Automatic life cycle management

Automatic life cycle management is a function in IMMS that, based on the current stock and the item’s historical loan history, helps to manage the life cycle of a title from when it is purchased to when it is discarded.

As far as assignment goes, items can be distinguished by strategy, so media hotels are used when appropriate. However, this requires each individual title to be assigned to the strategy that best suits the title at the current time.

For ongoing purchases of new titles, it is necessary to remove older items from the shelves on a continual basis. Aside from the use of a media hotel, it is also typically appropriate to weed the overall stock of a title as patrons’ interest in the title wanes.

With hundreds of thousands of titles in circulation, manually ensuring that each individual title’s strategy correctly reflects the title’s actual loan pattern is a near insurmountable task. Similarly, the task of identifying and weeding the stock of titles where the levels of stock far exceed the demand is not a trivial matter - regardless whether the excess copies are located in a media hotel or are distributed among lending branches.

Automatic life cycle management makes these challenges manageable. Based on a set of rules that are set up, the system is able to monitor all of the titles and establish when an individual title reaches a point in its life cycle where there is a need to take action. This could be a change in the strategy of the title or a weeding of the stock. The system can also provide suggestions for replenishing the stock of specific titles - once again, based on the rules that have been set up.


The overall method of operation

The system’s method of operation is illustrated in this figure:

Diagram

The function is built around 3 basic steps (the figure from top to bottom):

These 3 steps are described in the following paragraphs.

Normally this automated function runs once a day and calculates this for all of the system’s titles at the same time. However, there is also a simulation function that can provide on-the-spot insight into the system’s calculations and the decision process for a specific title.


Title statistics

Title statistics consist of one entry per title (Bibliographic record identifier). Each entry contains a number of data items retrieved from the title itself, the items associated with a title, and the historical data for those items.

The title statistics contain data for all titles with at least one current copy that are not excluded from the statistics. The following items are not included in the calculation of title statistics:

The individual components of the title statistics are described in the following subsection.

Current values

A row of values in the title statistics for a title represents data about the title’s current items, summarized in one common set of figures that apply to the entire title.

The various items belonging to a title may have different values for specific item properties, e.g., “item collection”. To arrive at the value that should be included in the title statistics, the number of times each value appears in the items belonging to a title is looked at. The value that appears most often is transferred to the title statistics. However, there must always be an absolute majority of items (min. 51%) with the same value. Otherwise, the title has no value for the relevant item properties in the title statistics. It is possible to adjust this via the “Minimum share of the items with the same value in order to use the value in title statistics” parameter.

Float codes

The title’s float code is the float code that appears most often in the items of a title. See the description above.

Fixed branch

The title’s fixed branch is the branch that appears most often in the items of a title. See the description above.
Please note: Items with a float code indicated do not have a fixed branch.

Department type

The title’s department type is the department type that appears most often in the items of a title. See the description above. An item’s department type is derived from its department.

Department

The title’s department is the department that appears most often in the items of a title. See the description above.

Location

The title’s location is the location that appears most often in the items of a title. See the description above.

Sub-location

The title’s sub-location is the sub-location that appears most often in the items of a title. See the description above.

Item collection

The title’s item collection is the item collection that appears most often in the items of a title. See the description above.

Item type

The title’s item type is retrieved directly from the title and is therefore not a calculated value.

Classification group

The title’s classification group is retrieved directly from the title and is therefore not a calculated value.

Classification

The title’s classification is retrieved directly from the title and is therefore not a calculated value.

Calculated acquisition date

The title’s acquisition date is based on the acquisition date that appears on the majority of the title’s items. It is not necessary that a majority of the items have the same value. In the event that several dates appear for an equal number of items, the latest of these dates is used - regardless whether this acquisition date represents less than half of the copies.
Please note: Since items may lack an acquisition date, the entire title can also lack one.

Current number of copies in stock

The overall number of current copies of the title. However, excluded copies are not counted.

Current number of floating copies in stock

The current overall number of floating copies of the title.

Current number of fixed copies in stock

The current number of copies of the title with a fixed relationship to a branch - in other words, that do not have a float code.

Current number of lendable copies in stock

The current overall number of lendable copies of the title. An item’s lendability is determined based on its item collection.

Please note: It is important that item collections that include items that are not actually a part of the stock (replaced, missing, etc.) are marked as non-lendable. In the opposite case, the title statistics would be misleading and there would be a risk that the last actual copies would be discarded.

Current number of reservable copies in stock

The current overall number of reservable copies of the title. An item’s reservability is determined based on its item collection.

Current number of copies on loan

The current number of copies of the title on loan.
Please note: An item is considered to be on loan if it has been taken for a hold.

Current circulation percentage

This is calculated as the “current number of copies on loan” in relation to the “current number of lendable copies”.

Historical values

The title statistics also contain a row of values that are calculated based on the item’s history.

The history for a specific number of days in the past is considered. The number of days is configured using a system parameter. There is a parameter for each of the four classification groups to which the title can belong: fiction, non-fiction, music, and “unknown”.

Average number of copies on loan

This is the average number of copies of the title on loan measured over the entire period. This is calculated as the overall number of “loan days” in relation to the length of the period (measured in days).
Please note: An item is also considered to be on loan for the period in which it has been taken for a hold.
Please note: Only lendable items should be looked at. If a non-lendable item is on loan, it is not counted.

Adjusted circulation percentage

This figure is a calculated value that shows the percentage of the current lendable copies expected to be on loan if the historical loan pattern remains unchanged.
This is calculated as the “average number of copies on loan” in relation to the “current number of lendable copies”.
Since any weeding of stock goes into effect immediately, this figure provides a good indication of whether the current stock is appropriate.

Please note that since both current and average values are included, the value theoretically may exceed 100%. If this occurs, it just indicates that there are no longer enough copies left to cover the needs that existed in the past.

Calculated circulation percentage following a hold

This figure shows the percentage of loaned items over a period that were due to holds/reservations.
The LMS shows in the loan notification whether the loan was due to a reservation.

Please note: If none of the title’s items have been on loan during the period, this component has no value.
Please note: If an item was already on loan at the beginning of a period, then the loan is counted.
Please note: Only loans of items that are both lendable and reservable (indicated in the collection) are counted.

Summation of time spent in the placement types

Apart from the time the title's items have spent being on loan, numbers for the time spent in the various placement types (transport units, display locations, media hotel etc.) are also calculated.


Life cycle rules and matches with the title statistics

In order for the system to be able to carry out (or suggest) actions, there must be a set of rules that define the circumstances under which various actions need to be performed. The system therefore provides the option to create and maintain such a set of life cycle rules.

The system can then match the calculated values in the title statistics for each title to the life cycle rules that have been set up and consequently determine any actions that need to be performed for the title.

The life cycle rules

Users maintain a prioritized list of life cycle rules. Each rule has a name and, if needed, a description/note for internal use.

Each specific life cycle rule consists of a set of conditions that must be met in order for the rule to be applied to a title. The conditions are limits to the title’s values for the variables included in the title statistics.

Note: Conditions, which consist of lower/upper limits, are all inclusive.

Pay special attention when a set of rules are intended to collectively cover a range, and the individual rules each cover a part of this range.

For conditions where the calculated value is a decimal number (e.g. average values and % values), there should be no gap between the end of one range and the beginning of the next range (e.g. 0-7 and 7-15). If a gap is used (e.g. 0-7 and 8-15), a range of values (e.g. 7.4) will miss both rules.

For conditions where the calculated value is always an integer number (e.g. current counts), a gap can be used between the ranges (e.g. 0-7 and 8-15). This avoids the possibility for a value to match more than one rule.

Each rule also includes a list of the actions that need to be performed when a title matches the rule. There are three possible actions:

A strategy may be combined with weeding or replenishment, but weeding and replenishment mutually exclude one another.

It is also possible to not select any action for the rule. A rule that does not list any action may be used to prevent less prioritized rules from matching a title - in other words, a type of exclusion.

All conditions are basically optional and may be combined without any limitations. However, two particular types of rule restrictions are of particular importance when weeding or replenishing stock:

Calculation of a match between the title statistics and the life cycle rules

Once the system has calculated title statistics for all of the titles, the title statistics are compared to the defined life cycle rules.

For each title, all of the life cycle rules are applied and the conditions of the rules are compared to the values calculated for the title.

Please note: Titles, where at least one copy has date information (year of publication, edition, and/or volume) per definition does not match any life cycle rules.

When a match is found, the title’s entry is updated in the title statistics with a reference to the matching rule. The subsequent use of this match is contingent on which actions have been configured for the rule.

No further action is carried out on titles that do not match any rule.

Calculation of the number of items to weed

If a title matches a life cycle rule, which has indicated that the stock needs to be weeded, then the number of copies of the stock that must be weeded needs to be calculated. This quantity is referred to as the number of items to weed.

When users define a life cycle rule indicating that the stock needs to be weeded, it is an expression of the fact that the rule’s conditions specify a situation in which there are too many copies of a title. The system must therefore “back-calculate” and determine how many fewer non-loaned copies should have been present in order for the title not to match the rule. This is the number of copies that needs to be discarded.

Thus, the number of items required for at least one of the rule’s limitations to no longer be met is what must be discarded. The following limitations are looked at:

The number of items to weed is the least number of copies that must be weeded from the stock in order for all three of the conditions to no longer be met.

Once the number of items to weed has been calculated, it is noted in the title statistics.

Calculation of the replenishment number

If a title matches a life cycle rule, which has indicated that stock needs to be replenished, then it must be calculated how many copies should be added to the stock. This quantity is referred to as the replenishment number.

The replenishment number is calculated analogous to calculation of the number of items to weed, but the aim is for the quantity of copies to rise so that the rule no longer matches. The following conditions of the rule are looked at:

The replenishment number is the minimum number of copies that need to be added to the stock in order for all three of the conditions to no longer be met (if they are indicated by the rule).

Once the replenishment number has been calculated, it is noted in the title statistics.


Automatic actions

Based on the calculation of a match between a title (its title statistics) and a life cycle rule, the system can perform various actions, which may be listed in the life cycle rule:

However, individual titles may be marked “locked for automatic life cycle events”. When a title is locked, automatic actions will never be performed for the title.

Change of strategy

If a title matches a life cycle rule that lists a strategy, then a proposed strategy is calculated for the title. If the calculated strategy is different from the title’s current strategy, then there is justification for changing the title’s strategy to the calculated strategy.

The “Change strategies” system parameter controls whether or not the titles’ strategies are to be changed by the system. If change strategies is not enabled, it is only possible to study the hypothetical result in the reports.

Automatic strategy changes by the system appear in the titles’ histories as performed by the user “system”.

Weeding of the stock

If a title matches a life cycle rule indicating that stock should be weeded and the calculated number of items to weed is greater than 0, then there is a basis for weeding the stock by discarding a copy of the title.

The discard itself takes place by the system generating a weeding order, which an employee then carries out under the menu item “Pick” in the mobile client.

The “Create weeding orders” system parameter controls whether or not weeding orders are to be created. If this is not enabled, it is only possible to study the hypothetical result in the reports.

The “Discard code for weeding orders” system parameter indicates which discard code is to be used on weeding orders that have been created. This code is sent to the LMS once the item has been retrieved and consequently discarded.

Please note: Regardless of the number of copies of a title to be discarded, only one weeding order should be created for the title for each run (each day). Non-implemented weeding orders are deleted prior to each run. Thus, there should only be one discard order for each title, and only one copy of each title may be discarded per day.

When the system needs to single out an item for weeding, the following criteria are employed:

Please note: Be aware of the fact that discarding just a single copy can make the title’s calculated values for copy-based variables (float code, fixed branch, department type, department, location, sub-location, collection, and acquisition date) disappear or change so that the title no longer matches the rule and/or matches a different rule.

If none of the title’s copies meet the aforementioned conditions, no weeding order is created.

If multiple copies meet the conditions, then one copy should be selected based on a prioritization made up of the following criteria:

Please note: The prioritization of copies for weeding only takes eligible copies into consideration. Copies that are currently, e.g., on loan or fulfill a hold might have been prioritized higher than those that actually ended up being selected for weeding.
There is therefore no guarantee that copies will always be discarded in the aforementioned order.

Simulation function

The simulation function makes it possible to see how the calculations for a specific title are carried out.

This can, e.g., be used to explain why a given title - against all expectations - has been matched with a specific life cycle rule.

Refer otherwise to “Data examples