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Re: discard decisions Gaele Gillespie 02 Jul 1991 18:03 UTC

In response to T. Sanders' June 9th inquiry about discard decisions:

At the University of Kansas Libraries, decisions on discards are part of the
overall retention decision process, so they are searched on OCLC and entries
are added to the serials system once the retention decision is made by a bib-
liographer. We receive so many unsolicited, unidentified titles on a continuous
basis that it just makes sense to capture information and get it on the system
so that the initial indentification process doesn't have to be repeated each
time a subsequent issue arrives in Serials Receiving.  Those things that are
identified as part of a Serials Dept. paid subscription or standing order are
set up by the Serials Acquisitions unit staff according to predefined guide-
lines -- and some of these may become discards if the bibliographer of record
does not want them added to the collections, and then the entries are simply
updated with the proper discard information.  Those things that are identified
as NOT part of a Serials Dept. paid subscription or standing order are sent to
the Acquisitions Dept. (Exchange & Gifts unit), where a brief, provisional
record is set up on the serials system (based on Serials Dept. guidelines and
according to mutually-approved procedures devised cojointly w/ the Acq. Dept.)
Again, the records for titles that receive an ultimate retention decision of
"discard" are edited by the appropriate staff in the Exchange & Gifts unit.

Discard records are made up of: a brief bib record (country, lang., freq./reg.,
beg. date, enc. lvl. in the FF and 022, 1XX/245, 260, 310, 362 in the VF); and
a brief holdings record (FF: check-in type, rec/acq. code, meth/acq code, retn.
code, Ord. #/ord. date if linked to a paid order in the Serials Dept. or an
exch/gift order in the Acq. Dept.; VF: 852, 5XX, 9XX --local order, note, and
claims fields, including a note which reflects who made the discard decision
and when). In some very exceptional cases, noninteractive issue records MAY
be created (in order to have a history of issues rec'd. and when). In all
cases, these records DO NOT display in the online catalog. However, what we
call the "reference holdings screen" (a display screen for staff that
transliterates the MARCese into English) reflects: Title, Imprint, First/Last
Date, Freq., ISSN, Rec/Publn. Status, Location (e.g., Serials Department -
Serials Receiving); Call No. (the standard "No Call #"), the standard, system-
supplied note, "For holdings, inquire at Serials Department - Sreials Receiving
, Location Notes (e.g., "Discarded upon receipt"), and General Notes (e.g.,
"Decision to discard made by _Bibliographer's Name_ on mm/dd/yy.")

As part of the identification/retention decision process in both the Serials
Dept. (Serials Acq. unit) and the Acq. Dept. (Exch & Gift unit), letters are
written for those things earmarked as "discards" in an attempt to persuade the
source to cease mailing them to us. It is because this is not always success-
ful that the immediate creation of brief entries on the serials system are so
beneficial. Later on, should someone submit a purchase request for a title that
is set up as a "discard", the basic record is already on the system (with its
history intact) and can easily be upgraded to a new-order record.  Since we've
been on our new system and have beefed up or otherwise clarified our discard
records, bibliographers have found them useful, and we've been able to "save"
titles/issues from being discarded once Bibliographer A realizes that several
years ago Bibliographer X made the decision to discard a title which is now
very important to retain.  And, of course, records from the old system were
converted to the new system with inherent errors intact, so we've been able to
save titles that were initially miscoded as "discards".

Altho I was able to do so in a previous position in a smaller library, there is
NO WAY I can personally review every unidentified item that comes in thru
Serials Receiving.  However, the heads of the Serials Receiving and Serials
Acquisitions units alert me whenever an especially problematic situation
arises. Also, we and the Acq. Dept. have put a lot of effort into rationalizing
our co-joint procedures so that the identification, bibliographer review, and
records creation processes work more smoothly.  It may SEEM like a lot of work
for items that are "...just going to be discarded", but with our title base &
the number of unsolicited titles/issues we receive on a continuous basis, the
decision to create discard records has proved to be a sound one.