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    Brief overview of Voyager call number searches

    • Product: Voyager
    • Relevant for Installation Type: Multi-Tenant Direct, Dedicated-Direct, Local, TotalCare



    Provide a brief overview of call number searching in Voyager.


    The Voyager "CALL" search code, called "Call Number" both on the Quick Search page of WebVoyage and in the Voyager staff clients, searches call numbers in the 852 $h and $i of the MFHD record, regardless of the indicators on the field. In other words, the "CALL" search retrieves any kind of call number, whether it’s LC, Dewey, NLM, SuDoc, or "other." In addition to "CALL," Voyager supports several other searches that are specific to certain types of call number:

    • MDEW retrieves Dewey call numbers
    • MLC# retrieves LC call numbers
    • MSUD retrieves SuDoc call numbers
    • MOTH retrieves "Other" call numbers
    • etc.
    Normalization of call numbers

    Voyager "normalizes" call numbers for indexing. Normalization affects spacing and punctuation and assures that the call numbers will sort in correct order.

    Call numbers from different schemes are normalized according to rules appropriate to the scheme.

    Likewise, the user’s search input is normalized according to the kind of search they do.

    The system compares normalized search input to normalized indexes to find matches. Since the generic "CALL" search searches all kinds of call numbers, the user’s search input will be normalized according to the rules the system determines are most likely to apply. 

    SuDoc call numbers

    Sometimes the search input for a SuDoc number will look to the system like an LC number, and so it will apply its LC normalization rules. Sometimes the SuDoc number a user types will be mistaken for a Dewey number, and so on. The generic "CALL" search is a compromise; it is not optimized for any particular kind of call number searching.

    Since the normalization rules for SuDoc numbers are quite different from the rules for, say, LC or Dewey numbers, searchers interested in SuDoc numbers will get the best results when they do an MSUD search so that their search input is normalized appropriately and compared only to indexed SuDoc numbers.

    Keep in mind that the MSUD search searches call numbers in the 852 field, first indicator 3, in the MFHD record.

    The MSUD search can be enabled in both the staff clients and in WebVoyage.

    Additional Information

    CALL, MOTH and the other call number searches search the 852 field in the MFHD.  Keyword access to BIB fields such as the 086 and 050 is also possible.  New keyword search indexes can be defined by the System Administrator.

    When a Browse Call Number Search (index=CALL+) is executed, Voyager has to decide which Call Number Type (LC, Dewey, etc.) to use to normalize against.

    The first Call Number Type Voyager normalizes successfully (i.e. is the closest match) is the index type used for the first set of results retrieved. Users can then page up and down in the index. 

    The Call Number browse drops searchers into this interfiled list based on normalizing the call number as (for example) an LC call number and trying to find something close

    Call Number Browse (CALL+) provides less precision than a Find Call Number Search (CALL), but greater recall for users who may not understand call number indexing.

    It should be noted that libraries with a mixture of Call Number Types should utilize the Headings Type Filter in the clients and in WebVoyage in order to allow users to specify the index they are searching.

    In the OPAC Advanced (Builder) search, you can use Holdings Keyword Definitions to provide call number searches.  Keep in mind that keyword phrase searches can't cross subfield boundaries.

    • Article last edited: 01-Jul-2020