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Activating CUNY Central collections in OCLC WorldShare Collection Manager

We will soon need to use the knowledgebase WorldShare Collection Manager (“WCM”) from OCLC to set our e-resource holdings in WorldCat.

WorldShare logo

Those of you on ERAC may remember seeing instructions from OLS about using WCM. At that time, CUNY Central’s holdings were in the middle of a batchload migration from Serials Solutions (“SerSol”) to WCM so we couldn’t really recommend which way to set your initial holdings—that is, whether to use the batchload migration method or the manual selection method. OCLC support told us the migration could take 30 to 90 days to complete. It is just a few days shy of the 90-day upper limit and we now feel like we can speak a bit more about both methods and, in fact, recommend manual selection:

  • Batchload migration was not always accurate. For example, it chose an Elsevier E-book package to which we do not subscribe and it did not select an Elsevier Journal package. Also, it took far too long and there are still several collections yet to be activated. Even if you activate via batchload migration, you still have to go through your collections to double-check and “edit” them (which is what we’re currently doing). It seems this method is not really a time saver.
  • On the other hand, manual selection of your initial holdings will familiarize you in the use of the knowledgebase and as you’ll be using WCM in future to set new holdings, it’s good practice. It took us a few hours to identify about 90% of our collections.

As we did identify most of the Centrally managed e-resources, we’ve created a spreadsheet of collections that you can use when selecting them for your holdings:


(You’ll receive a notice via ERAC when the spreadsheet gets updated.)

A few things you might want to keep in mind as you’re selecting collections:

  • Often, the number of titles in a SerSol collection and a WCM collection is a little off—there are often variances in knowledgebases as one collection may reflect a title change as one title, and another may present it as two titles.
  • Sometimes, the number of titles in a SerSol collection and a WCM collection is a lot off—SerSol collections contain the journals in a collection, WCM collections typically contain all content: journals, videos, monographs, etc.
  • There are slight name variances in many cases. Check the spreadsheet to get a sense of what they can look like.

We’ll rely on the ERAC mailing list for communication about WCM, discussions about collections that should be activated, suggestions about local holdings that may be useful to others, etc.

Automatic barcode loading and activation in Aleph

The beginning of the semester brings to the library thousands of new students who need to activate their barcodes in order to use library services. What if we told you the loading of active barcodes could be automated?

To begin, you need to first sit down and consider the details:

How frequently will barcodes be loaded into Aleph?

The answer to this question varies campus to campus. For example, the School of Professional Studies (SPS) tends to have a more frequent student turnover population, so an ongoing load of barcodes (such as weekly or monthly) has more advantage. A campus with a more traditional semester structure may be satisfied with loads at the start of the semester. However, even this merits discussion: Should the patron load include barcodes only once at the start of the semester or also include a second load two weeks later (for students registering late)? Should it be just the Spring and Fall, or also include the Summer?

Keep in mind that it would not be techncally possible for daily loads (due to the sheer size of our university). However, we already have weekly loads. Patron loading is scheduled in the off hours as as not to interfere with other batch processing, such as loading/updating bibliographic records, and various patron notices.

Who will be included in these loads?

The scope of the patron load should consider whether to have students loaded just at the start of their academic career at your institution, or loaded every year. Repeatedly loading students every semester will overwrite any changes manually made by staff over time. If someone gets a new ID card, their barcode will be corrected. The update of the barcodes cannot be blocked, so a patron’s barcode will revert to whatever is on record by the ID office.

Would freshmen be loaded both semesters or just when they are new? Would it include summer semester students, who may be taking only a single class? Should the load instead only include people who have been issued a new ID card within the past seven months (for incoming students as well as those being re-issued ID cards)?

What role do barcodes play in authentication on your campus?

The way barcodes are used for authentication varies campus to campus. Some libraries use it for access to electronic resources. Some security staff screen patrons for access based on the ID card.

Does the campus provide an ID with a unique barcode already printed on the card?

The barcode to be loaded should appear on the ID card. (How else will students or barcode readers know what their barcode is?) What if a person has multiple campus relationships (potentially two or more barcodes) and prefers a certain barcode to be their main, active barcode? How would a library manage a situation where someone has their campus’s barcode overwritten each semester (while the individual would rather retain a barcode from a different campus)? Staff will then have to create two accounts for a patron, and does your library wanting to take on manually maintaining the second account?

These considerations vary greatly across the CUNY libraries so please discuss them internally before beginning any work. When you’re ready to proceed, designate someone from library as the point person on this project. The next step will be for this person to open a work order with these specifications. This will be followed by contacting the various other groups involved, and continue to manage follow-up for this project. This includes dialog with the campus staff that manage barcode IDs and IT/CIS.

What is recommended?

The Office of Library Services recommends loading only incoming students (new freshmen and transfer students) OR people who have been issued new IDs within the past seven months. (Seven months is based on understanding the patron loading cycle details.) This will eliminate lines at service desks for 99% of new students. Over time, the majority of students will be covered. This would be a large increase over the current estimated 50% of a campus’s students having a barcode entered. Any subsequent changes would be a more rare exception, and, once corrected by staff, these changes/corrections would be preserved.

OLS has a separate request for changes pending to improve the way that patrons are imported from CUNYfirst. This includes loading patrons 7 to 10 days before the start of a semester, and improving the identification of a primary campus relationship (Home Library). Until this is in place, we do not have a way to only load barcodes when it is a patron’s home campus.


June 2022
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