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Government Documents Policy and Procedure Guide: Exchange Lists

Processing Exchange Lists

  1. When exchange list is received, check it against MERLIN, the shelflist, and the shelves in 1 East to see whether we have gaps. It works pretty well to use a different color pen for each of these three and put a code at the top indicating what each color means. For example, red could be used to note info in the shelflist; green to note what was discovered through a check of the actual shelf, and blue to note presence in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG.  Check marks indicate “found” and zeros indicate not found.  The shelflist sometimes indicates to look somewhere else, for example, under an LC call number upstairs, so it could be a multi-step process.  We don’t do physical checks of shelves if the item is in a branch or offsite; we simply trust that they are there.  In Ellis, though, we check.

  2. Some might wonder why it is necessary to check the shelf if the item is found in the shelflist and/or MERLIN.  The reason is that sometimes things are lost or stolen, and we might want a replacement.  Conversely, it is also good to check the shelf when an item is NOT in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG or the shelflist, since for a certain period of time in the mid-1900s, documents were simply received and shelved without making any record in the catalog or elsewhere.

  3. Use a yellow highlighted to mark the items that we definitely want to request.  When in doubt, ask the selective to clarify or simply request the things.  After requesting them, delete them from the exchange list and post the remainders to the Missouri Exchange List website.   Notify MODOC-L.  Optional: send a note to GOVDOC-L N&O to let them know of the new list.  We encourage selectives to send this note themselves but some are unable to do so due to local IT policies.

  4. Set a deadline for claims of about one month.  It’s usually best to put the deadline over the weekend so there’s no question on the following Monday of their being expired.

  5. Put a reminder in your Outlook calendar set for the day after expiration, to notify the selective that their exchange list is expired and they may now discard as they see fit.   They greatly appreciate the reminder.

  6. When the selective sends us the items we have requested, remember that the default will be for Cataloging to give the item the SuDoc which is written on the piece, and shelve it in DOCS.  Therefore, before sending them down, we need to check them over for the following:

    1. WRONG CALL NUMBERS.  Quickly look at all the SuDoc numbers and see if any appear to be obviously incorrect.  For example, annual reports that don’t have a .1 in the SuDoc stem, a congressional item without a Y call number, or SuDocs that for any other reason just don’t look right.  Set those aside to check later see if the call number against the Monthly Catalog, the CGP, the 1909 Checklist, or in the case of congressional material, LN Congressional.  If there is any discrepancy with those sources and what’s written on the doc itself, we will need to print off the record and tuck it into the book, indicating to Cataloging what we discovered.  Of course, if it turns out that we already have an identical book under a different SuDoc number, then we would not want to add the additional copy just received from the selective.  It may be discarded or re-offered on an exchange list of our own, depending on whether we think other libraries may want it.  You do not have to look up every doc in these sources – just the ones that raise suspicion.

    2. Compare the materials to the saved, marked-up exchange list and separate out those which we had ordered as replacement copies.  Look them up in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG.  If MERLIN shows that the item has been billed – no matter what the date the patron was billed (even 20 years ago) – we send the book to John Meyer in Circulation to have the item removed from the patron’s record.  John will then give it to Dan Dodd for cataloging.  If on the other hand the item was simply missing (not lost by and billed to a specific individual) then we can put it on Dan Dodd’s shelf for replacement copies.

    3. The marked-up exchange list will also tell If the document fills a gap in a series, and if that series is cataloged in LC or Dewey, we might alert Cataloging to that fact and note that it should be given the Dewey or LC number rather than the SuDoc written on the piece.  Putting a MERLIN printout in the book takes care of it.

    4. If you find that we have one series which is partially in Docs and partially upstairs under LC numbers, you might ask Cataloging to have all of the docs brought together in one place at the same time that they add the new doc just received.

    5. Despite our best efforts, it will often happen that we order docs from selectives that we already own.  Cataloging will bring these back up to us and tell us where they found them.  This is a helpful learning experience and through the feedback, we learn additional tricks for finding elusive docs in our collection.


Checking Books Received from Exchange Lists

The basic idea is to see whether we already own these.   If we do not own them, then we need to give detailed info to Technical Services so they can get the book processed properly. 

Here’s what Tech Services needs to know:

  • The call number we want to use.  It may be a SuDoc, LC or Dewey number.
  • The location where the document should be shelved. 
  • For example, you can say “DOCS,” or “ceiii,” offsite storage, etc. 
  • If the doc fills a gap serial that has been reclassed from SuDoc to some other classification, print off the first page of the MERLIN record so that they can see where all the other issues are and get the issue entered on the proper record.
  • If the SuDoc number on the piece is wrong, Xerox or print off a page from a finding aid like CGP, the Monthly Catalog or Andriot that confirms what the call number ought to be. 

Checking the Accuracy of the Sudoc Number on the Piece

  • Use Andriot to determine whether or not the SuDoc the selective had assigned was correct.  When using Andriot,
  • Check the name of the agency in the entry against the name of the agency on the publication.  They should match exactly.
  • Check the dates that the agency was formed and disbanded.   There must be correspondence between that and the publication date on the doc.
  • Check the doc carefully to see whether it is a monograph or a serial.  If it is a serial and the Andriot entry doesn’t look quite right, browse the other entries for the same agency to see if another is a better match.
  • If the document is dated before 1909, then consult the 1909 Checklist to see if the call number assigned by the selective looks correct.
  • Make note of any alternate SuDoc numbers which may in fact be the correct number. 
  • If you find a different Andriot entry that you suspect is correct and you think that the selective had assigned the wrong SuDoc, check MERLIN and the Docs shelflist under other SuDoc numbers you suspect may be correct.

Doublechecking MERLIN and/or the Shelflist using the Additional Info on the Cover or Title Page

It is not uncommon for selectives’ exchange lists to give titles which are not findable in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG.  For example, the selective might have provided the title of an individual bulletin whereas we cataloged the series only with the title “Bulletin.”   Look carefully at the cover and title page of the docs when they arrive and see whether they appear to be part of a series.  Check for series titles in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG.  This is one of the most common ways to miss things that we own.

When checking MERLIN, remember that a single series may be on multiple records if there was the slightest change in the title or the agency name.  Look for “Continues [from]” and “Continued [by]” links in the bibliographic record.  Click them but do not trust the results completely – they only work about half the time, if that.  They can provide the clue that there may be another record in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG and they signal to us that more in-depth checking in the UM LIBRARIES CATALOG may be necessary.  At this point, another check of the shelflist might save a lot of time bumbling around on the computer.

Keep in mind the parts of our SuDoc collection which have not been 100% catalogued.  The Catalog Dept keeps a running record of the progress on their website.   If the doc is in a part of the collection not yet catalogued, it may be necessary to go out and double check the shelf under the alternate SuDoc numbers you uncovered during your investigations.

Remember that for a period of time including the 1950s, some documents were simply put out on the shelves without being included in the main card files or in the shelflist.  In other words, we have no record of owning them and finding them on the shelf is the only way that we know we have them.

Superseded Items

Once the call number has been verified, if we still appear not to own material, consider checking the Superseded List.   If we do not own a run of serial material dated after 1988, this might be why.  Get to know how the Superseded List works – the “R” in the “Regional” column means that Regionals must keep all.    

  • Monthlies might be superseded by annuals which have a different title and different SuDoc.  The Superseded List would indicate if this is the case.
  • The rules might say that Regionals need keep only the latest edition.
  • Monographs can be superseded if a revised edition was printed later.
  • Serials can be superseded if each issue of the new serial includes all the old information plus more.
  • Remember that the Superseded List is old and librarians now have the authority to make their own supersede decisions based on these principles.

 Odds 'n' Ends

  • Consider checking the Monthly Catalog to find the original SuDoc number that was issued.  Web Tech Notes (online) records corrections to call numbers.
  • We do not have to keep old errata pages if we do not own the base manuals.
  • If you determine that we already own certain docs, we can simply recycle them or we can relist them on an exchange list of our own if we think they may be valuable to another library.