UCB Libraries


Libraries Policies: Cataloging Policies
      Terminology Relating to Locations

A variety of terms have been used to indicate location and custody of materials. Some of these terms have become outdated or ambiguous, and some have been used interchangeably. Some refer to administrative units, some to physical location, some to data. In order to reduce confusion and promote comprehension, the following terminology has been agreed upon for use in the Libraries.

  1. Branch
    A physical unit of the University Libraries that is separated from the main Libraries building. As of 12/1/94, the branches are Business, Earth Sciences, Engineering, Math/Physics, and Music. The term "branch" refers to the physical separation of the unit. It does not refer to administrative status. All branches are coterminous with departments.

  2. Custodial Unit
    The administrative unit of the Libraries that houses or has custody over a collection of materials that is designated by a Location. Most commonly, a custodial unit is a department, but there are exceptions. For instance, the Periodicals Room and Technical Services are custodial units. The fact that a unit has been identified as a custodial unit does not mean that the materials over which it has custody will be available to the public (e.g. Technical Services).

  3. Department
    The second-order administrative unit of the Libraries (The first-order unit is the Division). The term "department" refers to the administrative status of the unit, not its physical housing. (cf. Branch)

  4. Library
    The term "library" is used in the name of most Libraries departments that are also public service points and custodial units. (e.g. Science Library, Engineering Library, BUT, Special Collections Department). The use of the term "library" is only a naming convention. It carries no other significance.

  5. Location
    The first piece of locational information about an item* that is displayed in the catalog. Each Location has a corresponding OCLC code to be used in the 049 field. Creation and modification of Location information is security-protected, and can only be accomplished by the unit responsible for the processing of materials for that Location. Although most commonly the Location of an item indicates the area in which it is housed, there are exceptions, and when the two are not the same, custody takes precedence over physical location (e.g., materials in remote storage have a Location that indicates the custodial unit, and a Sublocation that indicates their physical housing). Most departments that are custodial units are coterminous with a location. (e.g. Art/Arch, Archives, Reference), but there are exceptions. (e.g. Periodicals Room), and some Locations are larger than a single department (e.g. Norlin, Technical Services).

  6. Norlin
    The building in which all units of the Libraries, except for the five branches, are housed. "Norlin" is also used as a location to indicate all those materials housed in the main building that are not assigned to a discrete custodial unit.

  7. Owning Unit
    The unit of the Libraries to which an item belongs. The owning unit corresponds to Location. The concept of Owning Unit as Location (as opposed to physical location) is critical to catalog retrieval of materials in remote storage.

  8. Sublocation
    The secondary piece of locational information about an item displayed in the catalog. Sublocation information has a lesser degree of security protection than Location, and may be added or altered by staff in the custodial unit. The Sublocation designates a shelving area. For instance "RF" designates the reference area of a custodial unit, and "NB" indicates Norbas, the remote shelving area in the basement of the Norlin building. Although the sublocation can be changed at will by the custodial unit, for consistency's sake, terms and codes needed by more than one custodial unit should be the same.

* Throughout this document, the term "item" is used to mean a single physical piece of library materials, or a group of physical pieces treated as a single unit for the purposes of inventory. An item can be a book, a serial issue, a serial volume, a videotape, a kit, a boxed set of audiocassettes, a portfolio of plates, a microfilm reel, a microfiche set, a single manuscript leaf, etc.


Additional filing terms: Location, Sublocation, Branch