Sierra Cataloging Full Guide

Access Sierra

Double-click on the Sierra icon to open the program.
At the login prompt, enter your username and password.

Note: For security purposes, please don’t save your login.

Copy Cataloging

Once the program loads, use the Function menu to access Catalog Mode where you can begin searching for records in Merlin. Choose the ISN (ISBN) search Index from the dropdown list. ISBN is the most exact type of search. Enter in the ISBN number and hit <enter>. If you have a 13-digit ISBN only, you can use your barcode scanner and scan the ISBN to see if the record exists in Merlin. This will not work if the 10-digit ISBN is an option.

Record Display

In Sierra Cataloging, an exact match from a search will display either a single library’s item record (if there is only one library attached to the bib) or a summary of libraries (if more than one library is attached). In either case, you should click View to view the bibliographic record and verify the record is correct. Use the Record Verification page for help.

If the record is not found by ISBN, try a Title search or Author search to bring up the record. You may have to browse through similar records to find a match to the piece in hand.

If the record is still not found (sometimes showing a “your entry would be here” message), set it aside to later create a new record as described further in this manual.

Record Structure and Data Fields

There are two records maintained in cataloging: the bibliographic record and the item record. The bibliographic record is a record that describes the material being cataloged, and an item record contains library holding information.

Once in a bibliographic or item record you will note two different areas of information. All records in Merlin are composed of fixed-length fields on the top part of a record and variable-length fields on the bottom.

Fixed-length Fields

Fixed-length fields are named such since each field has a short label, with a maximum length of ten characters. In addition to the short label, many fixed-length fields also have a long label, with a maximum length of eighty characters. In bibliographic and item records, fixed-length fields are either manually editable or maintained by the system.

In bibliographic records, the manually editable fixed fields include: bibliographic level, bibliographic location, cataloging code, country, language, and material type. In bibliographic records, the system maintained fixed field is the skip code.

In item records, the manually editable fixed fields include: category, copy, imedia, item message, item type, item location, opac message, price, and status.

In item records, the system maintained fixed fields include: due date, (check)-in location, last check-in, last patron, last year circ, loan rule number, (check)-out location, patron number, total checkouts, total renewals, and year-to-date circ.

For a list of codes used in the fixed-length fields, visit the Codes section.

Variable-length Fields

Variable-length fields are named such since they are fields that are limited only by the amount of free-text information supplied. Variable-length fields may contain up to 10,000 characters of alphanumeric data each.

In bibliographic records, the variable-length fields are MARC (Machine Readable Cataloging) tagged fields defined by national standards and rules. Visit the Cataloging section to learn about MARC record basics.

In item records, the variable-length fields usually include: item barcode, call number, volume, and note. Other variable-length fields you may encounter, like the message field, are mainly system supplied.

Records will also display the number of revisions made, the creation date, the last update date, and the unique bibliographic record (.b) or item (.i) numbers.

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Editing Bibliographic Records

After verifying the record, you may see you need to edit the bibliographic record. To edit the bibliographic record, click Edit not View. View only allows you to “view” the record without making any modifications.

Following standards

For accuracy of statistics and to ensure overall database integrity, the Merlin Consortium has agreed to follow certain standards when inputting data. To learn what the Cataloging Standards are, visit the Merlin Policies section.

To Edit Fixed-length Fields

Simply type the new code in the white box (if you already know the code), or you can single click the description and press the space bar for a menu alphabetized by description. Left click to choose from the menu.

To Edit Variable-length Fields

Simply click on the line and type. To move, cut, copy, delete or add a field, click on the field and right-click to view the menu of options. You can also insert a field by clicking on the Insert icon, and choose from the list the field desired, entering the information thereafter.

Verifying Headings

Certain MARC fields in the records are called search headings since they are used by the patron to search for records in the catalog. The main headings are in the author, title, and subject fields. You can verify that the headings meet MARC standards by (a) clicking on the Verify button, (b) going to Tools on the toolbar, and (c) clicking Explain Verification Codes for brief explanations of the fields and their validity.

Other Tips

Use the arrow keys to move throughout the record. Home and end keys work well in moving the cursor to the beginning or end of a line. The tab and arrow keys work equally well to move through the fixed fields of all record types.

Saving Changes

When the record is complete, click Save and Close. You may also save the record by clicking Close and the system will ask if you wish to save. You would answer Yes.

If you decide not to save the changes you just made to a record, simply click Close and No to prevent the changes from being saved. There is also an Undo option (under the Edit function on the toolbar) for not saving minor changes.

Once all verifying and/or editing of the bibliographic record is complete, you can add holdings information by attaching an item record.

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Adding Record Holdings

From the bibliographic record, click Summary to get to the summary list of item holdings.

Click Attach New Item to make a new record. If for some reason you do not see the Attach New Item button, go over to the View display and switch the choice from All to Item. You should now get the button to attach items.

You will be prompted with a choice of item templates.

Using Templates

New records are based on templates predefined in the database. Templates are created to allow easier data entry for the staff member. For cataloging, the templates were created based on your library’s media options, so you can pick from a choice of templates for use. Templates may be set to have some or all fields to prompt (or pop-up), or they may be set to enter information as it is available to you.

Select the appropriate item template from the list.

Fill in the prompted BARCODE and CALL # fields.

Check over or change the item record as necessary. In most cases you should not have to edit the item record any further.

To Edit Fixed-length Fields

Simply type the new code in the white box (if you already know the code), or you can single click the description and press the space bar for a menu alphabetized by description. Left click to choose from the menu.

To Edit Variable-length Fields

Simply click on the line and type. To move, cut, copy, delete or add a field, click on the field and right-click to view the menu of options. You can also insert a field by clicking on the Insert icon, and choose from the list the field desired, entering the information thereafter.

Following Standards

For accuracy of statistics and to ensure overall database integrity, the Merlin Consortium has agreed to follow certain standards when inputting data. To learn what the Cataloging Standards are, visit the Merlin Policies section.

Click on the Save icon to save the record.

Click Close to finish and quit back to the search screen.

Repeat all the previous steps (from searching, verifying, and adding an item record) for the remainder of your items.

If you have a pile of items that could not be matched to records already in Merlin, follow the step to Create New Records.

Adding/Canceling holds in MilCat

To add a hold in MilCat, click on bib level holds for copy returned soonest types of holds, or item level holds for a specific item. Click on add patron and type in the name or a barcode. Then click OK.

To cancel a hold, click on bib level holds or item level holds (wherever the hold is) and then click in the box to highlight the hold. Finally, click on cancel holds.

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Label Printing

NWLS provides support for only two methods of printing labels. One method is designed to print spine labels only, while the other is designed for spine and pocket labels. This page describes the process involved in printing spine labels only. The remainder of this section describes printing spine and pocket labels in MilCat.

Printing Spine Labels Only

Create a spine label template in Microsoft Word:

1.  Open Microsoft Word and go to Tools [or Mailings for Word 2007] on the toolbar.
2.  Click on Envelopes and Labels [or just Labels in Word 2007].
3.  Click the Options button, and then New Label.
4.  Give the new label a name like Library Spine Labels.
5.  Enter the dimensions as follows:

  • Top Margin = .5”
  • Side Margin = .31”
  • Vertical Pitch = 1.0”
  • Horizontal Pitch = .625”
  • Label Height = 1.0”
  • Label Width = 1.5”
  • Number Across = 5
  • Number Down = 10

6.  Click OK [and OK again in Word 2007].
7.  Click New Document.
8.  Click Save and save the template to your desktop with a name you can identify.
9.  Close the program

Enter Call Numbers Using the Template

On your desktop, open the spine label template.
Then enter the call numbers into the open fields and Save.
Go to File and Print to print the labels.
Reuse the template any time you wish to make spine labels

Order the Spine Labels

The above settings are configured to work with Demco item #P149-4226, which are 1.5” x 1” labels.

Printing Spine & Pocket Labels

Send Labels to Print Queue in MilCat

1.  While in an item record, go to the toolbar and click on Tools.
2.  Click Queue Monographic Label to Print (it automatically sends the call number information to a queue in the Review Files area).
Do these two steps after saving but before closing a new item record.

Open the Label Queue

1.  Once all the cataloging is done, click on the Create Lists icon.
2.  Find an empty file.
3.  Select Copy File.
4.  At the bottom of Select File To Copy From, choose “Labels for Batch Printing for **milcat” and click OK.
5.  Answer Yes to the question “Do you want to remove the file being copied from?”
6.  Open (or Show Recs) for the file “Labels for Batch Printing for **milcat”

Edit the Label File

1.  Go to File, then Print Sheet Labels, then Edit Labels for Printing.
2.  Copy the spine label and call number information.
3.  Then, place the cursor across from the record number and arrow down three times.
4.  Then Paste the information that was copied.
[This will allow printing of two spine and pocket labels instead of one, thus not wasting label sets.]
5.  Repeat 1-4 for all items.

Printing the Labels

1.  Once editing is done, still in Modify Monographic Labels, go to File.
2.  Go to Select Printer, and then choose Standard Printer.
3.  Choose Local and choose printer settings.
4.  Select Print.
5.  After all labels are printed, empty the review file.
6.  Close out of MilCat.

Order the Spine Labels

The above settings are configured to work with Gaylord SL6 labels.

Creating New Records

When no records can be found in Merlin to perform copy cataloging, you will need to create a new bibliographic record for the uncataloged items. There are three methods to create new bibliographic records: (1) import a record from a separate bibliographic utility via the Remote option, (2) copy and edit existing records in Merlin, or (3) create a short record for NWLS to overlay a full MARC record at a later time.

Using Remote (z39.50)

The Remote button allows you to search a variety of library databases to borrow a copy of their bibliographic record for local use. The method of search is through an international protocol called z39.50.

1.  To use the z39.50 function, click the Remote button.

2.  Choose a single or several databases (broadcast) to search and click OK.

3.  Choose the Index type of search you want to perform (usually ISBN) and enter in the search number/term. Search tips:

  • ISBN is the most common search.
  • ISSN can be used to find magazines.
  • Music number can be used to find music CDs as well as some film (video or DVD) distribution numbers.
  • While OCLC WorldCat is usually the best source for records, you may have better luck using the Wisconsin databases for local history/author titles.

4.  Click Search.

  • If the record loads (or is chosen from a list), verify it against the piece in hand using the Verification Page. Some editing will be required. Consult the Cataloging Standards in the Merlin Policies section.
  • If no choice is available, put it aside for a week and try the above steps again.
  • If after a week no choice is available, follow the steps outlined in Short Records for Overlay.

5.  After verifying and/or editing the bibliographic record, click Save.
6.  From the View dropdown box, choose Item.
7.  Follow the steps in Adding Items to attach your item record.
8.  To leave the z39.50 Remote search, click on Local to get back to Merlin.

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Copy and Edit Existing Records

If there is a record in the database that contains only minimal variations from the one you have in your hand, you can copy the database record, make changes to the new record, and save it as a new copy.

Uses

This is most useful when you have the latest in a series with the same author, or a new book by an author with other titles in the database. Another good example is when you add the new year’s first magazine record (which is based on a copy of the previous year’s record). You can also use it to add the same title in a different format – sound recording, video, etc..

Copy Existing Records

To copy an existing bibliographic record, first search and display the record you wish to copy. Then go to the toolbar and choose Edit, and then choose Copy Record. A new identical record with no identifiable record number will display.

Edit the Copied Record

Editing the copied record usually requires modifications to the following fields: delete 001-003,040,049; edit the ISBN, title fields, copyright date, page numbers, and subjects. For copied magazine records, you only need to change the old date to the current year. Refer to the input Standards in the Merlin Policies section as appropriate.

Saving Changes

Once all the changes have been made to the record, click Save. A new bibliographic record number will be assigned to the record.

Adding Items

Click on the Summary icon. From the View dropdown box, choose Item. Follow the steps in Adding Items to attach your item record.

Note

For any records that are copied, the system keeps the original record on display and in use, usually behind the copy record. When done adding the copy, be sure to close the copy and original record.

Short Records for Overlay

Short bibliographic records with minimal fields can be created and full item records attached so that popular materials or items with holds (but with no full MARC record available) can be circulated without delay. NWLS runs a monthly list of these short records to overlay with full MARC records or to create original full MARC records.

To create a new short record, from the default search page, click on the New icon.

Then, choose the template named New Short Bib and click Select to open the template record.

You should only need to fill in the ISBN (020), author (100), title (245), publication (260), and note (500) fields when applicable. You only need to add basic information in non-MARC format since this record will eventually be over-ridden. The note field is used for denoting media other than books (e.g. video, music CD, computer game, etc.).

Once you have filled in all the appropriate fields of the record, click Save. A new bibliographic record number will be assigned to the record.
Click on the Summary icon. From the View dropdown box, choose Item. Follow the steps in Adding Items to attach your item record.

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Deleting Records

  1. In Catalog mode, choose Barcode from the Index search dropdown.
  2. Enter the barcode number of the item you wish to delete, and hit <enter>.
  3. The individual record will display, but click on the Summary tab.
  4. In the Summary screen, mark the item and click Delete.
  5. You may be prompted to delete the bibliographic record too (if you were the only library attached) and you should answer Yes.
  6. Click Close to finish and go back to search the next record for deletion.
  7. Follow the steps for the remainder of items needing deletion.

Session Statistics

You can get very basic statistics by session or over a period of time. To check your statistics, go to Reports on the toolbar, and then Session Statistics.

In Statistics, you can see how the system tracks record additions, deletions, modifications, and totals the results.

You can switch to viewing statistics accumulated over a period of time.
You can change the dates recorded and hit Refresh to see statistics made from your desired query.

When done viewing or printing, you can clear your session statistics only, if you wish.

Take note: The modification number may be high from counting any Rapid Update changes made as well as individual changes. Also, when totaling counts, be sure to track for each possible user and add the results together.

Exiting MilCat

When you are ready to exit the program, you can click on the “X” in the upper right hand corner, or go to File and Exit.

A window will pop up asking you if you are sure. Click Yes. You will be taken back to the desktop.