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Re: [Koha-devel] Itemtype and MARC21 Quandry

From: Thomas D
Subject: Re: [Koha-devel] Itemtype and MARC21 Quandry
Date: Sun Oct 2 13:09:03 2005

If MARC 21 852 $6 has been used for designating a circulation rule it must
have been catalogued that way because the formal use of $6 for designating
an alternate script would seldom need to apply to 852.  876-878 $h would be
the proper place to store circulation rules or more usually restrictions on use.


I will continue with another example derived from an analytical features
list that also includes features not yet implemented and not on the roadmap.

The following edited, rearranged and reduced, extract from a combined form
is never meant to be seen because it is difficult to read and follow at
length.  The edited outline extract is followed by a descriptive explanation
based on the outline.


16. Circulation.
   1. Circulation Rules.
         1. Circulation Material Type Based.
         2. Library Based.
         3. Item Based.
               1. Administrative Reassignment.
                     1. Item Circulation Material Type Reassignment.
                           1. Original Non-MARC Koha.  [current, version 2.2.3]
                               1. Reassignment to other circulation material
types already specified at the expression-manifestation level (Koha
biblioitems table) for the same work.  [current, version 2.2.3]
                               2. Reassignment to any circulation material
type.  [forthcoming, version 3.0]
                           2. MARC Koha.
                               1. Reserve specification (designated as not
for loan in Koha).  [current, version 2.2.3]
                                   1. MARC Formats.
                                       1. MARC 21 Format for Bibliographic Data.
                                           1. User Definable.  [current,
version 2.2.3]
                                           2. Prepackaged Frameworks. 
[forthcoming, version unspecified]
                                               1. Subfield Appearance in Editor.
                                                   1. Prepackaged default.
                                           3. Value List Selection from
Pop-Up Windows.  [forthcoming, version unspecified]
                                               1. Prepackaged default value
                                       1. UNIMARC Bibliographic Format. 
[current, version 2.2.3]
                                           1. User Definable.
                                           2. Prepackaged Frameworks.
                                               1. Subfield Appearance in Editor.
                                                   1. Prepackaged default.
                                           3. Value List Selection from
Pop-Up Windows.
                                               1. Prepackaged default value

                               2. Reassignment to any circulation material
type.  [forthcoming, version 3.0]
                           3. Automatic reassignment by acquisitions recency
setting.  [forthcoming, version unspecified]
                     1. Item Library Reassignment.  [current, version 2.2.3]
         4. Patron Privilege Type Based.


Circulation periods in Koha are currently set by circulation material types
(implemented as biblioitems.itemtype); library (branches); and patron
privileges.  [I have edited out the detail of the outline section relating
to circulation periods except for that affecting items.]


Non-MARC Koha allows the reassignment of items (itemnumber) to a different
circulation material type (biblioitems.itemtype) provided that the desired
circulation material type has been assigned to another
expression-manifestation (bibloitemnumber) for the same work (biblionumber).
 The following untested SQL statement should return the limitation of
circulation material type reassignments for an itemnumber.

SELECT biblioitems.itemtype FROM biblioitems WHERE biblioitems.biblionumber
= (SELECT biblio.biblionumber FROM biblio, biblioitems, items WHERE
biblio.biblionumber = biblioitems.biblionumber AND
biblioitems.biblioitemnumber = items.biblioitemnumber AND items.itemnumber =


The MARC frameworks can provide for reassigning the circulating or
noncirculating status provided that items.notforloan is assigned to a MARC
subfield in whatever MARC field has been chosen for items mapping and also
provided that the subfield is set to managed in Koha.  This is the
prepackaged default in UNIMARC Koha controlled by a value list for the
record editor.


A common workaround for inadequacies in the Koha data model is to create
virtual library branches.  Library branches must have different codes. 
However, virtual library branches may be assigned a name beginning with the
name of the actual library branch to ensure that humans know which library
branch actually has the material.  A library may then have an additional
virtual parameter to use.

A particular item can be assigned to a virtual library branch.  Circulation
rules can be set by library branches.

This sort of workaround is what users of closed source systems have to use
because they have no other option.  Koha is open source and does not need to
force inadequate data models on users so proper provision for needed
parameters should be provided at the next best opportunity.


The problem derives from a mistaken bibliographic data representation in the
original non-MARC Koha record representation.  The Non-MARC Koha record was
not modelled on the FRBR but is broadly similar in its basis in addressing
practical problems of bibliographic relations.  However, the treatment of
itemtype as a circulation rule is both practically and theoretically
problematic.  Conflated within the intended usage is both the media format
type, general material designation and specific material designation; and a
circulation material rule type.  The set of all circulation material rule
types and all media format types may intersect but they do not necessarily
intersect.  Forcing them to intersect makes Koha awkward to use despite the
limited advantage of having only one assignment to make when they do intersect.

Koha should be flexible enough to support legitimate user needs to give
flexible access to the collection to best serve a variety of patron use and
to meet administrative needs as they arise.  All copies of a book should not
necessarily circulate for the same period.


Non-MARC Koha should have a separate media format type and separate
circulation material rule type.  Media format type would be most consistent
with its rather flat somewhat FRBR like model if it is put in the items
table.  Circulation material rule type would be most flexible if it were
available in the items table.

While the virtual library branch work around may be adequate for now,
addressing the conflated media format type ought to be sufficiently
important to correct the combined issue for version 3.0.

Media format type should be designated at the record level.  Binding, unlike
media format type, is an items level distinction in both FRBR and the
current English language publishing tradition.  The fact that binding is
usually different at the manifestation level in other publishing cultures
does not change its place in the FRBR.  However, binding fits at the
expression-manifestation level in the flattened somewhat FRBR-like original
Koha record model.

The Version 3.0 roadmap provides for an acquisitions recency status.  That
should certainly be in the items table.  The roadmap specifies the recency
status to be noted in the OPAC.  Recency status could also be used to
automatically reassign a circulation material rule type.  An adequate model
for reassignment configuration would have to be provided.

Recency based circulation rules for popular material are certainly in common
use at many libraries.  However, I have not given much thought to the
requirements for a configuration model.  Developing a good configuration
model may be sufficiently complex to mitigate against use of receny status
outside the OPAC until libraries actually express a strong interest in
recency based assignment.

Thomas D

Quoting Sylvain Machefert <address@hidden> :
> ---------------- Beginning of the original message ------------------
> Hi all,
> I sent a mail one week ago about this same problem for a
> library who has
> books for adults and books for children with different issuing
> rules but the
> same notice. I'm in favour of linking the itemptype to the
> item, not to the
> biblioitem.
> hope there'll be an elegant fix for that ...
> Sylvain
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Joshua Ferraro" <address@hidden>
> To: <address@hidden>
> Sent: Friday, September 30, 2005 3:45 PM
> Subject: [Koha-devel] Itemtype and MARC21 Quandry
> > Hi all,
> >
> > So here's a problem. Say a library has a system that allows
> a single
> > MARC21 record to specify record types within the record in
> the 852$6
> > and allows issuing rules to happen on the item level rather
> than on
> > the record level. I'm not sure if this is valid MARC21
> practice, but
> > I do know of at lease one system that works this way.
> >
> > When such a library converts to Koha, only one of the
> itemtypes is
> > valid for the whole record, meaning that they will lose the
> ability
> > to define issuing rules at the item level. The only solution
> seems
> > to be to break up each record into multiple records, one for
> each
> > itemtype (as a temporary fix).
> >
> > So I'm wondering, should we be defining issuing rules at the
> item
> > level in Koha 3.0 for MARC21? or should we continue to
> define them
> > soley on the record level?
> >
> > Cheers,
> > --
> > Joshua Ferraro               VENDOR SERVICES FOR OPEN-SOURCE
> > President, Technology       migration, training,
> maintenance, support
> > LibLime                                Featuring Koha
> Open-Source ILS
> > address@hidden |Full Demos at http://liblime.com/koha
> |1(888)KohaILS
> >
> >
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> ------------------- End of the original message ---------------------

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