MMG Meeting

January 29th, 2002


Plus (+) in LC call number sort problem (Joan, Sue, Audrey)



The Voyager LC Call number index sorts the + used in our call numbers to designate oversize differently from the way NOTIS sorts these call numbers.  This difference will create problems for both staff and readers. We have several ways to resolve this problem, none of which are ideal.  The MMG needs to determine which option is the best.
Problem description:
Yale oversize call numbers are not sorting properly in the Voyager LC index. Yale oversize materials contain a '+' sign before the call number cutter to indicate shelf location. In the NOTIS LC index, call numbers like PJ2 A6 and PJ2 +A6 sort together. In Voyager, however, all the '+' cutter numbers sort A-Z first, followed by all the non-'+' cutters.

Problem example (modified to fit email display):

PR109 +B548 1986B     Divine landscapes / Ronald Blythe ...
PR109 +B735 1984 (LC) Literary Britain / photographed ...
PR109 +B75            Mapbook of English literature, by ...
PR109 +F5             Literary gazetteer of England ...
PR109 +G66            Atlas of English literature, by ...  
PR109 +O83 1981       Oxford illustrated literary guide ...
PR109 +O83 1992       Oxford illustrated literary guide ...
PR109 A47             To be in England [by] Richard D....
PR109 B53
PR109 B75 (LC)        Mapbook of English literature, by ...
PR109 C6 1985         Literary guide and companion to ...
PR109 D34             Literary landscapes of the British ...
PR109 F67 1998        Literary guide to London / Ed Glinert.

Why is this sort happening:
Endeavor developed LC call number sorting routines that follow the standard LC structure. The "+" in a call number is not standard LC and therefore not supported by the Voyager sorting routines.

NOTIS does not follow the standard LC structure.  NOTIS normalizes call numbers by stripping out some characters, e.g., + ( ). As a result in NOTIS the call number PR109 A47 1980 and PR109 +A47 1980 (LC) sort as though they were the same. A disadvantage to this normalization is that the special characters do not display in the index, e.g., PR109 +A47 1980 (LC) displays as PR109 A47 1980 LC.

Impact of current Voyager sort:
For Staff: Shelflisting within Technical Services would be very difficult.  Each call number would have to be searched twice -- once with the + and again without it. 

For Readers: About half of our libraries shelve oversize materials in separate oversize locations.  The other half interfile oversize.  The current Voyager sort might be beneficial within those libraries that shelve oversize separately in terms of locating the material in the stacks.  It makes "virtual browsing" impossible. Note that call number searching in our current NOTIS system is rarely used by the public.  Each month only a few thousand call number searches are executed against the online catalog. We do not know whether call number searching will increase in WebVoyage.
The price tag for developing a custom LC index that would ignore the + for sorting but not display  is $50,000-$75,000.  It would not be ready before July 2002.

Endeavor suggested the following options for moving the +.  Keep in mind that the + is printed on the spine label so readers are accustomed to seeing this notation.
1. Move the plus sign to the end of the call number e.g.,
   PR109 B548 1986B+
   PR109 B735 1984 (LC)+

2. Move the plus sign to a prefix (subfield k)
   + PR109 B548 1986B
   + PR109 B735 1984 (LC)
3. Move the plus sign to a suffix (subfield m). The difference between this option and number 1 is that a space would be introduced between the end of the call number and the +. Additionally, as a suffix, the + would be ignored by the sort routines. 
   PR109 B548 1986B +
   PR109 B735 1984 (LC) +

4. Add the plus sign to the location code, and Yale can create new locations.  Yale would need to almost double its current location list, i.e., it would increase from 485 to 970. The more location codes defined within the Voyager the more difficult the modules are to manage through system administration.

The cost of these solutions is approximately $1500. 

Additional comments:
Joan Swanekamp, Sue Crockford-Peters, Audrey Novak and Kalee Sprague met to discuss our options.  Joan and Sue will comment about the problems caused by this sort and about the various solutions available to us.



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