Collection Code Overview

clc-policy, overview, polaris, project-annexes, shared-ext-housekeep

Kelly Hock

Collection Code Overview

Although it is not a required field, most item records in Polaris are typically assigned a collection code. Each item record can only contain ONE collection code.


Collection codes are primarily finding and searching aides, helping patrons and staff locate items within the library or filter search results. The recommendation from the CLC is that if you have a physical sign for an area in your library, then you’ll probably want a corresponding collection code. CLC also sometimes refers to the collection code as the permanent home for an item, whereas the shelf location would be considered an item’s temporary home.

Collection codes are also used to help with library reporting. Many libraries use individual collection codes as a performance reporting tool to see if they should buy more of a particular kind of material. The CLC also creates groups of collection codes for reporting purposes. These grouping reports are helpful for board members and other community stakeholders to give them a bird’s eye view of the activity of different library departments. The collection groupings are also used as part of CLC’s State Library Report.

Collection codes are created at the system level by CLC staff. Then collection codes are enabled, as requested, individually for each member library/branch.

Finding a list of assisgned and available collection codes

Collection Code Naming

Because collection codes are a resource shared among all members, careful consideration should be given to the collection code name and abbreviation when adding new collection codes.

As part of a project in 2016, CLC worked with members to establish a set of guidelines to use when creating new collection codes:

  • The name should be descriptive (Comic Strip Book instead of Comic Books)
  • For smaller collections, use a generic collection name and put descriptive prefixes in call number (Kit as the collection code, with Daycare in call number)
  • Collection codes should represent an item’s permanent home
  • Make collection code names singular where possible
  • For video codes, create two collection codes, one with a DVD prefix and one with a BluRay prefix
  • Use Magazine instead of periodicals
  • Teen instead of YA (there are some local only YA collections)
  • Spell out numbers (1st Chapter → First Chapter)
  • Do NOT use abbreviations (Sci Fi → Science Fiction)
  • Do NOT add the “Adult” prefix (Adult Fiction → Fiction)
  • For kids material, create two collection codes, one with a Children’s prefix and one with a Juvenile prefix
  • Codes that are Local-Only should follow these guidelines for naming.

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