[WEB4LIB] Re: "check shelves"

Genny Engel gengel at sonoma.lib.ca.us
Mon Jul 19 02:29:03 EDT 2004

We use "checked in."  It is a statement of fact -- the thing was checked
in.  Whether someone then stole it or is currently reading it at a table
in the library, the fact remains that the last thing we know about it
was it got checked in.

Genny Engel
Internet Librarian
Sonoma County Library
gengel at sonoma.lib.ca.us
707 545-0831 x581
>>> "K.G. Schneider" <kgs at bluehighways.com> 07/18/04 10:52 AM >>>
> The trend of thinking, at least in the three times I've been in
> discussions about an on-stacks status code (present employer
> is that "Available" makes a promise that the patron will find the item
> on the stacks.  "Check Shelves" is a weaker social contract that the
> patron will likely find the item on the shelves, but we can't promise
> it (it may be on in a reshelving area, on a reading table, misshelved,
> etc.).
> (By the way, my current employer uses the phrase "Not Checked Out",
> which is more of a statement of fact rather than a suggestion as to
> availability.)

Yes, it was rather a pop-off to bring this up without explaining that I
have participated in these discussions, of a day, and that the farther I
from working with ILS's the odder some of these discussions and
seem I understand about the weaker social contract, etc.... been there,
that, got the t-shirt.

I just feel that "Check Shelves" is more than a tad wishy-washy and (as
family member said yesterday) very irritating if you're using the
from home, or even quite frankly from inside the library.  I also don't
using an imperative, at least not with users. I have never been an
of "Available," at least with respect to books, but in many situations
I'm using an OPAC, "Check Shelves" might as well be "Touch Your Toes and

"Probably available, give 'er a go" is what we really mean, except in
cases where we mean "Who Knows" or "Not My Problem" or "Dream On." 

I think "Not Checked Out" is truthful, and hedges the bet nicely,
suggesting too much or bossing around the user with meaningless
(since we appear to be agreed that we aren't truly able to say if the
is "available"). 

Karen G. Schneider
kgs at bluehighways.com

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