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Acquisitions Improvements:. Loading Blackwell ’ s Collection Manager Orders into Aleph 500. McGill University Libraries Aleph Release 14.2 Patch 5. NAAUG 2003 Poster Session – May 2003, Iowa University. Summary:.

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acquisitions improvements

Acquisitions Improvements:

Loading Blackwell’s Collection Manager Orders into Aleph 500

mcgill university libraries aleph release 14 2 patch 5

McGill University LibrariesAleph Release 14.2 Patch 5

NAAUG 2003 Poster Session – May 2003, Iowa University

  • This poster session describes the work undertaken by McGill University Libraries, Ex Libris and Blackwell’s Book Services to enable the successful loading of Collection Manager order records into McGill’s Aleph catalogue.
  • The new workflow improves acquisitions productivity, ensures order records appear in the OPAC for users and provides a more accurate view of Aleph budgets for the bibliographers.
  • McGill Libraries places over 15,000 to 20,000 firm orders per year with BBS on the Collections Manager system.
  • For each firm order placed, the bibliographic, order and pricing information needs to be transferred between systems, so that Acquisitions staff do not need to enter this information twice on separate and different systems.
Aleph should use the information entered on the Collections Manager order record to automatically create:
      • an order record
      • an item record
      • a bibliographic record
      • a holdings record (not implemented at McGill)
      • an encumbrance on the correct Aleph budget
Brief records should appear immediately in the Aleph database to reduce the potential for duplicate orders being placed by Library staff.
  • A user’s OPAC search should reveal records describing orders the Library has placed, rather than only finding newly received items.
The procedure should be simplified to enable Technical Services staff to control the process, matching their workflow, without the need for Systems staff intervention.
  • Bibliographers should be able to look in Aleph for an up-to-date picture of their account balance and be able to request a report of ALL open orders.
  • Order and queue creation
  • File transfer
  • Aleph processing
  • Error report
  • File archiving
  • Follow-up on errors
order and queue creation
Order and queue creation
  • On CM, there are two ways to create an order:
    • Call up a “request” entered by the bibliographer and make it into an order.
    • Create an order using information from a paper slip.
Flagging records for the export queue.
    • On a record by record basis, or by marking a group of records for export.
    • Corrections can be made to the FUND or DEPT. field once the record is in the queue.
  • Create the export queue.
    • The date is part of the queue name.
Check to see if the queue has been created.
    • On CM, this is called the “ Review Export File Status” screen.
  • Record the completed file size.
    • Note the number of records and bytes.
    • This information is used later in the process.
file transfer
File transfer
  • Load FTP software and connect to BBS’ FTP site.
    • McGill uses WS-FTP.
  • Transfer the file to the Library’s Novell server.
    • No need to rename the file.
    • Verify that the “number of bytes” from CM matches the size of the file on the library server after the transfer.
aleph processing
Aleph processing
  • Login to the ALEPH Staff Menu and select Custom Services, Collection Manager jobs, “Load Brief Records”.
  • Submit the job, carefully entering the file name and the number of records.
    • If the file is larger than 300 records, change the run time to 18 o’clock, so that the processing will start after 6 pm. Aleph’s processing of files locks the library and large files will create noticeable system delays for students and staff.
error report
Error report
  • As soon as the job ends, Aleph will email the results to the job requestor (LTS) and LSO staff.
  • The email contains a report from each of the job steps and any errors detected.
  • Look for condition code 0, at the bottom of the email. This indicates a successful job.
file archiving
File archiving
  • After a successful job, move the CM export file into a different directory on the Library server.
    • McGill calls this directory “Uploaded_CMO_files”
  • These networked files are backup nightly by the Library’s backup server routines.
follow up on errors
Follow-up on errors
  • Records not loaded
    • Any incoming records that match an existing record in the database (based on the 035- BBS overlay number) are copied by the job script into a file on the Library server called:

“ CMO_matches_rejected”

    • This file may contain duplicate incoming records or records with another record’s overlay number.
Invalid location codes
    • A default code is assigned for any invalid location. Browse the Aleph shelf list to find any records created with this default McGill calls this location “ STAFF MAIN”.
  • Invalid budget codes
    • A phantom encumbrance will be created.
    • On a weekly basis, run the Custom Services report which identifies these errors.
No Item record
    • An item record will not be created if the default item status “01” is invalid for the sub library.
    • The p_file_96 error listing will identify these cases.
aleph set up steps
Aleph set-up steps:
  • Specify options in the program definition table.
    • McGill required separate tables for USD and GBP currency processing.



aleph set up steps1
Aleph set-up steps:
  • Specify the order sequence in the definition table.
    • McGill used “DOC NO” so order number relates to ADM system number.
    • OR, a prefix can be added to all orders.
Create the fix routine.
    • The fix routine is used to change the MARC fields of the incoming record and add generic call number.
    • McGill created “ collman035.fix”.
sample bbs brief record
Sample BBS brief record
  • The CM export file from the vendor contains standard MARC records with the following additional fields:

049 $$a library location code

049 $$b item barcode (optional)

980 $$a invoice date (YYYYMMDD)

980 $$d vendor note

980 $$f invoice number

980 $$g number of copies

980 $$b list price

980 $$e net price

980 $$c currency

981 $$b fund code

fixes made to enable the process
Fixes made to enable the process:

Ex Libris

  • Longer location processing. Z30-COLLECTION option in tab_yankee_def needed to be adjusted to read 10 characters so McGill’s location codes could be read and transferred correctly.
The load program was adjusted to set a claim date in the order record.
  • Correct mapping of the bibliographic records’ ISBN field (020) into the order field (Z68-ISBN).
  • Allow for larger program definition table (p_collman_def ).
  • A program was created to separate the CM export file into two files, based on the currency (USD or GBP) and the vendor. Each file requires a different run through the load program (p_file_96).
A Unix job script was created to control the sequence of programs used to process the export file. The sequence included steps to check for duplicate records. McGill calls this script “ rjx_cm_brief”.
  • The script was added the Aleph Staff Menu, Custom Services so LTS staff could submit the job.
  • When the LTS staff member flags an order for the export queue, the overlay number is now automatically transferred into the correct field on the export queue record.
  • The BBS system was modified to speed up the creation of the export file. Now the file is ready for transfer to the library within ten minutes.
  • Set Item Status.
    • It is very important to set the arrival status to ‘P’ in the tab_yankee_def table so that the Invoice/Arrive programs properly invoke tab42 to flip the item processing status from “OR” (On Order) to “IP” (In process).
Set a default sub library location to “catch” errors.
    • Tab_collman_def contains a “catchall” default sub library and collection (STAFF MAIN) to handle typos, so that an order is made in all cases.
Check for “orphaned encumbrances”.
    • The program (p_file_96) does not check to see that the budget code was entered correctly. It will create transactions on budgets that do not exist. A custom report was prepared to find these “orphaned “ encumbrances.
new workflow advantages
New Workflow Advantages:


  • Brief records and orders in the OPAC within 24 hours of being placed by Library staff.

Acquisitions staff

  • Double entry of order information on both systems is no longer necessary.
  • A reduction in the number of searches for duplicates.


  • Aleph’s budgets and order reports are more accurate.
enhancements still needed
Enhancements still needed:

Ex Libris

  • The load program (p_file_96) should be enhanced:
      • To prevent orphaned encumbrances, if an order is not created.
The creation of the order and budget encumbrance by the program should be recorded in the Aleph order log.
  • Allow for more information to be transferred between systems in the MARC record input file.
      • Order group code
      • Authorization group code
  • Streamline the creation of the export queue.
    • When a group of records is exported, the CM screen has irrelevant data which staff need to remove to submit the request properly.
Transfer information between CM system records, automatically.
    • When staff change a CM request into a CM order for export, the overlay number, internal note and order group code must be cut and pasted into the order fields by LTS staff and errors can be introduced.
  • Improve the automation of the workflow.
    • Create a script to automatically check for the existence of the export file on the Library server and if found, automatically FTP the file to the Aleph server and submit the processing job script.
aleph programs used
Aleph programs used:
  • p_file_01 “ Convert MARC records”
  • p_file_02 “ Convert MARC records”
  • p_file_08 “ Modify MARC records”

This program uses the fix table to modify the MARC record input file.

p_ manage_36 “Load Catalog Records”

This program checks the input file against the MGU01 database and separates records into three files: exact matches, non-matches and multiple matches.

p_file_96 “ Load YPB records”

This program processes the MARC input file and creates the Aleph bibliographic, order, item records and makes the budget encumbrance, based on the specifications entered by the library in the definition table.

McGill uses this program twice for a separated CM file, using different definition tables, one for each currency, USD and GBP.

aleph tables needed
Aleph tables needed:
  • Load program definition table


This table translates the order information between the systems and assigns sub library locations and Aleph record statuses. McGill created two of these tables, one for US orders and one for UK orders.

Fix table for the MARC record input file


This table performs field translations on the input records, such as adding an OWN field or transferring the 001 to the 035 field.

  • Ex Libris (available on Ex Libris Documentation Center website)
    • How to Load YBP files.doc, Release 14.2, Last Update 7 October 2001.
    • How to Batch Load BIB Records.
    • How to Export BIB Records for Processing

(and Re-import them).

  • Blackwell’s Book Services

(available on BBS website)

    • CM Export Profile Form.
McGill (available on LTS web site)
    • Blackwell’s Collection Manager creating requests. (LTS, February 2002)
    • Blackwell’s Files (Collection Manager and MARC with Books) FTP and loading into Aleph via Customer Services. (LTS, March 2003)
    • Blackwell’s files loading when using Collection Manager and creating order records. (Job scripting specifications, LTS, March 2003)

BBS - Blackwell’s Book Services

Blackwell's Book Services specialises in the supply of books and bibliographic support products to academic, research and leading public libraries throughout the world.

CM - Collection Manager

Blackwell's Book Services online selection and ordering system for over 2 million U.S. and U. K. imprints.

YBP – YBP Library Services, A Baker & Taylor Company

YBP provides books and supporting collection management and technical services to libraries around the world.

LTS - Library Technical Services

poster session contributors
Poster Session Contributors:
  • Library Technical Services

Joan Hobbins ([email protected])

Sharon Rankin ([email protected])

Pat Riva ([email protected])

  • Library Systems Office

Jane Aitkens ([email protected])

Ron Johnston ([email protected])