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01-19 Finding Bad Call Numbers

Finding Bad Call Numbers

You know you have them. They're lurking in your collection and in the catalog. Despite our best intentions, yes, bad call numbers happen. Finding and cleaning them up will make weeding and inventorying your collection much easier. You will end up with a cleaner, nicer shelf list to work from, which will reduce time searching for items in the moment. Not to mention making the lives of our patrons, and therefore ourselves, much simpler as the accuracy of our shelves improves. So when is the time to find them? Now! How are we going to do it? Well, that's a slightly longer answer…

First, what are we looking for? Some examples are inconsistencies such as J vs. JUV for Juvenile or S vs. SP for Spanish, while others are errors, such as misspellings or using an O (the letter) instead of a 0 (zero)... or vice versa. Then there are issues regarding which fields were used when the item record was created. Your library may have been using the Prefix field for the word “Parenting” in your parenting collection originally, but then ended up adding it to the Class field instead later on. There are countless call number errors and inconsistencies that we can find and fix.

Next, how do we find these bad call numbers? There are two ways: you can perform a search in LEAP, making use of the various search filters, or you can create a report using SimplyReports. Either approach will allow you to create a record set to work with to make the necessary changes to your call numbers, either in bulk or by editing individual items within the record set. For libraries with larger collections, you will need to perform multiple searches by collection in order to retrieve manageable results.

Using LEAP:

  1. Click Find at the top of the screen, next to the search box that says “Scan or search”.
  2. Set up your search as follows:
    1. Search Database = Item Record
    2. Mode = Basic Search
    3. Qualifier = Barcode
    4. Relation = Exact (*)
  3. Type an asterisk (*) into the search box.
  4. Click the funnel to the right of the search box to add search filters.
  5. Click Add Condition.
  6. Set up each condition to retrieve the desired items. (e.g. to check the call numbers in your children's non-fiction section, you would select Assigned branch = your library AND Collection = Juvenile Non-Fiction)
  7. Click the green plus (+) each time you need to add another condition. (e.g. you might also limit to Circulation status <> Withdrawn AND Record status = Final)
  8. Click Apply.
  9. Click the blue magnifying glass to execute the search.
  10. Click the Call Number column header to sort by call number and review the results.
  11. Once you've retrieved the desired results, click the shopping bag to the right of the search box to add them to a record set.
  12. Place a check mark in the box next to Send Results to a New Record Set.
  13. Assign a Name to the record set.
  14. The Owner should be your library.
  15. You can leave the Warning Size Threshold as is or change it.
  16. Click Apply.
  17. You must click the blue magnifying glass again to send the results to the record set
  18. If the record set exceeds the warning size threshold, the Large Record Set prompt will appear asking if you want to create the record set.
  19. Click Create.
  20. A green box will appear indicating that the record set was created successfully, and a prompt will appear asking you if you want to open the record set.
  21. Click Yes if you are done with the search and ready to transition to working on your call numbers within the record set.
  22. Click No if you would like to return to the search and modify your search filters to create additional record sets to work with (this record set will still remain intact for later retrieval).
  23. Once you begin working within each record set, the results can be sorted by call number, items can be removed or added as needed, and bulk changes can be performed for making changes to all item call numbers, as well as individual edits to specific item call numbers.

Using SimplyReports:

  1. Log in using your library's credentials.

  2. Select Items to create an Item list report.

  3. The minimum suggested output columns are Item call number, MARC title, MARC author, and Item barcode. Others you may want to add are MARC pub year, Item circ status, Item last check in date, and Item lifetime circ count. Who knows, you may just want to weed some of the items instead of changing their call numbers. In that case, Item last cko/renewal date might also be helpful. Basically, you want to include any relevant data that won't be immediately visible when scrolling through a record set of these items. Select Item call number for Columns selected for sort.

  4. Select your library under the Item general filters.

  5. Then, if you're focusing on a specific area of the collection, select a call number range under Item call number filters. In this example, I used the 400s. If there are any other filters you would like to add, select them now, then click Submit.

  6. Once your preview looks good, download the report into Excel and sort it by call number. Then you can copy and paste the barcodes of any items with bad call numbers (or any other items you find along the way) into Polaris to either fix or weed.
  7. Alternatively, before closing the preview screen, you can select Create item record set from report results and type a Record set name then click Save record set so you can work with the items later in Polaris to either fix call numbers or do some weeding. That's it! You can also save the report, if you select Save report parameters for later use, so you can just run it from time to time to check for errors or create a shelf list for weeding.

A couple of final notes: Keep your eyes open for bad call numbers whenever you are working with item records, whether it's pulling holds, searching the catalog, or checking items in or out. And, as always, it's better to avoid errors in the first place. Use as much of the call number as possible in templates you use for linking, and create distinct templates for each collection. If you are consistent right from the start, call number errors will hopefully be a thing of the past!

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