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Title: January 2011 User's Group Session
Category: Mandarin
Description: Updates in the SCOOLS Catalog: No barcodes; Multiple 852 fields and/or subfields in the holding; Items in wrong groups; Inforamtion in the wrong fields; Inappropriate lower case; Unicode records

1. Updates in the SCOOLS Catalog

For us, the SCOOLS catalog, which we use for ILL, is a static catalog; that is to say - the records do not change dynamically like they do in your own catalog.  In YOUR catalog, if you add a record, edit a record, or delete a record, that change is reflected immediately to the users of your OPAC.

The SCOOLS catalog is not like that; if you add a record in your own catalog (or edit or delete), the change does not show immediately in SCOOLS.  In fact, it doesn't show until your catalog records are exported and then placed in the SCOOLS catalog.

Sue K. & I do this, at least 2x a year when possible - in the summer and then again over the winter break. We can do it at any time, actually, and don't have to do the whole catalog - we can do it incrementally, but we need to be contacted and told that it's necessary to do an update.  For example, if you did a massive weeding project and want those items removed from the SCOOLS catalog, just send us a list of the barcodes and we can take them out of SCOOLS.  Perhaps you don't want to loan certain items - send us those as well, and we'll remove them.  OR you can send us a file of items that you've added to your catalog, and we can upload those, as well.

When we do the extracts to upload into SCOOLS, we DON'T export audiovisual types of items - no videos, playaways, audiocassettes, kits, etc.  Oh, and no magazines, either.  That's not to say that some of that stuff doesn't slip through the cracks and that you might find the occasional AV format item, but we try not to get those in our exports.  Usually if we do, it's because the information in the bib record didn't let us know that it was really an AV item and so we grabbed it along with all the print items.

Before we extract, we make sure that the records in your catalog have the correct information in the 852#a (4-Letter School Code) and 852#b (either GSTE or GSTW). We also might correct any other issues we find in your catalog and do some general cleanup.  These are some of the most common issues we find:
  • Items with no barcodes - when I extract I always search by holding rather than bib record so that I don't get items that have no holdings, then I search by holding to make sure I don't pull out things that you might've put into your catalog for ILL purposes (that have barcodes from other schools, for example).  When I do that I often find items that have no barcodes in the 852#p subfield.  Sometimes I find that the barcode is in the wrong subfield (852#k is a popular one!), so I move it.  Other times I find that it's just an extra holding, so I delete it.  
  • Multiple 852 fields/subfields in the holding - Having multiple 852 fields in the bibliographic record is acceptable, but not in the holding!  If you have two copies of an item, you need two holdings - you can't combine them into one holding with multiple 852 fields.  Circulation will only recognize the first 852 field. SO - when I see multiple 852 fields or subfields - I delete the second one!
  • Items in wrong groups - I tend to only pull items that are in your general collection (or equivalent) and reference collection.  If you have other groups - like if you sort your collection into fiction, non-fiction, etc., then I will pull all those.  I often find AV items like DVDs or other video or audio formats in the general collection.  Probably what happens is that when you're importing a file from a vendor, it has items that should be in different groups - one microlif file might have records for general fiction, reference, and DVDs.  When you import, it only allows you to choose one group into which you are importing, and it's easy to forget to go back and move the others into the group they SHOULD be in.  So when I see things in wrong groups, I move 'em!
  • Information in the wrong fields - When you're in a hurry or getting constantly interrupted (that never happens, does it?) it's easy to mix up your fields, especially call number/cutter/prefix info.  Remember, though - if you don't have the call number information in the bibliographic record, it won't show in the OPAC!
  •  Inappropriate lower case/upper case - Your four-letter school code and GSTE or GSTW should always be in upper case.  Proper names, of course, should be as well.  But the entire record should not be entirely written in caps, (fingernails on a chalkboard to me!) and the subfields should definitely be inserted using lower case.  If you insert your barcode field, for example, and your caps lock is on, you may end up with 852#P inserted in your record instead of 852#p.  That may not seem like a big deal to you, but circulation won't recognize the 852#P field and you'll get a "barcode not found" message if you try to check that item out!
  • Extraneous 900 fields - (this wasn't listed on my slide above, but we did talk about it.) If you download items from other catalogs (that's called "copy cataloging"), you may get fields that you don't need or want, particularly in the 900s.  Some of them are just annoying and take up extra space in your catalog, but some of them could show information that you might not want enterprising young students to see (listen, I taught middle school; I know how they think). I'm not saying that it's X-rated or anything, but consider the following, and pay particular attention to the 963 field:

Do you really want someone's phone number & email address displaying in your OPAC?  
  • Unicode records - this is a bit less common, but it does happen, so I figured it was worth mentioning!  It happens more frequently when you download from Library of Congress because LOC offers records in Unicode format.
So what is Unicode?  Well, the short version is that it's a standard that allows for consistent coding, representation, and handling of the characters in most languages of the world. If you had items in your catalog that had Hebrew or Cyrillic scripts, for example, you would need unicode support to display those characters properly - otherwise you might just see boxes, questions marks or the like instead.

Your records in your catalog should not be in unicode format.  If you HAVE unicode records, they'll still display okay, but you can't open them and edit them or add a holding easily.  If you try to open a unicode record, you'll see this:

It's not kidding, either.  Tell it OK and let the record open.  At first glance, everything seems fine - but then you'll notice that everything is greyed out...

...and if you try to type or do anything, it just won't.  Except, of course, you CAN go to a different record (First/Prev/Next/Last) or Cancel. 

So what can you do about this?  Well, I know some folks who have just deleted the record and started over with downloading a brand-new record.  That works, of course!  But if you reallyreallyreally like this record and want to keep it or else are just a techno-nerd like me and you want to know WHY and HOW, then read the next couple of paragraphs and watch the video.  Otherwise, you can just skip to the end.

If you look at the Leader or 000 field (LDR-highlighted section above), you'll see that there's an "a" in position 9.  (It's the second "a" in the field above, and you'll just have to take my word for it right now that it's in position 9.  I wouldn't make something like that up.  Other things, maybe, but not something like that.)  Anyway, that "a" tells Mandarin (or any other automation system) that it's a Unicode record.  So our task is to remove that "a."

I already said that you can't open the record and edit it, and you can't.  But you CAN do a global replace on it!  You can use the "insert text...into an existing control field" action to replace the "a" in position 9 of the 000 field with a blank.  Here's how!


2) This Month's Websites...

...can be found here.

Other topics

June asked if other folks are interfiling their reference collection with their general collection. Since East and West are going to be merging, she and Stacie are talking about doing this and wondered if anyone else has already done it and what their experiences were. 

If I'm recalling correctly, no one else present had actually completed doing that, but there were a few who had either considered it or were in the process.  Some of the points they made were that the reference books still remained in a reference group in Group Editor, so they don't actually circulate, but placing them in the general collection would a) increase visibility and thereby increase usage and b) help the flow of the library and consolidate shelf space.  The reference items would be marked with a sticker or some identifying mark so that the kids would know that book couldn't be taken from the library.  If they missed the sticker and took it up to be checked out, circulation wouldn't allow it because it would be in the reference book.

Most folks there seemed to look upon this favorably - what are your thoughts?  Leave us a comment!

Judy asked where people were putting their funding information - the 536 or the 591?  The 536 is designated as a Funding Information Note, while the 591 is a local notes field, but has funding-specific subfields.  Upon closer investigation, it looks like the 536 is geared more towards grant funding sources, whereas the 591 is a bit more general.  Consensus seemed to be that most people favor the 591 (or did I hallucinate that?)

We also discussed displaying Accelerated Reader information in the OPAC ( I think Judy asked about that, too, but I didn't write it down, so I'm not sure!)  Yep, we can do that - it depends on what the default display is in the OPAC (we're talking regular Windows OPAC here, not WebOPAC) and how the m3opac.ini is edited.  The short answer: if you want AR information to show up in your OPAC, contact me, Sue T.!

As I write this, it's gotten all the way up to 4 degrees outside, or so the National Weather Service says.  Hope that wherever you are, you're keeping warm!