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Title: November 2010 Users' Group Session
Category: Mandarin
Description: The 852 field: your best resource for imparting local information; Listserv mania!; Finding available barcode ranges; Noting funds/purchase info

Rather late posting last month's topics, but I figured better late than never!  So here's what I can recall of the November meeting.  If you were there and recall anything I missed, please post to the comments!

1) The 852 Field: Your Best Source for Imparting Local Information

Since the 852 field is designed for local information, it definitely is the best place to put that sort of thing!  We reviewed the subfields and discussed which ones the folks who were present tended to use (almost everyone uses 852#9, a, b, h, i, k and some use c as well).  Here's the rundown:

852#a - your local school code (4 letters only, no numbers - I see sometimes people put a 1 in front of it like it's the beginning of a barcode, but you don't need the "1").  It's important to have this one for ILL purposes especially.  When Sue or I pull your data to put into SCOOLS, we check the records and put your school code in any records that don't have them or have incorrect information in there!

852#b - the 4-letter code for which end of the region you're in, i.e., GSTE or GSTW. ('s occurring to me that since we only have one person doing ILL now, maybe that might change!  Will have to check into that...)

852#c - this is the shelving location.  It's useful when you have items that are housed in a special location, like a special series shelf, a memorial shelf, or perhaps even in another room. The OPAC can be configured to show this field if it doesn't already show in yours.  We talked about this vs. the 852#k and what the differences are; Reference items, for example, are generally shelved in a different location and you know that because they have R or REF in the 852#k.  In many cases these fields can be used interchangeably; however, I think it's better to think in terms of groups when deciding.  Reference items generally don't circulate the same way as your general collection, so the REF indicator helps your patrons know that.  But if you have a particular place where you keep your series books - Magic Tree House, say - well, those books will have the same circulation parameters as the rest of your fiction, but are just not shelved in with the rest of the fiction collection.  And let's further say that many of those copies are paperbacks, and you like to put PB in the 852#k so you know which format you're searching. So putting something like SERIES in the 852#c lets your patrons know that they can find those items on your special series shelves, and still leaves your 852#k free to put whatever indicator you want.

852#h - your call number.  Kind of essential, if you want to be able to find the item on the shelf!

852#i - this is the item part number; sometimes we call it the cutter.  (But Cuttering is really another whole story; I'm not getting into that!) It's generally the first three letters of the author's last name (except for biographies, in which case it's the SUBJECT's last name or first three letters thereof).

852#k - the prefix; usually used for things like Reference, Audio-Visual, etc.  It usually indicates a type of item rather than a location, though, as I said in the discussion of the 852#c above, it can indicate both.

852#m - the item suffix.  It's a good place to put stuff like volume or part numbers.

852#p - the barcode.  'Nuff said.

852#t - copy number.  If you have multiple copies of an item and want to actually number them, this is where you do that!

852#z - public note.  This is where you'd put information that you want your patrons to know - things like "Copy signed by author,"  for example.

There are other subfields in the 852, of course, but these are the most common and probably the most useful for our purposes.  If you want to see a whole rundown of all the 852 subfields, check out the MARC Bibliographic page at the Library of Congress.  You can see either a concise description or a full description.

Regardless of which subfields you use, however, it's important to know that the 852 field MUST APPEAR IN THE BIBLIOGRAPHIC RECORD IN ORDER FOR IT TO SHOW UP IN THE OPAC!

If you just put it in the holding, your patrons won't see a call number in the OPAC. Best practice: put it in both the bib and the holding.

 2) ListServ Mania!

It's been awhile since we talked about the listserv to folks, to it seemed like a good time to discuss it.  I presented this FAQ with some tips:

General Listserv FAQs:


Q: What is a listserv?

A: An electronic mailing list; a distribution list.


Q: What are the advantages of using a listserv?

A: You can send an email to a single address and it goes to many people at once. It is easier to maintain one central distribution list rather than many.


Q: What are the disadvantages of using a listserv?

A: People either do not always understand how a listserv works or do not know proper listserv etiquette.


GST Listserv FAQs:



Q: When should I use our listserv? 



A: If you are seeking or sharing information that you feel may be of interest to the library staff in our region at large.  Asking how other staff handles tasks, processes, or situations; sharing educational resources; or asking if anyone knows of or has need resources are all examples of times to use the listserv. There are many others!



Q: Who can be a member of the GST-Librarians listserv?

A: Librarians, Library Staff, other professionals who work with libraries in our region


Q: Who is in charge of our listserv?

A: The listserv is hosted by GST Computer Services.  Sue Tanner is the contact at SLS for getting accounts added, removed, or changed (note that she does not actually have the access to do that – she’s just the intermediary!)


Q: Who can post to the listserv?

A: Anyone who is a member!  Just send an email to


Q: Will I see a copy of something I send to the listserv?

A: No.  You have to take it on faith that it actually got sent!  If you really want to know, check with any of the SLS staff or someone else whom you know is on the listserv.


Listserv Etiquette (this also applies to general email, actually!)



The Subject Field - Always enter a descriptive phrase in the subject field of the e-mail message. This phrase should give an indication of the message's content. If you have more than one topic, send separate messages for each topic.


Reply Address - When replying to a message, pay attention to where the message is going. Remember, the default reply address is the listserv, and not to the person who wrote the message. Sending a message to the wrong address can be very embarrassing, and fills up inboxes unnecessarily!


Keep it Professional – Only send emails that are work-related and relevant. 

3) Finding available barcode ranges

If you need to order new barcodes or need to send a range to a new vendor, fear not!  There's a simple way to see what ranges are not in use in your catalog.  See  the following video!



4) Noting Funds/Purchase Info

We had a discussion about where to put information regarding the date of purchase and what funds were used to purchase materials.  The 591 field is probably the very best place for this, since it's specifically set up for it!  The 591 is a local notes field and includes 4 subfields:
As with everything else, if you have the information in the record, you can extract reports or lists of items should you ever want or need to do so.


5) This month's websites...

...are available here