue
    Series: Publications and Research at Hunter College

CUNY Academic Works in the News

When CUNY researchers share their work with a wider public, this includes journalists interested in fact-based reporting. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that April’s top two downloads have the additional distinction of being cited in the news!

A doctoral candidate in the Graduate Center’s Economics Program, Jessica Lynn Peck, found that NYC has seen a 25 to 35 percent decrease in alcohol-related crashes since 2011. Both the Miami Herald and The Economist cited her working paper, “New York City Drunk Driving After Uber,” bringing scores of new readers to it (including some from Uber and even the U.S. Department of Transportation!).

A 2011 master’s thesis from former City College student and current CUNY Graduate Center student Barbara L. Bailin examines the influence of anti-semitism on United States immigration policies and was recently cited by Ingrid Anderson (Boston University) in a piece for The Conversation. An independent (and open access!) source of news and perspectives from the academic and research community, the story was then picked up by other outlets such as Salon, Alternet, Business Insider, and Observer. These are wonderful examples of how publicly accessible research can be translated into publicly accessible language.

Best Practice when Setting up ILL Accounts in Aleph

The best practice when setting up ILL accounts in Aleph is to set up individual accounts (patron status “32.ILL”) for individual ILL borrowers. Having all ILL loans go out under one individual account is not a good practice for several reasons. For example, it is not technically possible in Aleph for a single account to have unlimited loans. There are several advantages to individual accounts:

  • ILL borrowers (the libraries making the request, not their patrons) would receive all patron notices and billing for un-returned items
  • Borrowing Libraries would have a “bill” or lost materials notices to hand their patrons
  • The notices can be targeted to a specific individuals at the borrowing organizations, for better communication
  • Fewer ILL loans to the same account means one is less likely to hit a ‘limit’
  • Several CUNY libraries may lend to the SAME borrower, but only one account is maintained. The work is thus distributed.

You can get more information, including a sample list of such accounts already set up in Aleph, on the OLS Support Site.

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