StaffGuide: Serials Receiving & Processing

Serials Receiving & Processing StaffGuide Home Page

Creating Check In Record Notes:

This section contains procedures for check in record notes, with explanations and examples of types of notes and note fields.

Note Order

Notes in the check-in record are difficult to prioritize.  The following are some guidelines for ordering notes:

*  TOP NOTES are temporary, timely, and MUST BE SEEN & REVIEWED prior to check-in.
***  PENDING 'ANYTHING' (frequency, vendor, title changes, pending drop, etc.).

+++++Notes from Order Record (entered by the Serials Acquisitions Manager, do not delete)

Check-in notes are NUMBERED.

  • They are kept in order of priority:

       *****EXTRAPOLATE:  [Usually followed by a brief pub schedule]

  1. PUB SCHEDULE (retain up to 3 years if complex)
  2.  Other secondary info: ...Watch for Vol Changes, STAPLE, PAPER CLIP, etc.​
  •  Re-prioritizing may be necessary when/if notes change.

The following set of notes is not NUMBERED:

  • Claiming instructions and vendor contact information: email, fax, phone, etc. Any information necessary for claiming.
  • URL
  • Claim notes (CLMSLIP, CLM/RPT, WEB/CLM, etc.) are next in priority, along with REPL notes.  These are kept in descending order of volume:issue, then in descending order by date (within the volume:issue).  These notes have no leading indicators but do have a particular style:
  • REPL ORD/RECD (date/initials) text begins... 
  • CLM/RPT (date/initials) text begins... 
  • CLMSLIP (date/initials) text begins... 

Others notes that are not numbered (some of which may be claim notes and others FYI messages) include:


5 dash notes will be entered below the parameters and current claim notes, and above the vendor and binding notes. The five dashes in front of the note indicate that the note is permanent, has important information, and not to be deleted by staff unless you are 100% sure it has become obsolete. If unsure about whether or not to delete a 5-dash note, ask your supervisor.

  • -----REPL...see repl corr (01/01/01mmm)
  • -----clm/rpt xx/xx/xx: v.27 NA or NP or UNAVAILABLE, do not pursue, bind incomplete, etc.


The CHECKIN MESSAGE BOX field should be used for:

  • GIVE 1st ISSUE TO...
  • or anything pending that is imminent
  • PENDING 'ANYTHING' (freq, vend, title changes, drop pending, etc.)


Binding Notes

We do not edit binding notes. For serials purposes, they simply alert us to information regarding the title. There is one exception to this, which will be explained below.

Binding notes inform us about the binding procedure(s) for publications. Binding notes often come in two forms: a Bind INFO note and a BIND TITLE note. BIND INFO notes are notes created by binding to aid them when they go to bind a title. They may point out errata, changes in volume/years, bind color, and other pertinent binding information.

BIND TITLE notes provide the title under which the material will be bound. For receiving purposes, this note is important because it indicates that a title is bound and, therefore, not limited retention. 

Binding Notes 1

Some titles are only held for a short period of time before being discarded. These are known as limited retention items. Binding notes for these titles will be in the BIND INFO note, and state how long we will hold a publication before discard and provide a record of the discard process.

Check-In Record Binding Notes

Because they are only held for specific, often short, lengths of time, limited retention items have some special rules:

  • Claims for limited retention items will only be made if the damage is severe. 
  • For minor tears, use scotch tape to repair the torn page(s).
  • Serials staff will regularly create and update BIND INFO notes pertaining to discarded issues of limited retention titles and supplements. This is one of the rare situations in which Serials staff will edit binding notes. See the Limited Retention Titles section of this StaffGuide for more information on this procedure.

Also, some titles are not bound and not limited retention, but are placed in a box for preservation reasons. Boxed titles can be identified by looking in the binding info for notes about box height, when they are boxed, saying that they're boxed, etc.

For instance:

Box note

Box info

Boxed titles also have some special rules. For example, we don't collect duplicates of boxed titles for binding and we don't process errata for them.

Finally, if errata or corrections have been noted, this may be reflected in the BIND INFO notes as well.

Bind Note for Errata

Check-In Procedures

Most Check-in record notes contain check-in procedures. It is important to read ALL the notes and procedures before checking in an item. Here is an example of a check-in procedures note that contains several steps. 

Check-in record notes

Claiming Notes

Claim notes have an approved set of abbreviations that can be used when writing claim check-in record notes. 

For a full list of commonly-used abbreviations and what types of situations they apply to, check out the Claim Abbreviations and Claim Notes page on the Access & Claiming StaffGuide.

Contact Notes

Contact information notes generally have low priority and thus appear further down in the check-in record note sequence. When adding contact notes, write: CONTACT: followed by the appropriate contact information and (D/I). Notice the formatting for each example. 


Contact with Name and Email

Contact Name and Email

Contact with Name and Phone 

Contact with name and phone

Contact Phone 

Contact with phone

There may occasionally be other forms of contact mentioned, such as a contact form on a website.

Drop Notes

Drop notes in check-in record:


Format for a pending drop note:

PENDING DROP [if dropping 2nd copy add word "DUPLICATE"]: "reason" w/ ; [add claims resolved note if claims agent resolved claims]; when last issue recd, send drop notification via Trello; [IF NEEDED: ADD "ESER REVIEW / DECISION ON URL"]; COUNT as 1 [cancel or drop] [PERIODICAL or CONTINUATION] [print,cd-rom, or dvd-rom] [paid or gift] [if dropping 2nd copy add word "DUPLICATE"] primary (d/i)

Examples of pending drop notes:

PENDING DROP: Cancel subscription w/ ; when last issue recd, send drop notification via Trello; COUNT as 1 cancel PERIODICAL print paid primary  (d/i)

PENDING DROP: Cancel print w/ ; when last issue recd, send drop notification via Trello; ESER REVIEW; COUNT as 1 drop CONTINUATION print gift primary (d/i)

PENDING DROP DUPLICATE: Cancel microfiche subscription w/; when last issue recd, send drop notification via Trello; COUNT as 1 cancel PERIODICAL microfiche paid primary (d/i)

PENDING DROP: Print ceased w/ ; going online only; when last issue recd, send drop notification via Trello; ESER REVIEW; COUNT as 1 drop PERIODICAL print paid primary (d/i)

PENDING DROP: Ceased publication w/ ; when last issue recd, send drop notification via Trello; RETAIN URL; COUNT as 1 drop CONTINUATION print gift primary (d/i)

Sending Drop Notifications:


For the last issue that we are scheduled to receive for a dropped title, you will check in the issue in normally, then report receipt of the issue via the "pSerials: drop notifications" Trello board. In the board, create a card under "drop notifications for cancellations." As the card title, put the bib number and journal title, then click the green add button. Copy and paste the "PENDING DROP..." note from the check-in record summary into the card as a comment and click "send." 

If you receive an issue to a title that has already been dropped, follow the procedure for dropped titles (found under "Receiving--Additional Processing" > "No Record, Internet Only, & Dropped/Canceled Titles" > "General Dropped/Canceled Title Procedures").

In check in CARD:


  • Add blank box after last issue to be received w/ box note=     [reason for drop] & date/initials   [i.e. "Cancel subscription (d/i)]
  • Make an expected box after the blank box w/ expected date= 12/22/2030;  suppress from public view.



1st top note in the check in record: "DROP COMPLETED: delete pending barcoding/binding. (d/i)

2nd top note in the check in record:DROP BACK FROM CAT: drop paperwork sent to JC. COPIES sent to BIND / PER. (d/i)

Another example of a 2nd top note in the check in record: DROP BACK FROM CAT: drop paperwork sent to JC. COPY sent to BIND / ARKCO. (d/i)

Extrapolation Notes

Extrapolated record notes alert you that the check-in card has been created using extrapolation. They follow a general format. 

  • Because they are high priority, they appear above everything except TOP NOTES which are temporary, timely, and must be seen and reviewed prior to check-in. Major types of TOP NOTES are PENDING notes and instructions to pass the issue along to the Serials Processing Specialist or other personnel. 
  • Because of their status, extrapolation notes receive five asterisks, followed by EXTRAPOLATION: (then a brief pub schedule or other important info you should know when creating new boxes; for example, to setup index or sup boxes). 
    • *****EXTRAPOLATE: Brief pub Schedule/info, issue from which the schedule is obtained, and (D/I).      
  • Many extrapolation notes will also be followed by cues to watch expected dates (for example, if a journal is published monthly but with a combined issue during the summer), or, if the pub schedule is very complex, instructions not to update expected dates. See examples below.

The following is a list of common extrapolation notes. 

Extrapolation note for Winter is New Year:

In Sierra, quarterly publications that begin the year with the winter issue must be extrapolated. Hence this common note:

 Extrapolation note Winter

Extrapolation note for 9 or 10 month per year publications: 

10 Month Publication

Extrapolation note for academic year publication:

Extrapolted Note Academic Pub Schedule

Another type of extrapolation note for academic year publication:

Extrapolate Note Academic Publication


**NOTE: Keep in mind, only update expected dates as far as needed!

Flag Instructions

Because of their importance, notes to flag specific issues (flag notes) should be asterisked and placed at the top of, or near the top of the check-in record note groups. 

Flag Note 1

Flags are most often used to alert other departments that specific titles are on limited retention and that our holdings only retain a certain number of back issues (hence the retains current 6 months only note in the example). 

Many times, flags will alert you to flag the first issue of a new year, or a new volume. 

Flag note 2

When you encounter a check-in record flag note, be sure to examine the issue to see if it should be flagged, and if so, complete the checking in of a flagged item procedure. **It is a good idea to also look back through the card to make sure the issue (or nearby issue) that was supposed to be flagged was flagged.

Note: For some publications, Sierra has been configured to print a flag label regardless of whether or not that specific issue needs a flag. So, beware, just because a flag label prints, does not mean you should flag the item. Look for flag notes in the check-in record and check-in boxes before flagging. (For this reason we have, for several publications, deleted the flag from the routing module and will just hand-write the flag in the future.)

Identity Fields

Identity Fields in Check-In Records

In new check-in records, a serial’s identity information should be separated into two different fields – (1) the current number or date range should go in the marc (843) field, and (2) the format, frequency or supplement/subtitle information should go in the non-marc field. Further, the marc field should appear before the non-marc field.

Why separate and arrange the identity information this way? Because it makes the information clearer for patrons and vendors. By placing the marc field first, we give patrons the information they want in the order they want it in the library catalog. And by dividing the information between the two fields, we give vendors the information they want without confusion, because the non-marc field is the only identity field that prints on a claim slip. (If the number or date range is erroneously placed in the non-marc field, it will print on the claim slip and may confuse the vendor as to which issues are being claimed.)

This division of information is especially important when a publication has several different identities. Newspapers, for example, may be published in Print or Microfiche; many reference works, such as Standard & Poor’s Industry Surveys, are published in Weekly and Quarterly editions; and many major titles offer supplements or subtitles that check in separately – Clavier’s publishes two such titles, Keys and Piano Explorer.

Identity Field Note

The identity field is, of course, also helpful to the Print Serials check-in specialist in determining the correct record to use to check an item in, which is especially important for newspapers. Note that the identity can also be found in the check-in record notes. Here is an example of how it appears in the check-in record, this example being from the Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette:

Check-in record identity field

Internal Notes

Internal Notes appear relatively infrequently and relay information about a publication (particularly, subscription information). However, they do commonly appear in titles for which we receive multiple copies of each issue to check in for multiple locations (a copy for per, a copy for arkco, a copy for binding, or some such combination). A brief internal note will appear saying "need 3 (or however many) copies" as a reminder. These notes appear below the ~~PARAMETERS note. 

Internal Note

Item Record Creation Notes

For some serials, item records are created when the item is checked in. The check-in records for these titles should have notes that provide details on how to create the item record, appearing as high priority notes (in the 1 position)While the item record creation prompts should come up immediately after the item is checked-in, you may have questions on how to answer the prompts. This is where Item Record creation notes prove helpful.**It is a good idea to copy and paste these notes onto a word doc before clicking the check-in button, so you can see the notes while creating the item record.

The notes follow the format: which tally sheet to use/Itype number/Status/barcode or not barcode; other details (D/I). 


Item Record Creation Note 1

A breakdown of the notes:

  • Statistics Tally Sheet
    • Count = a reminder to use the counted only by serials (volumes added) tally sheet. This is typically the case for items that have an item record.
  • Item = (Itype number) 
  • Status = status of item (most often - [hyphen, meaning Available] or o [meaning noncirculating]) 
  • Barcode or Do not barcode
  • Other information: This is used as catch-all to provide information about any fields that may need to be filled out. Most often you will instructions like Example 1, where an ICODE2 D (for decided) needs to be added. Decided means that at some point, someone made the decision to process the serial in a particular way. 

Limited Retention Notes

Titles that are not kept permanently are known as limited retention titles. Below are the Approved Limited Retention Notes for Print Resources. (These notes will often be found within a Flag note). 

Limited Retention Note

Approved Limited Retention Notes for Print Resources

Current issues in PERIODICALS ROOM. (or another location)

Current issues retained until microfilm (or microfiche) received.

Current issues retained until microfilmed.

Current issues retained until microfilmed, see A 630.5 F22.

            (or other call number)

Retains current 2 month only

Retains current 3 month only

Retains current 6 month only

Retains latest (or current) year only

Retains latest (or current) 2 years only

Retains latest (or current) 5 years only

Retains latest edition only

Retains latest 2 editions only

Latest edition in REFERENCE (or other location)

Latest 2 editions in REFERENCE (or other location)

 NOTE: Use the word "current" for titles published more frequently than annually.  Use the word "latest" for titles published annually or less frequently.

**Please refer to the Serials page of the Cataloging and Acquisitions StaffGuide for approved limited retention notes.

Message Notes

Message Notes are timely and important notes that will create a message box as soon as a user opens a specific check-in record. They are most often used to alert the check-in worker to specific issues with the journal to pay close attention to, such as not updating expected dates or routing the issue directly to a specific staff member rather than putting it through the routing system. Check-in record messages should be used sparingly, and only in cases when it is necessary to alert a user to important check-in information.


Message box created with check-in record note: 

Check-in Record Message Box

Message notes can be created by right clicking on any check-in record note (ctrl-I), highlighting insert field, and then inserting a message note field (m). 

When a message note is inserted into the check-in record notes, it will appear at the bottom of the check-in record note group. 

Check-In record Message Note


Parameters note: 

Parameter Note format

  • Parameters notes alert you to the frequency of a publication plus the number of days Serials waits before claiming a late issue.  The note is formatted: ~~PARAMETERS: frequency / days before claiming (D/I).
  • Parameters notes appear directly below URL notes and above any claiming notes. 
  • For popular titles, the note may read: ~~PARAMETERS: 30 / 15 [POPULAR TITLE] (11/14/05rg), with POPULAR TITLE appearing in brackets before the (date/initials).

Oftentimes, you can find claiming restrictions following parameters. This is information is usually obtained from EBSCONET or FOKUS in their title information pages, restrictions specified on a publisher's website, or some other form of communication from the publisher. These notes give you helpful information for claiming purposes, such deadlines (i.e. must claim within 3 months after publication), limitations on the number of issues that can be claimed per year, or what information is needed when submitting a claim. More information on claiming restrictions can be found in the Vendor Claims page of the Access and Claiming StaffGuide.

Publication Schedules

Publication schedule notes alert you to the frequency of publication. Some publication schedules are complex and change often, so we attempt to keep record notes regarding those changes. Publication schedule notes alert us to possible frequency changes and guide us in how to create a check in card or add boxes for the following year(s). Early in the year, pay close attention to the publication schedules often found in fine print near the back or front of an issue. For journals that always follow a simple/predictable schedule, i.e. monthly, weekly, bimonthly, etc., there is no need to create pub schedule notes. For journals that have more complex schedules, i.e. mostly monthly with one or more combined months, it is best to note that in the check-in record. For most of these journals, only the current year is needed, but with some, it is best to keep the pub schedule history for two or more years if it contains info that might be useful in the future; for instance, if the publisher has stated that the publication schedule might change at some point in the future.

Publication schedule notes follow a specific format. They appear as high priority note (usually 1 or 2). They begin with the prompt: PUB SCH (year): the schedule per (the date and issue number you are pulling the information from) and (D/I). 

Publication Schedule Note

NOTE: This publication changes frequently. The third PUB SCH note was not obtained from an issue, but from the vendor, Harrassowitz. 

NOTE: Give journals and forward any e-mails, publisher correspondence, etc., that indicate new frequencies or pending frequency changes to the Serials Processing Specialist for review. For more information on how to process frequency changes, go here

NOTE:  Frequency changes will be under notes called "FREQ CHG" and not "PUB SCH" notes.

Top Notes (Pending Notes)

Top notes are temporary, timely, and must be seen and reviewed prior to check-in. Because of their important but temporary nature, they do not receive numbering, but appear at the top (highest priority) of check-in record notes and may be offset with asterisks to denote importance. 

Types of top notes include RECLM or PENDING ANYTHING (FRQ, vendor or title changes, as well as drop pendings, new set-ups, etc). 

  • DROP:  Cancel print w/ … ; DROP:  Cancel subscription w/ …
  • DROP:  Print ceased, MAIN archival copy not wanted; counted as 1 cancel PERIODICAL print paid primary; RETAIN URL (08/22/12mmm)

Some examples include: 

Drop Notes:

Drop Note 1

Drop note 2

New Setup:

New Setup

Supplement Notes

Sometimes supplements are known are to accompany certain titles. These titles will include instructions on how to process supplements. These notes come in many forms and you will find several examples and descriptions on the page for supplement check-in procedures

URL Notes

See the URLs page for information on what types of URLs Serials lists in check-in record notes and how to format their notes, as well as information on URL testing and maintenance.

Vendor Notes

Vendor notes provide information about vendors in the check-in record.

Types of Vendor Notes:

VEN. ADDR.(q): Vendor address or other contact information.

VEN. TITLE#(f): The title's number connected to our subscription in the vendor's system (i.e. FOKUS). Sometimes useful for claiming purposes.

VEN. NOTE (v): Any other pertinent information.

Examples of vendor notes:

Vendor Notes

Note that vendor addresses only need to be checked or updated when we need to send a letter to a vendor via physical mail. This most commonly occurs when we are asked to mail back a receipt acknowledgement card for a journal received or when we must send a special letter to a publisher in regards to a claim. The address can be verified on the mailing envelope, inside the issue near the masthead, or on the publisher's website. If you need to update the address, follow the instructions for Processing Address Changes.

Note: If you see UARK Serials Department contact information in a vendor note, delete it. This was for an old procedure that we do not follow anymore, so the contact information is not needed. Sometimes there will also be a corresponding internal note that also needs to be deleted.

Example: VEN. NOTE: Serials Department 479-575-5415

5-Dash Notes


5 dash notes will be entered below the parameters and current claim notes, and above the vendor and binding notes. The five dashes in front of the note indicate that the note is permanent, has important information, and not to be deleted by staff unless you are 100% sure it has become obsolete. If unsure about whether or not to delete a 5-dash note, ask your supervisor.

Examples of situations when we enter 5-dash notes include frequency changes, vendor changes, checking in a damaged copy when a replacement copy is not available, not published issues, out of print issues, and unavailable issues. Below are some examples of what types of info the notes include in these situations:

Frequency changes, vendor changes, etc.:

  • -----FREQ CHG: from 10x/yr to 9x/yr starting in 2019 (11/02/18 anm)
  • -----VENDOR CHG: from 2ebsc to 2harr starting in (2020) (08/01/19 anm)

Damaged issue circulating due to unsuccessful claiming attempts for replacement:

  • -----v.108:2 (Sum. 2018); Claimed multiple times but unable to receive a repl copy. Damaged copy repaired & sent to PER due to unsuccessful claims per Binding (2/14/2019cfs)/(02/14/19 anm)

Enumeration Oddities:

  • -----EML/RPT (10/04/13gds) May 2013, v.111:7, issue was actually May/June issue, v.111:7-8, August was no.9 and continue numbers as such per Mary Len w/HARR per Marilyn
  • -----CLM/RPT (07/31/09atn) v.107 "no.8" was skipped, but pub confirmed that we didn't miss any issues, nothing published in between.; note is in item record (12/15/2016cfs)
  • -----OCLC 515 note: (2018) numbered as no. X (2018) and published in facsimile format. (11/08/18 anm)

Not published, unavailable, out of print, etc.:

  • -----HARR/RPT (10/29/2018cfs) v.55:12-15 (Mr 21-Ap 11, 2018), skipped: Dear Librarian,  We confirm that the material was supplied at the time of publication. We regret that we cannot supply you with a replacement as the material is completely out of print.
  • -----EBSCONET (1/11/2019cfs) v.13:1 (Spr/Sum 2018); EBSCONET/RPT (3/20/2019cfs) Issue(s) Does Not Exist
  • -----EBSCONET (5/31/2018cfs) v.12:2 (Fal/Win 2017) CLM/RPT (7/6/2018cfs) [06/03/2018] Issue(s) Does Not Exist per EBSCONET

Other relevant info (including, but not limited to these types of situations):

  • -----Removed from routing: [library personnel name here] (9/24/2018cfs)
  • -----Sup not incl in subs: ph/call (05/22/14mmm) [supplement title here] is NOT included in our subscription.