Technical Services item processing workflow

What is the overall flow of item processing for Technical Services?


About Joy Anhalt

Cataloger. Technical Services Manager at the Tinley Park Public Library, Tinley Park, Illinois. She participates in the ILA Resources & Technical Services Forum (RTSF), LACONI Technical Services Section and the Metropolitan Library Systems' MARC Advisory Committee. She is the winner of the 2008 ILA TBS, Inc. Technical Services Award.
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3 Responses to Technical Services item processing workflow

  1. Lynn Dennis says:

    What a timely question. I was just thinking about this. Aside from myself, we have only 2 people in the department, an assistant (cataloger) and a clerk (processor). There is a lot of back and forth from one to the other and back again.
    I would be interested in how other departments work. I remember being surprised during a tour of the Chicago Library, that the person who checked items against the orders, barcoded the items as she checked them in. Barcoding is several steps later in our workflow.

    This is our process:
    – Ordering: Technical Services Clerk releases orders electronically.
    – Check-in (receiving): Technical Services Clerk opens boxes, creates an invoice in acquisitions program, checks items against Purchase Orders, property stamps, identifies priority items and places item on cart for cataloging.
    – Cataloging: Technical Services Assistant finds or creates a bibliographical record, assigns subject headings and added entries, determines classification, applies barcode, creates and applies spine labels, genre labels, collection designations, etc., and places item on cart for processing.
    – Processing: Technical Services Clerk completes physical processing of books, bags, boxes, cases, etc., and places item on cart for quality control check.
    – Quality Control Check: Technical Services Assistant checks item for correct information: labels, circ periods, call number, processing, cataloging, etc., counts item for statistical reports and delivers item to the appropriate department.

    Comments and suggestions are welcome!
    Lynn Dennis, TS Dept. Head
    Roselle Public Library

  2. Joy Anhalt says:

    In my department the work flows:
    1. Orders are verified and sent by the Acquisitions Clerk.
    2. Items received, checked in, etc. by the Acquisitions Clerk
    3. Items shelved in the appropriate location (rush, department, collection) within the department by the Acquisitions Clerk
    4. Copy cataloger or cataloger loads a cart and catalogs the items. *
    5. Items are then processed and entered. *
    6. Holds are trapped and in some instances processed.
    7. Items taken to Circ to be shelved.

    *3 of my Technical Services clerk perform all duties: copy cataloging, processing & data entry.
    *The cataloger is the department manager who handles the non-fiction and original cataloging.

    We are a part of consortium and are authorized to download OCLC records to our LLSAP.
    Joy Anhalt
    Tinley Park Public Library

    • I agree with Lynn, this is a timely question. Last July we started purchasing fully-shelf ready books from Baker & Taylor. 85% of all books we purchase arrive in-house fully cataloged and processed. In addition, Midwest Tapes is our primary AV vendor and all products arrive fully processed and music CDs and Audiobooks also arrive with full cataloging. With this foundation, here is our workflow:

      Ordering: We utilize EDIFACT ordering with BT and Midwest and send them an electronic order and we receive an electronic confirmation and invoice.

      Invoicing: Titles are shipped to us an our Acquisitions staff open boxes and match products to invoices. Staff download electronic invoices from BT and Midwest and finish invoicing. If we ordered a title from another vendor, staff will manually key in an invoice into Innovative.

      Cataloging: The 85% of books that arrive fully-cataloged and processed immediately go to Materials Handling and are checked in– they are not checked for accuracy. We checked all items for 3 months and found a 2-3% error rate and made the decision that we could live with that %. The other 15% of books are filed by date and are cataloged and processed in-house. The AV that arrives without cataloging is also filed and cataloged in-house. Catalogers: 2 FTE.

      Processing: We have 1.5 FTE staff that finish the small % of books that do not arrive fully processed.

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