Item Type Change FAQ

Beginning July 19, 2008 and continuing for the next four weeks, Unicorn Support Staff in Systems will change the "Item Type" in over 3.5 million item records.

Why are we changing the "Item Types"?

The Unicorn "Item Types" are changing so that we can 1) better control circulation, 2) provide more accurate and timely information to users that place holds, and 3) provide better statistics about our collections.

How were the "Item Types" chosen?

Technical Services Council created a committee called the "Item Type Task Force (ITTF)" and charged it to select the new item types. The ITTF had broad representation comprised of faculty and staff from Technical and Public Services and Collection Development and met during the Fall 2007 semester to design the new item types.

Why are we converting at this time of year?

Systems estimated that it would take approximately four weeks to make all of the necessary changes to item records, existing Unicorn reports, IRIS record displays and associated workflows, etc. It was determined that the best time to make these changes was during the summer, after fiscal year rollover but before the beginning of the Fall semester.

What can we expect during the conversion?

This conversion will result in

  • new Item Types in item records
  • new Acquisitions Holding Codes
  • new Serials Control Holding Codes
  • revised selections in many Unicorn reports
  • revised IRIS displays

You will begin to see a new Item Type or Holding Code as soon as the corresponding change is made. Therefore, during the next month while the conversion is in process you will see a mixed bag of Item Types in Unicorn and IRIS, some old and some new.

How will we be kept apprised of Systems progress with this project?

Unicorn Support Staff in Systems will issue periodic messages during the conversion. As always, let us know if you have specific questions.

Is there a list of the new item types?

The new item types can be found at

Each item type code is appended with a "-Y" or "-N". A "-Y" means the item circulates and a "-N" means it does not.

Is there more documentation to read?

All of the documents, minutes of meetings, definition of the codes, and final report of the Item Type Task Force can be found on Staff Resources under:

Technical Services: Committees and Task Forces: Item Type Task Force

Also, the LIS white paper that initiated the change can be found at:

What about coordination with external agencies, libraries, or products such as Palci, the Hungarian Foundation, Yankee/GOBI, or OCLC/PromptCat?

A group called the "Item Type Working Group (ITWG)" is in charge of implementing these changes and is already coordinating with these other groups.


Please contact Unicorn Support Staff in Systems if you have questions about this announcement.

Last updated July 15, 2008
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