Best Practices

Materials Processing Best Practices


Barcode Placement
All barcodes are to be placed on the top half of the front cover of all circulating items. Please do not place barcodes on the inside or back cover of any book or A/V container.

Barcode placement is important in that it

  • Helps identify the owning library (especially if no other identification exists in the item),
  • Allows library staff and patrons to easily recognize library materials,
  • Helps reduce handling at the circulation desk, and
  • Speeds inventory.

New Items
In order to ensure that our libraries continue to receive new, popular items from distributors on a timely basis, we need to ensure that we are following release date restrictions. When items are sent to the libraries by publishers or distributors before their official release date, please observe the following restrictions:

  • Items should not be checked out until their official release date
  • Items should not be sent in delivery until their official release date

Multi-Volume Film Sets
Films (VHS and DVDs) that are sequential and sold as a packaged set are usually best served when cataloged and circulated as a single unit. For example, the title House, M.D.: the complete fifth season shows libraries cataloging the fifth season as one unit with an indication of the number of discs in the call number. This is a helpful and recommended way of managing a television series on DVD.

In this above example, a single bibliographic record would show how many discs the unit contains as well as provide a contents note of all the titles on the contained discs. As for the item record, only one is required to manage the unit. It is unnecessary to add a volume field related to the season since patrons would be forced to select a specific item for holding, which is pointless when the entire unit of any library is being circulated. It would also be a good idea to have the item record ITYPE code be a 1 for Film Set which checks out for a longer period of time.

There are instances, however, when a packaged film set is better served broken into individual parts, and cataloged/circulated that way. This tends to happen more with instructional or nonfiction series where each part may fall under a different call number and can be shelved separately as well. In this case, each piece has a separate bibliographic MARC record and the single item record related to it.

Call Number Recommendations
The call number code system is a directory of addresses for keeping materials in order so they can be easily located in the library. In the Dewey Decimal classification system, books on similar subjects are grouped together based on numbers representing a class. Call numbers can be added to Statistical Category (SCAT) tables used to generate collection and circulation reports based on call numbers. The accuracy of these call number reports depends on how well Merlin materials conform to call number recommendations. Working With Call Numbers: Merlin Call Number Pre-Stamp Recommendations provides a "best practices" guide for using call numbers to optimize the SCAT table statistical reports.