[Previous] [Contents] [Next]

Tools and Strategies for Circulation Profiling

Gillian Ellern, Western Carolina University
Web Site:

Getting Started With Circulation Profiling

First, examine the circulation patterns in your library. Which collection is most heavily used and which patron types are the heaviest borrowers? Create defaults based on these most common patterns. Consider combining policies and notices. Simplify! Then move on to exceptions.

Preparation For Profiling

Review all locations from your old system. How many items are in each location? Eliminate any empty locations. Combine locations if you do not need stats from them individually.

Are there locations with multiple item types? Simplify any complexities you encounter. Review patron types the same way.


Some policies cannot be carried over to INNOPAC. An example is to combine hourly fines and daily fines in one location. This is a good time to get rid of policies you no longer want to continue. Blame the computer/automation system for the changes!

Visualizing Loan Rules

Jill used diagrams similar to diagramming sentences to demonstrate how to create a picture of a loan rule: notices, loan periods, grace periods, overdue periods, billing and declaring lost.

INNOPAC deals with time periods in terms of days or hours only. Example: three weeks is 21 days.

Creating Location/Branch Codes

This is the second most important step after indexing. It determines the ease of circulation profiling.

The location/branch codes have implications throughout the system. They effect scoping, limiting, circulation, and statistics.

Location codes can have no more than 5 characters. They are located in bib, item, order, and checkin records. It is possible to have multiple entries on one location code. Location codes cannot be duplicated. The location codes define the labels the patron sees in the OPAC.

Recommendations for Location/Branch Codes

Make codes hierarchical and mnemonic. Use the number of characters in the code as an indicator.

The first letter in location codes can be used with the operator to create a list BETWEEN location codes. At Western Carolina University the first letter of all location codes indicate the Library. Each library is then subdivided into broad categories using the next one or two characters. Common letters can be used to create HAS lists. Unique symbols and letters at the end of location codes can be used to denote common attributes.

Make use of the asterisk. Examples: Use r* for all reference or m* for all main stacks.

Organizing Circulation Tables

Create a scheme in order to create consistency within and between all circulation rules. Group by library, location, and patron category.

Remember that many tables read from the bottom up. Put the default loan rules first in the circulation rule table. It is not wise to add loan rules at the end of the table.

Other hints include:

Recorded by: Linda Cobbs, Baylor University

[Previous] [Contents] [Next]