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08-18 Dust-Free Weeding: The Missing List

Dust-Free Weeding: The Missing List

When we think of weeding we usually think about grabbing a cart, a copy of those good old CREW guidelines, and an inhaler for our dust allergy and hitting the shelves to root out the old, the outdated, and the grubby. But weeding our catalog of missing items is just as important as weeding our shelves. Would you be surprised if I told you that right now in our catalog's database there are over 44,000 items marked as missing?  How many do you think we will still be able to find? It is important to weed missing items because if even one item is still linked to a bibliographic record, we are unable to get rid of that record, and it will appear in the online catalog. This suggests to patrons that they can place holds on that title – which is misleading. If they attempt to do so, they will be prompted to log in and select a pick-up location, and just when they think they're about to successfully complete the request, they'll receive an error message. This create unnecessary clutter in the catalog and frustration for patrons.

Per the Policies & Procedures Manual regarding Missing Items (updated in May of 2018), “libraries must periodically review their missing items and withdraw them from the collection or replace them after they have been missing for 6 months or longer”. Using this criterion as a guideline, there are still over 36,000 items with a status of missing in the BCCLS database.

Wouldn't you like a week of dust-free weeding?

  • Log in to SimplyReports.
  • Choose the Items tab and select Item list reports.

  • Select your columns for output:
    • Item barcode
    • Item call number
    • Item circ status
    • Item last circ status change date
    • MARC title
    • Item assigned collection name (if you are running more than one)

Optional columns: Lifetime circ count, first available date. If you are thinking you might want to replace some of these missing items this information can be helpful in making that decision.

Now, build your report.

Item general filters

  • Select your library or branch.
  • Choose your Collection. If you want to see all collections, you may skip that field. Tip: Running a report for all collections lets you "sort it your way" in  Excel. It's easy to see errors in barcodes or collections and gives you a snapshot of the library as a whole. 

  • Select a Circ status of Missing.

Optional: Filter out items that fall within the six month window as permitted by the P&P Manual.

  • Click to expand the Item relative date filters (prior to a specified date) menu
  • Select the Last circ status change date more than filter. Enter 6 in the first field and use the drop down menu to select Months

Alternative: Don't use the date filters and just sort by the ItemStatusDate column in Excel and delete what you don't need. 

That's it! This will generate the file with your missing items for the selected collection. Download and go to town. Make sure to select Create item record set from report results so that you can make mass edits on the list as needed. 

Search for each item on the shelf, scanning the shelves nearby, as well as any other semi-logical places you might find it (e.g. 813.53's sometimes turn up in the 814.54's, juvenile ends up in adult, small books get lost behind others, etc.).  If you find the item, check it in.  The status will change to Available and you're back in business. If it is not on the shelf, now is the time to act.  Do not let that little voice in your head tell you, “just one more month and it might show up.”  It's gone. Let it go. Once you've completed your search, access your record set, remove any items you have found that are no longer missing, and perform a bulk change on the remaining items, changing the status from Missing to Withdrawn.

In order to remain in compliance with the Policies & Procedures manual, it is recommended that you run this report monthly and withdraw any items that have been missing for more than six months.

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