IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: E11

Errors, Errors, Go Away! Come Again No Other Day

Sharon Saunders, Bates College

Marnie Gardner, Bates College

This excellent presentation provided methods of locating coding errors in III item records as well as methods to prevent or minimize future coding errors. The Power Point presentation with full commentary is available on Sharon Saunders' webpage, http://www.bates.edu/~ssaunder/homepage/ The approach that was presented could be extrapolated to handle errors in other types of records as well.

Ms Saunders began by giving background information on her library (Bates) and the consortium they are part of (Colby, Bates, Bowdoin) and the INN-Reach System they were joining (Maine Info Net). While preparing to join Maine Info Net, Ms. Saunders was amazed to find many errors in the status codes of Bates' item records.

A two-pronged approach was taken to rectify the problems. First, the errors had to be located and corrected. Second, action had to be taken to prevent future errors. This involved developing a Preventive Maintenance Schedule.

Errors were located using the "Create List" and "Statistical Report" processes in an III system. Ms. Saunders led the audience step by step through the process she used to create these statistical reports. Her commands were M (Management Information), S (Create Statistical Reports), B (to use a Boolean Search Review File), Select the number of the review file to work on, O (Statistical Report Base on all Other Record Data Elements), Y (yes, want 'multi' fields to be split up), Y (yes, the result total may not equal the total number of records processed).

The type of reports one receives from these steps depends on what type of lists one runs the report on. If it's a list of bibliographic records, one will receive information on skip characters, bcodes, languages, locations, and country. If it's a list of item records, one can get information on icode, itype, status, imessage, opacmessage or on locations.

One way to correct the miscoding that is uncovered by the statistical reports is to "Rapid Update" the lists. Examples were provided. Not all corrections can be made by rapidly updating, so often the shelves must be checked and individual records updated.

To prevent or minimize errors occurring in the future, Ms. Saunders established three processes: 1. Default Templates, 2. Written Documentation, and 3. Staff Training accompanied by Written Procedures. Default templates provide precoded records for staff to work from. Default templates are created in A (Additional System Functions), A (Alter System Parameters). Ms. Saunders displayed a template for bound periodicals.

Written documentation has many benefits: "It provides a record of past decisions, it allows staff to get answers when the person who knows the answer isn't around, and the act of writing documentation identifies inconsistencies and omissions that may need resolving before the written documentation can be completed." An example of written documentation for "Valid Location Code/Item Type/Status Combinations" was displayed. Other procedures for "Withdrawing Items from the Catalog" and "Boxing JSTOR Titles" were discussed.

Finally, to develop a Maintenance Schedule for checking codes regularly, two decisions are needed regarding "what needs maintaining and how often." Ms. Saunders demonstrated two Maintenance Schedules she developed to create lists and run statistical reports to find errors in Item Types, Locations and Status Codes, on the fly records, etc. These maintenance procedures were scheduled "monthly, every two months, quarterly, or yearly." A log to keep track of the maintenance was also exhibited.

This program provided very practical information to help any library provide better bibliographic control of their collection using their Innovative Interfaces Inc. Automated Library System. The availability of the presentation on the web makes it even more valuable, and I highly recommend viewing it.

Georgia Briscoe, University of Colorado Law Library