I can’t find this book, but the catalogue says…

Screenshot of brief results list, showing three books by Prof Ian McFarland, with the middle record stating "Checked out from Divinity Faculty Library Main Library (9 MACF 13) and other location" (which is clickable as a link to the more detailed view.

Screenshot of brief results list, showing three books by Prof Ian McFarland, with the middle record stating “Checked out…”

What could be easier than searching a catalogue? Well, the following post is the result of trying to help library users in the last 2 1/2 years (honestly, I have been trying for longer, but you will see why this duration of 30ish months is important). A fair number of our users believe that a book is supposed to be on the shelf, when it (sometimes) isn’t. I also fear that some might be mis-reading the catalogue’s holdings, and believe that a book isn’t on the shelf at Divinity, when it actually is.

The University of Cambridge-wide iDiscover was launched in 2016, and since then we librarians and users have been using this “catalogue” (technically-speaking it’s a resource discovery system; without wanting to bore you: it collates bibliographic data from different data sources; more details, if you cannot resist, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discovery_system).

In the above screenshot it looks as if the publication In Adam’s fall is ‘checked out from Divinity Facult Main Library (9 MACF 13) and other locations’. We advise users to click always on this link. In this case one might assume that there are holdings at “other locations [my emphasis]”. The other location (singular) is the University Library, and one could assume that the UL’s copy is also “checked out” (e.g. borrowed/on loan). When I clicked on this link, it showed this:

iDiscover showing two detailed of holdings, with classmark, but without any indication whether either is available.

iDiscover showing two details of holdings, with classmark, but without any indication whether either is available.

As you can see, you cannot see (!) whether either copy is available. I won’t bore you with details, but I have just fixed this, so that this screen gives now more helpful information:

Two holdings are now displayed with the useful information: "(1 copy, 0 available, 0 requests)"

Two holdings, now displaying the useful information “(1 copy, 0 available, 0 requests)”

We are aware of this problem, and will work through similar records as soon as we can! Until then you really need to click through to see the details. However, when there are multiple copies of a book (not only accross the University’s libraries, but also at one library. You really ought to click through. The following example might help to show why!

iDiscover record showing "Available at Cambridge Theological Federation   Ridley Hall Library (246.19) and other locations"

iDiscover record showing “Available at Cambridge Theological Federation Ridley Hall Library (246.19) and other locations”

Clicking on the link after “Available at”, produces the list of holdings (i.e. Ridley Hall Library and “other locations”):

screenshot_multiplecopies_atDivLib31Jan2019detailedholdings

The Divinity Library has 4 copies at 5 NTJN ASH 3b, and underneath the hyperlinked, first line, the system states “5 NTJN ASH 3b(1) until 5 NTJN 3b(4)”. In this case, clicking on the blue link for Divinity Faculty Library will give details about the four copies:

screenshot_multiplecopies_atDivLib31Jan2019detailedmultiplecopiesatDivLib

Here the system then states that copies 3 and 4 (at 5 NTJN ASH 3b(3) and 5 NTJN ASH 3b(4) are “in place”; i.e. the are in the library/not “on loan”, but: of course, someone might just be able to borrow them, before you get to the copy/library. Copies 1 and 2 are “on loan”, with copy 2 due on 14/02/2019, and copy 1 is overdue since 07/02/2019 (if you are reading this, please check whether this book is on your desk!). The system also tells you that there are no requests on any of these copies – which could be useful.

Hopefully, the above will help with interpreting the complexities when searching for holdings in our libraries – having several libraries and sometimes multiple copies in Cambridge does not make this easier. Please always ask us! Either in person or via phone or email. We’d rather double check that a book isn’t there than you missing out on borrowing a copy of a book from us. In this sense: “Tally-ho!”

CG

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