Bulk item record editing in Polaris ILS

It’s been about a year and a half since my library system switched to the Polaris ILS. In becoming pretty familiar with Polaris’s circulation module, I’ve been kind of wishing for this feature for Christmas: The ability in the circulation module to more quickly change, in bulk, predetermined fields in the item records of items we scan.

Polaris Item Record screenshot of possibly outdated Polaris ILS version.Circulation and reference staff are asked from time to time to change certain fields of certain types of our circulating items, such as the material type and loan period fields for all periodicals, usually due to a change in circulation policy. Right now, staff pull up each item’s item record individually and change the fields. It would be cool if we could tell Polaris to change, say, the “Fine code” and “Renewal limit” fields of all of the books we’ll be scanning next to 0.10 and 2, respectively. Then, we can simply scan that stack of books whose item record fields we need to change, saving a lot of time and ensuring more consistency.

Is this kind of bulk editing possible in any of the other modules? Cataloging, acquisitions?


The disambiguation of the moon

Bananas aren't the only curved yellow fruit.There’s a Facebook group called “Campaign to Rename Our Moon.” The group’s founder wants to change the name because “the moon” is kind of boring. A friend and I talked about the idea and I was arguing in support of it, really only half seriously, but I was trying to stress the importance of applying consistent naming rules, that are scalable, so that it makes sense to more people than only the people we know or could know (and to computers), and in situations we can’t conceive of. (The conversation ended with parallel universes.) Especially in text, the fact that the moon, a specific thing, shares the same word with what we could call everything else like it (other moons) really bugs me. At first I thought, we might not always have the context necessary to distinguish between “the moon” and the moon (of another planet).

It got me thinking about linked data, and the effort to include library catalogs, and how, in an environment in which things are more precisely identifiable because of its relativity to everything else, rather than in spite of it, we might not have to worry about the confusion our moon’s name might cause in a future we can’t see. On the Internet, linked data can provide that context all the time.

Of course, that future might not involve the Internet at all.