StaffGuide: Receiving & Processing

Creating and Editing a Check In Card--Overview


The information in these boxes provide instructions for completing common check-in card edits. If you need more advanced help, consult the Sierra Help Manual found in the Sierra client, or your supervisor.

Tips for Entering Cover Dates

Cover Date Shortcuts

You will notice that cover dates for months and seasons in Sierra follow a 3-letter formula, i.e. Jan=January, Fal=Fall, etc. There are ways of entering these dates without having to type the 3 letters exactly every time.

For months, you can type the corresponding letter of the month and Sierra will automatically switch it to the 3-letter abbreviation. You can also do this for cover dates that contain two months. For example, you can type 4 and it will switch to Apr, or 4/5, which will switch to Apr/May.

For both months and seasons, you can type the letters in lower-case and it will automatically switch the first letter to upper-case. For example, typing spr will yield Spr and typing jul will result in Jul.

Creating a Check In Card

You may need to create a new check-in card. You will need to know many details about the publication, so be prepared to fill out a series of prompts. If you don't know the information for a specific prompt, you can skip it and come back to it later.

Note: In many cases, if a check-in card already exists, it is far easier to copy the check-in record to add the new card. For information on how to copy a record, see the Copy Record box on this page.

To create a new check-in card complete the following procedure.

  • Select Attach New Checkin button in the Summary screen of the record.

Create New Check in Card Button ​​

  • When the select template options appear, choose Checkin default (or Checkin if only given two options).

Create Check-in Card Default Screen

  • Answer a series of prompts. These will include: 
    • Label Type
    • Copies
    • Location
    • Vendor
    • Ven Title
    • Vendor Address
    • Call number (may need to be inserted manually, only for titles that need the call number in the record)
    • Identity
    • Notes
  • After answering the prompts, a create card window will appear in which you set the specifics for the check-in card (this will cover frequency, claiming, indexes, supplements, enumeration, cover dates, etc).

Create Check-in Card Specifics

  • Once the card has been created select Save.

Adding Check In Boxes for Normal Check In Cards

Adding Check In Boxes to a Normal Check-in Card

There are two ways to create issue boxes for a check-in card. You can add issue boxes to the end of a card or insert boxes before a selected issue box.

Adding Issue Boxes at the End of a Card

1. Begin by right clicking on any of the issue boxes. Highlight Box Menu and then Add Issue Boxes at End of Card (alt+insert).

Adding issue boxes at end of card

2. This will bring up the Add Issue Boxes screen. You can add up to 120 boxes per card (after which a new card will need to be created). It is best to add boxes in whole volumes if practical, or in some cases (newspapers or daily publications for example) in whole months. You have several options to set the cover date, expected dates, enumeration, etc. of the first issue, after which the rest of the boxes will follow the pattern set by the frequency, enumeration settings, etc. After you have made your changes, click OK.

Add issue boxes options

3. The newly created issue boxes will automatically be attached to the end of the check-in card. Double check to make sure that the cover dates, expected dates, and volume/issue pattern appear correct. If you need to make changes, you can either update any boxes manually or use the update boxes as a group function (Ctrl+U or Tools>>Box Menu>>Update Boxes as a Group, a screenshot of this function will be seen in the next box).If all appears in order, click save.

Newly added boxes

Insert Issue Boxes Before Selected Issue Box

1. Use this procedure when you want to add issue boxes somewhere in the middle of a card, between two existing boxes. Highlight the box you wish to insert issue box(es) in front of, right click, choose Box Menu and then Insert Issue Boxes Before Selected.

Insert issue boxes before selected

2. From here the Box Menu will appear. Select how many boxes you wish to add and choose the starting cover date, status, etc. Click OK. The issue boxes will be added before the selected issue. Review the newly added boxes to ensure that the information in them is correct. Click save.

Adding Check In Boxes for Extrapolated Cards

Why Extrapolation?

Extrapolating check-in cards will create a copy of a previously established, often irregular or complex frequency pattern and repeat it, creating new boxes that follow that pattern with appropriate expected dates. A more detailed description of how expected dates work with extrapolation and examples of pub schedules that call for extrapolation can be found in the section on Updating Expected Dates.

You may also encounter situations where the card is extrapolated due to an irregular enumeration pattern. For example, some journals will have volume and issue numbers, but the issue number will be continuous rather than resetting to "1" when the volume changes.When the issue numbers are continuous, the parameters can be setup not to reset to 1 when the volume changes. However, this can cause the system to only count the issues it's updating and miss the volume change. Hence, you will sometimes see extrapolation notes warning you to “watch for volume change.” Extrapolating – or at least updating in whole volumes only – is recommended.

How to extrapolate:

  • Begin by reviewing the check-in record notes for any extrapolation instructions.If there are instructions to extrapolate, you will need to use the extrapolation function to add check-in boxes.
  • Highlight the range of boxes you would like to extrapolate. (Typically, this will be a whole volume or year).
  • With the boxes that you wish to extrapolate highlighted, right click, choose Box Menu, then Extrapolate Boxes (Ctrl-O).

                   Extrapolation Function

  • This will open the extrapolate boxes menu. Under number of times, choose 1 (typically, this is best, but if you want to run the extrapolation more than once, i.e. add multiple volumes or years to the card, you can). Set the next cover date, expected date, and enumeration.

                   Extrapolate Boxes Menu

  • After inputting the various pieces of information, click OK. This will run the extrapolation function on your group of selected boxes.
  • Check to make sure that the boxes have extrapolated correctly (with correct cover dates, expected dates, and enumeration). Note that with some publications, especially quarterlies, you will often have to manually change the year or other pieces of information for the extrapolation to be done correctly. In this example, in the Extrapolate Boxes card shown above, you would take out 2020 since Spring only has one year. This will result in the new volume having correct info:

                Extrapolate Function Correct Card

  • Either update the boxes manually or use the update boxes as a group (ctrl+u or Tools>>Box Menu>>Update Boxes as a Group, screenshot below) function to make any necessary changes. ***Note that when you extrapolate boxes, any public or staff notes will be carried over into the next set of boxes. This is another reason why it is important to review the check-in record notes for the types of notes you want to keep in the new boxes, such as flagging instructions or reminders to check for an index. On the flipside, there are notes that pertain to the older boxes that you want to remove, such as dates and initials of check-in personnel for previous issues and any other public or staff notes with information specific to previous issues. The update boxes as a group function can be very useful for removing these obsolete notes.
  • If everything looks correct, save your work.

"Winter Goes with New Year": Why is this Important?

Many quarterly journals have this note:

winter extrapolation note

If you see an extrapolation note alerting you that the Winter issue is published at the beginning of the new year rather than the end of the old year, it is important to add new boxes for a new volume or year via extrapolation rather than using the "add boxes" feature for normal cards. Since Sierra's default settings assume that a Winter issue goes with the old year, if you add them the normal way, the cover dates will be off. Extrapolation allows you to start the new year with the Winter issue, followed by the Spring issue of that same year, then Summer, and so on. Some quarterly journals have Winter with the new year as the first issue of a volume, and some have Winter as the second issue, but with the new year's cover date.Either way, after extrapolating a new volume/year, the card will look similar to the one below. Notice that the cover dates are correct, but there is a problem with the expected date of the Winter issue that will need to be fixed:

incorrect winter expected date

The Fall expected date is correct, but because Sierra is programmed to think that a Winter issue is published at the end of a year, it causes the Winter expected date to jump ahead one year, then go back to normal for Spring and Summer.This can be tricky to catch, but it can be easily fixed using the normal procedure for updating expected dates. Press Ctrl+U and then: 

fixing expected dates after extrapolation

After clicking OK, you now have correct expected dates that follow a chronological seasonal pattern:

correct expected date for new year winter issue

Another scenario that often arises with Winter cover dates is that you'll have Winter as the first issue of the year, with an expected date in January (or February or sometime earlier in that year). After extrapolating cards for these types of journals, the Winter issue's expected date will be correct because it's the first issue you set in the extrapolation options. However, it will push the expected dates for the other seasons back a year. To fix this, follow the same procedure as described above.

Card Display

Check-in cards have three display options: 

  • Box 
  • Line
  • MARC

When checking items in, you will almost always be using box display. Line display is generally used for titles that have been dropped.

To edit the check-in card display options, right click on any check in box and select Card Display then the display option. Alternatively, you can reach these options by selecting Tools, Card Display, then display option.

Card Display

Note: Card Display Mode can also be changed in the Edit Card Menu by selecting Display Mode then Box, Line, or MARC.

Changing Card Status

You can edit the status of a check-in card. Check-in cards can be set to one of four statuses: Filled (for completed cards), Current (for open cards that are currently receiving check-ins), Incomplete (for cards that are no longer active for check-ins, but have missing, unavailable, out-of-print, or any unresolved/problematic issues), and Unused (for unused check-in records). NOTE: The "unused" option has been known to prevent issues from showing up on the claims list, so when creating a new card for future use it is best to set it to "current."

To enter the edit card menu, right click on any check-in box, and select Card Menu then Edit Card (Ctrl-E).

Edit Card Menu

Once in the card menu, you can select the card status.

Check-In Card Status


Copy Record

Copying a Check-In Record 

This procedure is most frequently used when a check-in card reaches the maximum number of boxes possible (120) and a new check-in card needs to be created. Unlike creating a new check-in card from scratch, this procedure will, with a few exceptions, carry over all the information held on an previous check-in record and place it on an new one, saving time and effort. This is essential for newspapers because they arrive daily and a check-in card is needed for every three months, as well as some high-frequency titles and for many ARKCO titles that are not bound, but archived in boxes.

Note that copying records does not automatically carry over messages, routing, ticklers, and tickler logs. Make sure to re-add those things, if still needed, when copying records.

  • Select the Record tab of the check-in card you want to copy. Select Edit >>Copy Record

Copy Check-in Record

  • When the Select Template screen appears, select Checkin default.

  • You should see a screen like this:

newly created check-in record

Click the save button in the upper-right of Sierra. Sierra will then assign a check-in record number to the record, which will start with a c and appear to the left in place of "New CHECKIN." 

Notice that SCODE1 defaults to n SUPPRESS. This means the card is suppressed and currently hidden to the public. It is usually best to leave the card suppressed until it's ready to be used, if you prefer to setup the new card ahead of time. That way, only currently-used check-in records will appear in the public display. This makes it easier for patrons to see the latest issue received and other recent issues we've received.

In the summary, Sierra automatically puts newly-created check-in records at the bottom of the list. For staff purposes, they can be left this way until closer to when they're ready to be used for check-in. That way, check-in staff can navigate to the current card more easily.

In addition to copying most of the information from the previous check-in record to the new one, Sierra will carry over the check-in boxes as well, so in the new card you will need to go into the Card tab and fix the check-in boxes to reflect the new date range.You can either delete the old check-in boxes and add new check-in boxes or edit the old check-in boxes, converting them into new ones using the update boxes as a group function to edit cover dates, enumeration, status, remove any obsolete box notes, etc.

It is common practice to signal the card's end by adding two boxes at the end of a check-in card: one blank box indicating to see next record and another suppressed check-in box with the expect date set to 12/22/2030.

See next record and end of card boxes

  • Save the Card

Review the identity fields of the new card and the previous by going to Summary, then "c Checkin" from the View menu. Sierra automatically places the new check-in record at the bottom, with the current and old ones on top:

copied card example

In this instance the top 2015 Apr— check-in card, when filled, will need to have its holdings closed. The new card at the bottom needs to have the identity changed to reflect the new date range.

The identity field can be found above the check-in record notes in the card's record, appearing like so:

identity field in check-in record

Make any needed changes to the identity field, then save the card.

When it comes time to use the card, you will need to take it out of suppression so that the public version of the card will display in the catalog, informing patrons of the latest issue and other recent issues. Simply remove the "n" code from the SCODE1 field:

code for unsuppressed record

Additionally, the new card needs to be moved into the correct order when it is ready to be used. This can be done in the Summary by selecting Move, then entering position 1 as the target row, then clicking OK. Then, from the edit menu, select "preserve sort." 

After those steps, the check-in card order should look like this. Notice that the newly-created card at the top has the first month and then open dashes to indicate that it's the current one. The second card now has closed holdings, clarifying that it only contains April through June:

Copy Record Identity Fields Corrected

From the View menu, you can select "public display" to verify that the system properly unsuppressed and re-ordered the check-in cards to be visible in the catalog and in chronological order from newest to earliest, something like:

check-in card public display

Finally, if the previous check-in card is full (meaning there are no claims to resolve and all issues have been received), you can change the status of the card from Current to Filled. Right Click anywhere in the Check-in Card, select Card Menu >>Edit Card (Ctrl+E)>>Status>>Filled>>Ok

Copy Record Card Status

Tips for Copying Check-In Records 

  • When it’s time to take a record out of suppression to use it and move it to the top, it is a good idea to copy the check-in record notes from the previous record to a word doc and make sure they are all in the new one. This will help you catch any important notes that had been recently added to the previous card after the new card was initially created. At the same time, feel free to remove any outdated, obsolete notes from the previous record, provided they are not meant to be permanent.
  • Since you will be modifying the information in the boxes of the new check-in card, it is good to make note of the info that you will need to input into the new boxes, which will generally be the pub schedule and the starting cover date, enumeration, expected date, and any staff note instructions needed for particular issues, i.e. flagging instructions, reminders to watch for volume changes, etc.

Editing Frequency and Enumeration

Setting and Editing the Frequency of a Publication: 

  • To set or change the frequency of a publication, begin by entering the Edit Card Menu (right click on any check-in box, select card menu, edit card [Ctrl-E]).
  • Once here, you will have the option to edit the Frequency under Captions and Pattern for Issues.
  • Select which frequency you wish to have and click OK.

         Frequency Change

Note: It is in this menu that you can alter Fall/Autumn when needed.

Note: If you ever need to change the frequency for whatever reason, pay close attention to the days before claim in the lower left-hand section. This value will often change automatically when you set a new frequency. For example, when you change the frequency to Quarterly or Monthly, it causes the days before claim to be set at 45. Since we generally want the days before claim to be 30 for most monthly, bimonthly, and quarterly publications, it is important to remember to check this and change it to the desired value, if needed.

Setting and Editing the Enumeration of a Publication: 

  • To set or change the enumeration of a publication, begin by entering the Edit Card Menu (right click on any check-in box, select card menu, edit card [Ctrl-E]).
  • Once here, you will have the option to edit the Enumeration. Here you can set the number of enumeration levels, the pieces for levels, the captions, modes, as well as add, if needed, alternate enumeration (for staff purposes only, not visible to the public). Possible captions can be found in the chart of enumeration abbreviations.
  • Manipulate the enumeration fields to your desired preferences and then select OK.

         Editing Enumberation


Editing Parameters

Setting Check-in Card Parameters

The parameters of a check-in card are determined by the frequency of the publication plus the days before claiming. To edit the parameters of a card, begin by setting the frequency (see previous box for instructions).

Then you can edit the days before claim. (This sets the second half of the parameters). This will be the number of days after the expected date at which point the issue will come up for claims.

        Days before claim

If you change the parameters of a check-in card, be sure to update the corresponding parameters note in the check-in record. See the appropriate section of the check-in record notes page for information on how these notes are formatted.