Item Type Task Force: Charge
In a Unicorn bibliographic item record, the 'Item Type' field is designed to identify an
item's characteristics for circulation and statistical purposes. It is also a primary element
in a number of Unicorn policy tables. Typical 'Item Types' suggested by SIRSI documentation
or in use at peer institutions are BOOK, E-BOOK, PERIODICAL, and VIDEO.
At Rutgers University Libraries, the 'Item Type' has evolved into a field that duplicates
information from the item's sub-location field, such as STACKS, REF, and ARCHIV. This
practice has served us well over the years but, as the Unicorn software and RUL evolve, it
has become clear that our divergent definitions are affecting our abilities to make full use
of the software.
If we were to redefine our 'Item Type' policy as developed by SIRSI, it would allow us to
take advantage of software features that would benefit us now and also prepare us for the
future. There are multiple benefits to this change.
- It would allow us to specify, down to the item level, which materials circulate and which
do not. Items shelved next to one another in the same sub-location could have different
circulation policies if needed, and those circulation policies would be readily apparent to
the public from within IRIS.
- Patrons would no longer be able to place holds on material that is designated as non-
circulating. At present, if material is not located in a sub-location that is completely non-
circulating, a hold can be placed and only subsequently is the user notified that the
material cannot be requested. With the implementation of the new scheme for 'Item Types',
users would be notified immediately when attempting to place a hold on any non-circulating
item, and would be prevented from placing that hold.
- Information for statistical reports would be available in delineated fields that were not
previously available. Depending on the 'Item Types' that are ultimately implemented, we could
produce reports that are not currently possible either with the Unicorn reports module or
through Director's Station.
The Item Type Task Force is charged to redefine the Unicorn `Item Types` based on the
- circulation - does the item circulate?
- holds/requests - is the item holdable and requestable by patrons?
- statistics - the new `Item Types` should aid statistical gathering both for internal and
external (i.e. ARL) reporting
Report that defines the new 'Item Types', the rationale for the choices made, and the tasks
needed to implement the new 'Item Types' with an expected time frame for completion. The Task
Force should complete its work by the end of calendar year 2007.