Matchmaking :|b the forgotten step

photo of swans forming a heart between them

If you’re playing matchmaker between an item you want to add to your catalog and a bibliographic record, you need to follow two steps:

  1. Find a record.
  2. Match the record to the item you have in your hand.

♥  This entry to the Cat’s Meow is about making the match.  ♥

Good matches make for happy patrons. 

If you have a patron who requests a large-print copy but gets a mass market edition with tiny print when their hold is available, they won’t be happy.  If they want an ebook and choose a record for an online resource but that record only has print copies attached to it, they are going to waste a lot of time trying to get to the online content your library isn’t providing. 

In a perfect world, whenever you scanned an ISBN or UPC into the general search field in Call Number and Item Maintenance or entered that information into the Number field in SmartPort, you’d find a record where everything in the record matches the item in your hand. 

This is not a perfect world! 

Common pitfalls in matchmaking:

  • Multiple formats on one record
    • Newly released titles often have all available formats’ ISBNs listed on the record but only one format described in the record
    • Solution:
      • look at the 300 line description fields to see if you have a match
      • accept or reject the record based on format description in the 300 fields (if you have a physical book, do not import an online resource record)
        • use Modify Title to delete the irrelevant isbn’s if you import the record.
        • keep looking if you reject the record
          • use arrow at top of screen to view other choices


  • Matches made on disabled ISBN’s on records for other formats
    • You find a record in our system with a matching ISBN but it has a sub-field |z in front of it, it’s an inactive ISBN that doesn’t match the record.
    • Solution:
      • Delete inactive ISBN’s whenever you find them so other libraries don’t make this mistake, especially if you are importing a record from SmartPort. 
      • Do not add your copy if the description doesn’t match.
      • Check to see if the copies attached to the record match the description.  Flag the record with a note in the 590 field if they don’t.
        • 590     upgrade – wrong format
  • Only bad records available
    • If the only records available are in ALL CAPS, check to see that the item in hand has been released by the publisher.  (Pre-pub records are in all caps.)
      • If it’s so new it hasn’t yet reached it’s on shelf date, then put it aside with the release date on a sticky note.
      • If the item was released yesterday and you know you have patrons hot to get their hands on it, then go ahead and import the bad record if it’s for the right format.
        • Use Modify Title to add a 590 field
          • Flagging the record with an upgrade note in the 590 field alerts SLC staff to find something better.  

(Important:  If you import records via SmartPort, you need access to the Modify Title wizard.  Please request access if you don’t have it.)

Notice that this bad record doesn’t even have any 300 fields—there’s no way to know if the record is even meant for the format/edition you want to add.  The author’s name is not recognized.  The record was never meant to be used as anything other than a placeholder. 


  • Everything matches except the ISBN
    • If you find a match in the shared catalog with a title search and all the descriptive information matches — page count, format, title, author, language, illustrator — but your copy has a different ISBN, then modify the record to include your ISBN.  If you don’t have access to the Modify Title wizard, submit a request to SLC staff: support @ superiorlandlibrary . org

What if you can’t find a match?  Follow the steps for requesting a bib record

We’re here to help you. 












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