Archived - Overdrive Integration Overview

overdrive, overview, polaris, shared-ext-housekeep

Wes Osborn

Integration deprecated as of Q1 2022, see this article for more information.

This article is now for historic reference only as the integration has now been disabled at the request of member libraries.

CLC uses a feature of Polaris to integrate Overdrive information into Polaris. Through a series of real-time and overnight processes, collection and circulation details are synchronized between Overdrive and CLC’s Polaris system.

Integration Benefits

How does the integration differ from just adding MARC records with 856 links?

The benefits of the integration include:

  • Automatic Overdrive record creation
  • Ability to see “real-time” availability information within the PAC
  • Ability to limit PAC search results to only those titles that your library (or Digital Consortium) have purchased
  • Ability to CKO and place Holds on Overdrive material within the PAC
  • Basic circulation reporting information is available using Polaris’ reporting system

Viewing Holds

Overdrive holds are completely separate from Polaris holds. Patrons can see their holds in the PAC due to a call that Polaris makes to Overdrive’s API when the page loads. The Polaris client and Leap cannot see the holds. Overdrive and Polaris hold limits are also separate and do not affect each other.

Blocked Check outs

Using Overdrive

If a patron checks out an Overdrive title through Overdrive’s app, it uses only Overdrive’s check out limits and does not take into account Polaris’ check out limits unless the patron has been blocked in SIP because of them. If the patron is at or over the total items out limit in Polaris, they will be blocked when they attempt to log in to Overdrive.

Using the PAC

If a patron checks out an Overdrive title through the PAC, then both Overdrive’s and the Polaris’ check out limits are taken into account.

Non EBook Circulation limits

Because Overdrive copies are “real” item records in Polaris, once an Overdrive title has been checked out and is on the patron’s account in Polaris, it will count towards the patron’s total Polaris items out and the appropriate material type check out limit. Material type and total check out limits can be adjusted by CLC. Please open a HelpDesk ticket for more information.

Metered copies

Some titles in Overdrive are limited to a certain number of lifetime CKOs. These are known as metered copies. There are also situations where the time or checkout meter on a copy runs out and the title languishes for weeks or even years until demand triggers purchasing of additional copies again.

What does it look like in Polaris when the meter is used up? Do the copies get deleted from the system?

When copies of a title expire, the item records are deleted from Polaris. The bib record is left untouched. You can leave it as is, and the title will show as “All copies expired” rather than “Place Hold” or “Check Out” in the PAC.

If you later re-purchase the title, items will be created on the original bib record if it’s still in your system, or the bib will be automatically imported and items added to it. If you purchase additional copies of a title that you currently own copies of, the appropriate number of items will be added to the bib. Any added items are put in an item record set named “E-added copies_[vendor account name]_ID=xxx.”

Magazines and other unlimited simultaneous use records

Overdrive magazines are licensed differently than other content. Overdrive magazines can be used by an unlimited number of patrons simultaneously. For any unlimited simultaneous use content, Polaris will create item records on an as needed basis.

So, if three people have a magazine CKO’d at the same time, then Polaris will create three item records. However, if one of those people returns their item (or it expires) and someone CKO’s the same title after them, the system will reuse the existing item record for the CKO.

Magazine records are created in the system per issue, NOT per subscription. So there will be a bib record for each issue of Overdrive ESPN magazine and NOT than one record for all issues of the magazine.

Transaction Synchronization

If the transaction occurs on Overdrive’s site instead of in Polaris, when does circulation information synchronize?

Polaris should synchronize with Overdrive every 15 minutes for circulation information. However the process to synchronize the patron information is also the same process that is used by the record importing process. If the record importing process is under a heavy load, there could be a longer delay in syncing the circulation information.

There is also a nightly process that verifies that the Polaris and Overdrive information is still in sync.

Forcing a Sync

How can patrons update what they have checked out in Overdrive?


Because CLC members are in Overdrive consortium with other non-CLC libraries the system needs a way to track the title when it is CKO’d by a non-CLC library patron. What happens when a copy is checked out by a non-CLC library in the ebook consortium?

The item in the Polaris system will have its status changed to Unavailable while the copy is checked out to a non-CLC patron.

New Titles

When will the new titles appear in the catalog?

An overnight process will add new titles and new copies to the catalog. However, this process is run sequentially for each CLC member library. It may take up to one week before the title shows up for all members. The new bibs added will be short bibs with just basic information. There is a process where the bibs will be overlaid with a full OCLC bibs on a regular basis.

852 clean-up

When new titles are added, the system adds an 852 tag for each owned copy to the Overdrive bib. This 852 tag is then used to create the item records for Overdrive bibs. The presence of thousands of 852 entries on a bib can make working with the Overdrive bib nearly impossible. To reduce the number of 852 entries on any record, CLC has enabled the subfield 9 clean-up utility which deletes ANY 852 tag, from Overdrive and any other bib record in the system, after two weeks.

Material Types

What material types are assigned to the Overdrive items?

Changes on Overdrive site

How does the integration impact Overdrive users that don’t use the Polaris PAC to browse/borrow books?

The good news is that their experience won’t really be impacted at all by the integration. The only change they might see is if they choose to log into their PowerPAC account . From their PowerPAC account, they would be able to get information on the material they have CKO’d on their corresponding Overdrive account.

What to do if a print and ebook record get merged

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