Withdrawal Policies and Procedures for Missing and Unreturned Library Materials (Item Not in Hand)

To: Technical Services Staff
From: Joan Swanekamp
Date: (12/7/1994 creation date/ July 2, 2007 3:13 PM revision date)

Orbis, the Library's online public access catalog, is the catalog of record for all cataloged materials. Since 2001, the Library has ceased all efforts to maintain accurate information in public card catalogs. If an item is billed and unreturned or missing,* the Orbis public view will continue to reflect that the Library once owned the title.

This means that if an item is represented in Orbis, its location and call number will be correct. If a title is billed and unreturned or missing, and it is the last or only copy of the title, Orbis will indicate that the item is no longer available. Catalog cards will no longer be removed from the public card catalogs.

*Though Voyager uses the word "lost" instead of the word "billed," YUL has traditionally drawn the distinction between "unreturned and billed" and "missing." Books are lost by readers and become unreturned and billed. "Lost" is not a term used interchangeably for "missing" or "billed."

Basic Catalog Maintenance Workflow

Terminology. If an item is missing for a period defined by the Circulation Unit, the item is then considered permanently missing, and the workflow for withdrawing the item begins. Also, if a patron is billed for the loss of an item, the same withdrawal processing workflow is used.

  1. Workflow is initiated following a requisite period of time
    • after the item has been missing, or
    • after the patron has been billed for the loss of the item.
  2. A report is run off the circulating reporting website by the library's Circulation Unit or its equivalent, e.g., SML Circulation, Kline Technical Services, Arts Library Technical Services, etc.
  3. Using the report, Circulation Unit staff perform the withdrawal procedures in Orbis.
  4. Circulation Unit staff refer "last copy gone" situations to the Catalog Management Team.

NOTE: If 4. applies, Catalog Management staff cancel holdings in OCLC and RLIN. Catalog maintenance work is independent of any replacement decision workflow.

Circulation Unit Responsibilities

The Circulation Unit initiating the update for the unreturned and billed or missing item is responsible for updating the patron record, the acquisitions record (if necessary), the item record, and the MFHD, and for notifying the Catalog Management Team (SML) if the missing (or unreturned & billed) item is the last copy held by Yale. For larger technical services units, the responsibility for updating the acquisition record (if a multipart or serial is considered missing or unreturned & billed) may simply entail notification of the designated liaison in the acquisitions unit.

For detailed SML Circulation procedures refer to:

Item Record Withdrawal: Policies & Procedures

Note that if the bibliographic record has not been upgraded to cataloging standard (i.e., the record is a circulation or in-process record), or if there is no record at all in Orbis, Catalog Management must be notified even if the lost item is not the last copy. In that case, Catalog Management will create or upgrade the record, but the Circulation Unit will then be responsible for updating the item and MFHD records.

Updating Orbis


For a single part item being withdrawn, or for a multipart resource where all volumes are being withdrawn:

1. Change the location after the $b to withdrawn and insert $k Suppressed between $b and $h. The location $b withdrawn automatically suppresses the MFHD; the box for Suppress from OPAC under the MFHD System Tab does not need to be enabled. NOTE: in order for the Suppressed text to display in the Circulation module, some text must be retained in $h. Do not delete the original call number or the original text message (e.g. $h Shelved by title), even though the value in $h does not logically apply.

2. Following the call number, add the staff note: $x <location>: Missing 2+ years, withdrawn <mm/yy>, <processing unit>/<initials>.* The date should reflect the date of the MFHD update. Optionally, the reason for the withdrawal can be omitted if the reason is recorded in the Item Note field of the Item Record (Access Services practice). If an item record is not created for the withdrawn item, the reason for withdrawal must be recorded in 852 $x. Recording withdrawn <mm/yy>, <processing unit>/<initials> in $x is required in all cases.

*Assumption is that billed items will always have an item record and notes for billed items will be recorded in the item record (See Section II. H. of Item Record Withdrawal: Policies & Procedures for instructions on how to record notes in the item record for billed items.)

Example 1. (Standard procedure):


852 0 0 ‡b chem ‡h QC171 ‡i H75 1953

After editing:

852 0 0 ‡b withdrawn ‡k Suppressed ‡h QC171 ‡i H75 1953 ‡x chem: Missing 2+ years, withdrawn 09/04, sci/bs

Example 2. Optional procedure. Access Services leaves out the withdrawal explanation in $x because "Missing 2+ years, withdrawn 09/04" has been recorded in the Item Note field of the item record.


852 0 0 ‡b ccl ‡h B4249.L384 ‡i A7713 1971 (LC)

After editing:

852 0 0 ‡b withdrawn ‡k Suppressed ‡h B4249.L384 ‡i A7713 1971 (LC) ‡x ccl: withdrawn 09/04, accserv/sm

With the exception of missing & withdrawn notes [see $x example above], most circulation specific notes should now be entered in the item record according to the policies and procedures documented in the separate Circulation document. Technical services staff authorized to update both MFHD and item records may transfer legacy circulation notes in the MFHD to the item record. Cataloging staff who work primarily with the MFHD should leave legacy Circulation notes found in the MFHD as is and create a separate $x note to indicate the withdrawn status.

MFHD: Multipart/Serial

CAUTION: Do not apply the following procedures when volumes turn up missing when transferring a set from one location to another. If there is an item record for the missing volume, set the status to Missing. If an item record is lacking, create one and set the status to Missing. Do not record any notes in the MFHD 852.

For a multipart or continuing resource (serial) where only some volumes are being withdrawn,

1. Create a separate MFHD with location $b withdrawn and $k Suppressed. It is not necessary to enable Suppress on the MFHD System Tab. Since the $b withdrawn MFHD will function potentially as a "parking lot" for item records for multiple copies (i.e., volumes from multiple locations), do not enter a "real" call number in subfields $h and $i, since different locations may have different call numbers.

However, in order to display the $k Suppressed subfield in the Circulation module, enter $h withdrawn (without $i) in place of a call number in the "parking lot" MFHD's 852 field. Note that the text withdrawn will appear in both subfield $b and subfield $h in this situation only.

Since the "parking lot" MFHD will be used for item records for multiple copies, be sure to verify that the "parking lot" MFHD has not already been created.

If the missing or unreturned & billed volume did not have an item record, do not create a "parking lot" MFHD; perform only step 3.

2. Relink the item records for the withdrawn volumes to the "parking lot" MFHD. Do not create volume holdings on the "parking lot" MFHD for the missing volumes. (Separating the item records for the missing volumes from the original MFHD is a workaround for problems with the Voyager OPAC display.)

3. In the staff note of the original MFHD, indicate which volumes have been withdrawn and the reason why (the reason may be recorded in the Item Note field if an item record already exists); delete the withdrawn volumes from the 866 volume holdings. Use a separate $x field for each withdrawal date.

4. If volumes are withdrawn from another copy (i.e., volume holdings of another MFHD) associated with the same Orbis bib record, relink the item records for the withdrawn volumes to the "parking lot" MFHD and add a staff note about the missing (or billed & unreturned) volumes to the MFHD for the 2nd copy.


Chemistry MFHD 852 updated with $x staff note to indicate volumes withdrawn.

852 8 1 ‡b chem ‡h Shelved alphabetically by title ‡x chem: v.3(1970)-v.6(1976) missing 2+ years, withdrawn 09/04, sci/cz
866 4 1 ‡8 0 ‡a v.7(1977)-v.21(1990),
866 4 1 ‡8 0 ‡a v.23(1991)-v.49(2003)

Kline MFHD 852 updated with two $x staff notes to indicate volumes withdrawn on different dates.

852 0 1 ‡b ksl ‡h QD1 ‡b .C444+ ‡m Oversize ‡x ksl: v.6(1976) missing 2+years, withdrawn 09/05, sci/cz ‡x ksl: v.47(2001) billed 2+ years, withdrawn 10/06, sci/bs
866 4 1 ‡8 0 ‡a v.7(1977)-v.46(2000),
866 4 1 ‡8 0 ‡a v.48(2002)-v.49(2003)

Item records for withdrawn chem volumes 3-6 and ksl volume 6 and 47 are relinked to the following MFHD:

852 8 0 ‡b withdrawn ‡k Suppressed ‡h withdrawn

Schematic listing of ENUM/CHRON data from the item records relinked to the MFHD above:

ENUM v.3 CHRON 1973 [relinked from chem]
ENUM v.4 CHRON 1974 [relinked from chem]
ENUM v.5 CHRON 1975 [relinked from chem]
ENUM v.6 CHRON 1976 [relinked from chem]
ENUM v.6 CHRON 1976 [relinked from ksl]
ENUM v.47 CHRON 2001 [relinked from ksl]

EXAMPLE. Item Record for Chem v.3(1973). Note that the original location is retained in the Perm Loc. field of the item record after the re-link and should be left as is.

MFHD volume holdings (866/867/868). If all volumes are being withdrawn, leave the volume holdings intact. If some volumes are being withdrawn, update the volume holdings to reflect current holdings. When editing volume holdings, the expectation is that the YUL standards for textual recording of volume holdings (based on ANSI/NISO Z39.71-1999) will be maintained. If there are questions about editing volume holdings, consult with Catalog Management staff. See RELATED DOCUMENTS for the YUL guidelines for recording serial and multipart volume holdings.

Item Record(s). Refer to Item Record Withdrawal: Policies & Procedures.

When withdrawing an item that does not have an item record, it is only necessary to create an item record without a barcode if there is a need to place a hold on the item (e.g. patron request) or to make an Item Note that cannot or will not go in a $x Staff Note in the MFHD. For routine withdrawals of items without item records, such as sets, new item records are not required and do not need to be created.  Please consult the Circulation Document for further information.

Bibliographic Record. DO NOT suppress the bibliographic record from public display. If there are no remaining active copies attached to the record, a message will automatically be generated in the OPAC that directs the catalog user to a "help" page. If all volumes are withdrawn for this particular copy and it was the last remaining active copy, make a printout of the bibliographic record and send it to the Catalog Management Librarian requesting that the record be deleted from RLIN and OCLC. Annotate the printout with the phrase "Delete from the utilities (withdrawn item)." Alternatively, you may use e-mail notification instead of sending a printout.

When to Notify Catalog Management Team (SML)

Send a printout of the Orbis MFHD record to the Catalog Management Team (SML) only if the bibliographic record needs to be updated to cataloging standard, or in the rare cases where either circulation staff or the recon projects failed to create a record at all, or if the withdrawn copy represents the last copy held at Yale, with an appropriate explanation. (See 3.2 following)

Catalog Management Team (SML) Responsibilities

The Catalog Management Team (SML) is responsible for ensuring that all copies of the withdrawn item are represented by an appropriate record in Orbis and updating OCLC and RLIN as necessary.

a. Updating Orbis

Perform retrospective conversion as necessary to ensure that all copies of the withdrawn item (including the withdrawn item), are represented by permanent catalog records in Orbis. The withdrawing unit is responsible for indicating withdrawn status according to the procedures described in 3.1.

b. Updating OCLC and RLIN

If the withdrawn copy represents the last copy of the title held at Yale, update OCLC and RLIN to delete holdings.


Withdrawal Policies and Procedures for Library Materials (Item in Hand)

Policies for Suppression, Deletion, and Re-Use of Orbis Records

Item Record Withdrawal: Policies & Procedures

Standards for Recording Serial Holdings in MFHD

Standards for Recording Serial Holdings in MFHD: Supplement

Multipart Monograph MFHD Guidelines


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Copyright © 2007 Yale University Library
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Original version: Joan Swanekamp, Feb. 6 2001; rev. April 10, 2001. Eric Friede, Xinkai Kong, rev. June 27, 2002, S. Arakawa for CPDC, Feb. 2005
Contact: steven.arakawa@yale.edu
Last updated: July 2, 2007 3:13 PM