October 4, 2019

Records with no Holdings

A question came up on one of the listservs about records with no holdings which we wanted to provide some  clarification on.
To get this new system started, all holdings in the old NHU-PAC were loaded into the new union catalog that’s one of the sources used by the new ILL system. Then holdings for libraries that are “Z-targets” or that are not participating were removed. That’s left a lot of bibliographic records with no holdings in the new union catalog and these will be cleaned out systematically. David was working this morning on creating a file of more than 400,000 records, all now without holdings, to remove from the new union catalog. Even so, you’ll continue to find records without holdings in the new union catalog—they’re there if catalogers need them.

In the new system, the presence of records without holdings doesn’t matter for ILL purposes. As a general rule (but see the exception below), it doesn’t matter which record you create a request from. SHAREit will look for matching records throughout the system to find potential lenders.

If you see there’s a holding in the old NHU-PAC but can’t find it in the new system, chances are the item has been discarded by the holding library and the holding was never removed from the NHU-PAC. Many libraries that have done a fine job of keeping up with adding new acquisitions to the system over the decades have sometimes found the process of removing holdings got away from them.

Let’s look at a specific case: the novel “In a Country of Mothers,” originally published in 1993. You’ll see two editions in the old NHU-PAC with a total of six holdings, the most recent holding having been added in 2008. I did a title search in the holding libraries’ online catalogs—six separate searches—and didn’t find the presence of a single copy. That’s why the new ILL system couldn’t find any holdings for the title—it searched those same online catalogs plus the catalogs of more than 145 other libraries that are Z-targets in this system plus the new union catalog (which has all holdings of Z-targets removed). And it did it a heck of a lot faster than my catalog-by-catalog search.

Now to another case: “101 Easy Tunisian Stitches.” Here’s where, it turns out, sometimes it does matter which record you create a request from. The new NHAIS ILL System finds two matching records for ISBN 9781931171748. One’s the union catalog record with no holdings, one’s from the online catalog of a library that does indeed have a copy. In this case, with the request created from the record without a holding, the system was unable to find a matching record with a potential lender. That’s because, among other things, it’s taking the title into account when trying to find a match. The record you created the request from had “101 easy Tunisian stitches” in subfield 245a but the other record had “Crochet” in subfield 245a and “101 easy Tunisian stitches” in 245b. As far as SHAREit is concerned, that’s a different title and you should create your request from that title if that’s what you want. It is best practice to place your request starting from a record that has holdings on it.

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