Item groupings

At an ordinary lending branch it is no trivial matter where an item is placed when it is “shelved”. Locations at the branch are dedicated to different items, so non-fiction books about horses are not mixed together with crime novels. Within a branch, different locations are appointed to contain various types of items. Often, individual locations are exclusively assigned to a specific range of items, but the items may be spread out over several locations (e.g., multiple shelves) without stringent control over which items belong to which specific location.

To support all of this, IMMS employs so-called item groupings, which are the individual branch’s own “clusters” of items and locations pursuant to its needs. In general, you can select the items to be placed together based on various item properties transferred from the LMS:

For an item grouping, you can define one or more definitions, where each consists of a set of rules that governs what the aforementioned item properties must be in order for an item to belong to the item grouping. For the item properties Department, Location, Sub-location, Item collection, and Item type, the definition can specify one value that the property must have or it can specify that the item property should be disregarded. For Classification and Alphabetization, a range that the value must be located in can alternatively be specified (or defined with “wildcards”). Refer otherwise to the description of ranges.

It is possible to specify an arbitrary number of definitions for an item grouping and in that way get “clustered” items that are not otherwise “alike” in relation to the item properties. For example, you could combine non-fiction and fiction based on a sub-location or could define an item grouping to include items from several locations that would not normally be situated together. This ensures flexibility in grouping and classifying items for each individual branch.

A given item may only belong to one item grouping at a given branch. This must be ensured when the definitions for the item groupings are defined. In order for the system to determine which definition (and thus which item grouping) an item belongs to in the event of overlap, each definition must be assigned to a specific level. Definitions on the same level are not allowed to overlap since the same item would then be able to belong to more than one item grouping. Definitions at different levels on the other hand, must clearly enable the distinction between overlapping items - if an item matches several definitions on different levels, the item is governed by the definition that is on the highest level. This hierarchical design of definitions provides you with the option to define item groupings based on principles of “rules” and “exceptions”.

Aside from defining which items are assigned to the item grouping, you must also define which physical locations (shelves, subjects, bookshelves, etc.) should be linked to the item grouping. An arbitrary number of branch locations can be linked. However, a given location may only belong to one item grouping at a time. If the need arises for two item groupings to share an actual shelf, then the shelf is simply divided into two partial shelves, e.g., 3a and 3b, in the physical modeling of locations.

The objective of item groupings is thus to define which items must be located at which locations. Item groupings must be defined for each individual branch. An item grouping can be given a meaningful name, for example, “Crime A-F”, “Horses”, or “Turkish”.

Refer otherwise to the “Planning the configuration of the item groupings” guide.

Closed item groupings

It is possible to specify that an item grouping is closed. This has several consequences:

For more detail, refer to the section on the intelligent distribution algorithm.

Closing one or more item groupings may be useful in connection with the partial closure of a branch, for example, due to remodeling or water damage.