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Thinking Linking Synthesis - Fall 2014

The following information synthesizes the content of BCCLS' three 'Thinking Linking' sessions held this past Fall. In conjunction with this synthesis, the Polaris Training Manual is now part of the BCCLS Knowledge Base and is, at times, referred to in this synthesis. Please review the training manuals (http://bccls.knowledgebase.co/category.php?id=70) in the Knowledge Base and note the (slight) change in format. Also, be sure all appropriate staff are familiar with both the Knowledge Base and the location of the training manuals. There is a link to the Knowledge Base on the Staff page of the BCCLS website.


Need help or have a question when linking?
The BCCLS staff is here to answer questions about linking, cataloging, (or, of course, any matter regarding BCCLS.) The most efficient means of contact for support is through the Help Desk. This ensures that someone on staff will address your question in a timely manner. The Help Desk form can also be used to submit database error reports which we rely on for notification of any mistakes in our bibliographic data.

Accessing the Help Desk form is easy.

www.bccls.org > Staff site > Support > Help Desk

Select Linking or Database Error Reports from the Problem Type drop down menu and complete the form.

If submitting a database error report, we will only respond if additional information is needed.


New Manuals, including Linking in the Knowledge Base

The Polaris training manuals have been added to the Knowledge Base. They are located within the Training entry.

www.bccls.org > Staff site > Knowledge Base > Training > Polaris


Online Catalog

Since Polaris go-live on 12/12/12, bibliographic records for titles that had a copyright date older than two years AND had no items linked to it were shadowed from the online catalog and only visible through the client. This is no longer the case. ALL records, regardless of year of publication or holdings, are now visible in the PAC.


Database Submissions

Currently, requesting the addition of titles to the database is done through the submission of photocopies of the title page & verso for print materials and cover and disc for media. These are the primary sources of information for description of the item. Using these sources ensures that our bibliographic metadata is compliant with global bibliographic standards.

Here is a sample of a title page and verso.

The title page contains the title, subtitle (when applicable), author(s), publisher and place of publication. The verso contains publication history, copyright information, ISBN, and other data useful when describing a work.


Photocopies require the use of the BCCLS stamp. This stamp is used to identify the submitting library, date of submission and other descriptive elements (pagination, ISBN, UPC, series titles) which may not be found on the photocopies. Please complete all applicable fields, including pagination. If an item is not paginated, please indicate this on the pagination line (“unpaged”, “unp.”, or “no pagination” are perfectly acceptable). Leaving the pagination line blank indicates to the catalogers that the pagination line was left blank not that the item is unpaginated.

Additionally, the BCCLS stamp also contains a line for citing a review. Reviews are used to prioritize submissions as it is understood that multiple libraries will purchase reviewed materials. It benefits everyone if these titles can be added to the database as quickly as possible. Please cite from professional reviewing sources such as Publisher's Weekly or Library Journal. Amazon.com and other such sources do not constitute an authoritative review. A citation should include the name of the source and the date in which the review appeared. Again, reviews are chiefly used for prioritization. Submissions not citing reviews WILL be cataloged if they meet the BCCLS database submission criteria.

When submitting photocopies, it is very helpful to

  • Put the BCCLS stamp on the title page and to place the title page on top
  • Separate the formats (audiobooks, books, video games) when applicable
  • Put reviewed items or anything that requires special attention (author visits, events, etc.) on top
  • Communicate with us through the submission (e.g. new edition of existing record)

We return photocopies that do not meet the criteria and those for which no bibliographic record is obtainable to the director of each library for further review. If the director chooses to resubmit those items, it must be accompanied with a written justification.

Please refer to the Policies and Procedures, Collection Development, Catalog Submission section in the Knowledge Base (http://bccls.knowledgebase.co/article.php?id=40) for detailed information on database submission criteria.


Identifying Closed vs Open Entry Records

It is very important that an item be linked to the correct bibliographic record. This is particularly true in the case of open and closed entry bibliographic records. Open entry bibliographic records can best be explained as those records to which periodically updated titles are linked: travel guides, test guides, graphic novels, etc. Closed records are those records which describe a sole edition.

Closed records can easily be identified by the presence of a period (.) after the year of publication/copyright.


Open entry records can easily be identified by the presence of a dash (-) after the year of publication/copyright.


Don't assume that because a bibliographic record is for a travel guide or a test guide, it is automatically an open entry record. There are many factors, such as frequency of publication, that impact whether a record is closed or open. Let the - (dash) or . (period) be your guide. The safest way to confirm, of course, is to make sure that you get a match on the ISBN.

Which brings us to...



ISBNs play a very important role in the quality of our patrons' interactions with the catalog. In addition to supplying a major access point for searching, they (and UPCs) are the means by which covers are generated. For these reasons, we add ISBNs to existing records when applicable. When it comes to open entry records, this ensures that the most recent cover displays.

We can only add the newest ISBN when we are notified that a new edition has been published. So, if linking the newest Fodor's Italy, for example, you find that the ISBN for the newest edition isn't in the bibliographic record, please notify us and we will confirm and add the ISBN. The most efficient way to do so is to use the database error report form; complete the form using data from the existing record and enter a note containing the new ISBN. This should only be used for items that you would correctly link to open entry records. Any update to a closed record would require a regular database submission.


Barcode Validation

Polaris does not offer barcode validation, this means that any text (including a blank field) is accepted. The checking in procedure which changes the circulation status from In Process to Available is useful for validating the barcode. When checking in In Process items, if a No Matching Record is Found message appears, be sure to search for the bibliographic record and look at the items that are linked to it. If you see your item, check the barcode for accuracy and edit, if necessary. If your item is not present, simply relink the item.

Barcode Placement

The Policies and Procedures committee recently assembled a list of recommended locations for barcode placement on items. This recommendation would greatly improve efficiency of circulation transactions when handling out of town materials.

The recommendation can be found in the Policies and Procedures manual and is broken down by format.

www.bccls.org > Staff site > Knowledges Base > Policies and Procedures > Collection Development > Linking Items



Linking Periodicals

When acquiring a new periodical, a summary holding record is linked to the bibliographic record of that title. Use the call number field to indicate the holding information (CURRENT YEAR, CURRENT YEAR +1, etc.)

Each issue is subsequently linked to your library's current periodical record. There are multiple records for each library. These records are broken down by year in alphabetical clumps and are generally named XXXX Current Periodicals (e.g. ALDL Current Periodicals 2015 A-G). Link each issue to the appropriate record and enter the title in the Class field and issue information (e.g. August 1, 2015) in the Cutter field of the call number. Instructions on linking the individual issues to periodicals can be found in the Knowledge Base in Section C12 - Linking Periodicals (http://bccls.knowledgebase.co/article.php?id=197)

If a bibliographic record for a new periodical doesn't exist or there is a substantial title change, please submit the title for cataloging.


Linking Multi-piece Items

BCCLS' policy when linking a multipiece item is one bibliographic record = one barcode.
When linking a multi-piece item, enter the number of pieces in the Free Text field found in the Notes and Notices view of the Item Record Workform. A recent recommendation from the Policies and Procedures committee asks that Check Contents be selected from the Library assigned blocks drop-down menu. See Section C3: Creating an Item Record of the manual for instructions (http://bccls.knowledgebase.co/article.php?id=184)


Linking and collectionHQ

collectionHQ is an Evidence Based Stock Management (EBSM) system available to all BCCLS libraries once your library's training is complete. The first series of training sessions will be completed (weather permitting) by the end of February 2015. collectionHQ enables you to analyze your collection in new and highly productive ways and will help you select, manage, and promote your library's collection based on in depth analysis of your materials. So whether you have come to training for collectionHQ or not, the following are a few tips to make collectionHQ work optimally for your library.

  1. Discrepancies - Linking discrepancies between material types & collections (such as linking fiction items as non-fiction, juvenile material types as adult fiction, etc.) will attribute circulation statistics for these mislinked items to the wrong area of your library's collection in collectionHQ.

  2. Introduce consistency in call numbers - Call number consistency will allow sorting of reports in collectionHQ to display like items together. (e.g. pick F, Fic or Fiction for call numbers and apply it consistently)

  3. Make sure you have a collection specified in Polaris for ALL items - If no collection is specified in Polaris or literally, "None" is selected, collectionHQ will assign those items to Adult Fiction by default, which attributes circulation to the wrong area of the collection in collectionHQ.

    A report to fix this is available: BCCLS >Staff >Reports >BCCLS Custom Reports >Collection Correction Connection

  4. Link uncataloged items to the appropriate bibliographic record whenever possible - Linking uncataloged items to their correct bibliographic records will allow collectionHQ to compare those items to other libraries' holdings of those items.

  5. Link any items your library has in the bibliographic record "Items Unassociated to a Bib" - Linking items unassociated with a bibliographic record to their correct bibliographic records will allow collectionHQ to compare those items to other libraries' holdings of those items.

  6. Add statistical codes to any types of Fiction or Media items for which you wish to analyze circulation (not used for Non-Fiction books) - Using statistical codes provides granularity in collectionHQ when examining collection use, allowing you to compare circulation for various types of items (how Mystery circulates compared to Romance, etc. instead of simply observing how Hardcovers circulate compared to Paperbacks)

    Changes and additions to the stat. codes have been made recently. Libraries can request additional statistical codes, for new areas not already represented, that will enhance collection analysis.

    Please note: Statistical codes are only good for statistics, you cannot search by them and cannot view them in the PAC.

  7. Grubby - When linking a replacement item, do not reuse the old item record or barcode. Instead, mark the item as Withdrawn and then link it as a new item.

    If you wish to retain circulation numbers on the item you are replacing, enter a non-public note in the bib record with that information.

Deleted Items

Items marked for deletion will be purged from the system on the 2nd of each month. If you wish to Undelete an item before it is purged from the database, please refer to section C6: Deleting an Item Record for instructions (http://bccls.knowledgebase.co/article.php?id=190).

F8 or Properties
In the Item Record Workform, hitting F8 or clicking on the Properties icon will yield a pop-up. The Properties pop-up will contain a great deal of information regarding the life of the item including the circulation statistics, First Available Date, and Creation Date (the date the item was linked). This is the only means of identifying the creation date in the item record..


Transferring an Item to a Different Bibliographic Record

In some cases, it may be necessary to transfer an item from one bibliographic record to another. Instead of deleting the item and relinking it to the correct bibliographic record, transferring the item maintains all the history (transactions, acquisition, notes, etc.) associated with it. Please refer to section C14: Transferring an Item Record of the manul for instructions (http://bccls.knowledgebase.co/article.php?id=230).


Linking Multiple Copies to the Same Bibliographic Record

There are multiple methods of linking multiple copies to the same bibliographic record.

If linking multiple copies with the same parameters (circulation rule, material type, etc.), begin by scanning the barcodes for each item. Select the template. Once the data populates the fields, click on the number '1' in the Item column of the template to select that field and enter the number of copies. Polaris will then create multiple copies based on the number of copies entered. Please refer to section C3 - Creating an Item Record (http://bccls.knowledgebase.co/article.php?id=184)

If linking additional copies after the first copy has been added. Find the item record for that initial copy, click the New icon, select Copy Existing Work Form and click OK. At this point an exact copy of the existing record has been created. Be sure to change the barcode and any other modification you wish to perform and click Save.


Questions from the Meetings

Why are patrons unable to place hold requests on some titles in the catalog?
The following is a description of the issue and a possible solution as previously included in a Polaris Post:

Placing Holds
Polaris will allow patrons to place a hold on a bibliographic record if there are no items attached. This allows the hold list to build before the title is released. However, if there are any items attached, at least one item must be eligible to fill the hold in order for the patron to place a hold.

For example, "The New Book" by James Patterson is coming out and a bib record is created. Patrons are able to place holds immediately. If FTLE pre-links an item on order, but the item is linked as High Demand (non-holdable), Polaris will prevent any holds from being placed in the PAC because none of the items are eligible to fill the hold. ALDL then pre-links another item on order, but this item will fill holds for ALDL patrons only. Now, ALDL patrons can place holds, but no one else can place holds. Of the two items linked to the record, only the ALDL copy can be used to fill holds and only for ALDL patrons. CLTR comes along and pre-links a copy that can fill holds for everyone. Now all BCCLS patron can place holds.

When pre-linking your items, please keep these factors in mind. Is the item going to be High Demand? If so, consider not linking the item until the street date. When limiting the item to home town patrons only, leave the restriction off of the item until the street date. This allows all BCCLS patrons to place holds and use the system equally.

If I own the last copy attached to a bibliographic record and am in the process of replacing it, what can I do to prevent the record from being purged if I delete or withdraw the item?
The best practice is to change the circulation status to 'Repair' thereby making the item ineligible to fill a hold request but maintains the record in the system until you've linked your replacement copy. When the new replacement copy arrives, link it to the bibliographic record and change the circulation status of the existing item from Repair to Withdrawn. Again, if you wish to retain circulation history, add that information as a free text note on the new item record.

Do I need to send a photocopy of the title page if submitting a database error report for an incorrect title?
In most cases, we can investigate the accuracy of a title through various resources. If we are unable to resolve the title conflict through our regular means, we may ask for additional information, which may include the request of a photocopy of the title page.

Why are some items disappearing from the system and come up as not linked when I KNOW they were linked? Did something happen during the migration?
Most likely, some sort of action, either deliberate or accidental, was taken on this item which resulted in it being purged from the system. For example, the item may have been marked as Missing, subsequently Withdrawn and purged, but found by a patron. At checkout the item would appear as though it had never been linked, but, in fact, simply had had an action taken upon it which resulted in it being purged.

Something odd that I have never seen before happens when I do something that I do all the time and Polaris isn't working right.
If at any point you begin to notice any odd behavior in the software, please email polaris@bccls.org and report the issue. In most cases, it's just a temporary blip, but on rare occurrences, it could be an issue which needs to be brought to the attention of iii, formerly Polaris.

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