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10-18 The "Only Holdings"

The "Only Holdings": Precious Treasure or Shelf-Clogging Menace?


What are only holdings? In addition to being a great band name (e.g. Melvil Dewey and the Only Holdings), only holdings are the books on your shelf that are unique to your library. Ones that no one else in BCCLS has in their collection. These books may be on your shelf for a number of reasons: local interest, they fill a gap in your collection, a librarian refuses to let them go regardless of how little they circulate, or they were somehow missed in your regular weeding. All of these reasons are legitimate, but how well do these books really serve your collections and communities? The only holdings report will let you look at these items knowing that other BCCLS libraries have already let them go or, as is increasingly more common in today's long-tail climate, never had them in the first place.

I am not suggesting that you go in and purge every last “only” in your collection. Your collection is supposed to be a reflection of your unique community and those titles may very well be essential, but I am suggesting that your collection could be holding things that have worn out their usefulness to your patrons and to the consortium at large. BCCLS currently has over 350,000 titles in only holdings. Surely there are some treasures among them, but just as surely there are also volumes taking up both physical and catalog space. Getting to your only holdings takes a little bit of work in Simply Reports, but it is worth the trouble. Not only will you likely be able to free up some shelf space, but you'll also see your collection, and your collection development, in a whole new way.

Start out in Simply Reports and select the Items Tab, then Item list reports. At this point, you can also select your columns for output: item barcode, item call number, MARC title, item circ status, item last cko/renewal date, item first available date. Under Item general filters, select your library or branch.

Under Circ status select all categories except Withdrawn (or any combination you prefer).

Now it's time to pick your poison. BCCLS has added a group of Bibliographic Record Sets to isolate the only holdings in the collection. Because the files are large, they have been broken out into the following sets:

BCCLS Single Holding Bibs (Added 2017 - 2018)
BCCLS Single Holding Bibs (Polaris - 2016)
BCCLS Single Holding Bibs (Published 2000-2012)
BCCLS Single Holding Bibs (Published 1980-1999)
BCCLS Single Holding Bibs (Published Before 1980)

A brief explanation of the record sets: the first two are based on the actual creation date of the contained bibliographic records, with "Polaris" indicating anything created after we started adding records directly into Polaris and NOT anything carried over in bulk from Workflows. The final three record sets are bibs added before Polaris, all of which have the same incorrect 'creation date' of 2011 – when the records were transferred to Polaris. These have been divided up into publishing year ranges. These record sets will be kept up-to-date by an automated nightly process, so any changes (such as a library weeding a bib's last holding) will not be reflected immediately.

Click on Submit, and then you will be given the option to download the report, save the report parameters, and/or create a record set to work with the results.

Once you've generated your report you may find that you have hard decisions to make, you may find yourself asking “what were we thinking?” but you will definitely end up with a little more shelf space and a stronger collection.

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