IUG 2001 Conference Proceedings

Table of Contents

Session: I2/O6

Codes and You: How are they working?

Carol Wu, Brock University Library

Dana Kemp, Innovative Interfaces

Carol talked about how the Innovative system was used at the Brock University Library and the NYU Medical and Dental Libraries to gather statistics and to define collections. During this process they discovered how codes affected the results obtained by various searches, so the steps taken to clean up codes was the main theme of this presentation.

The old branch codes at NYU were set up by using the first 4 characters to equal the location within the library and the fifth digit used for the library designation. The problems with this coding were one could not easily sort by library, could not assign unique locations, and one was forced to use "not" in creating searches. The new format is setup so first character is for unique library designation name, next 3 characters are used for the location in the library and the fifth digit stands for material format. This new format has eliminated the prior mentioned problems and allows for expansion.

The next set of codes to review were the patron types, which made for very broad grouping. Pcode1 was not used, the Dental Library used Pcode 2, and there were over 100 Pcode3 to represent people, departments, and the various locations. These Pcodes made it hard to separate some user groups, was too restrictive, not consistent, brought up unhelpful statistics, and caused staff confusion. New Pcodes were setup to identify specific user groups, Pcode 1 was used for Medical Departments, Pcode 2 used for the Dental Divisions/Departments, and Pcode3 was used for the primary place people worked or a program.

The transitions were done on a weekend, Friday through Sunday, because this was the least disruptive. A logical sequence of events was set up with the work evenly split up. Lists were created and then rapid updates were done on the codes to help change codes.

At the Brock University Library, they have a main library, map library and an Instructional Resource Center. They reviewed Branch codes at the bibliographical level and the item level. Changes were not made across the board when some collections moved or combined locations causing some codes to become outdated. Old codes that were outdated or no longed used were deleted while new codes were created to combine with codes representing the same concept.

In summary of the implementation procedures at NYU and Brock, the first step was identifying the problem codes then consult with the appropriate staff. (Circulation as code patron records, reference as having to explain to users, and technical services as putting records into the system) The next step is to design and assign new codes and then schedule downtimes. A chart was developed that showed the old codes and the new codes, the procedure, and any temporary codes. This process notified staff, allowed time for review, and needed to follow up by updating all forms (i.e.patron registration forms).

In reflection, Carol said that they would prefer to create lists ahead of time since running multiple lists at the same time slowed down the system. One has to be sure that the codes are changed in all record types; bibliographic, time, order, and checkins. It would be best to save a copy of old codes for future reference. Also, one has to notify III of changes so the delimiters will work correctly.

Dana Kemp recommends reviewing codes every 5 years. If a library has too many location codes several suggestions were made to clean these up.

  1. Use one item location code per library.
  2. Use ITYPE to designate collection.
  3. Use pre stamps on call number to designate collection to patrons
Tips for controlling codes are:
  1. Keep codes to c minimum but use as many as you need.
  2. Run statistical reports on the record type, and do frequently when changing codes. (Before, during, and after)
  3. Use hierarchical codes whenever possible, makes it easier to run reports if keep similar codes together.
  4. Don't keep codes you don't use, except those you must have.
  5. Be careful to delete codes out of all different records, everywhere. Run statistical reports before deleting or renaming codes.
  6. Have III rename codes, change scope and loan rules.
  7. Use templates as way to double check
  8. Use FAQ on CS Direct to answer concerns.

Marilyn Liedorff, Wayne State College