Category Archives: ReCAP

Circulation Data Spectacular!

In Summer 2010, CUL’s ReCAP Coordinator led an internship project to analyze circulation data.  Intern Steve Zweibel organized, summarized and visualized system-wide circulation data provided by LITO staff.  Data represents circulation activity for both on-site and off-site collections; it is not ReCAP-specific. 

The goal of the project was to present his findings to professional staff to aid data-driven decisions.  The products were a tightly composed PowerPoint presentation that includes observations and some analysis and an invitation from OCLC to co-present a webinar Managing Collections in the Networked Environment: New Analytical Approaches.

Included here are three example charts of data.  The first represents the total volume of charges to CUL’s primary patron groups (Undergraduate, Graduates, Faculty and Visitors) organized by fiscal year.  The second represents the monthly patterns of the same data.  The third is the percentage circulation of Offsite collections, which has grown from 2.3% to 6.1% over the lifespan of ReCAP.

Congratulations Steve Zweibel on graduation and finding professional employment at NYU and Hunter College!

Observations from data:

  • Overall circulation volume has decline 18.6% since 2003, but has held steady for the past three years
  • Circulation activity is in phase with the academic calendar
  • Graduate student usage peaks a month before Undergraduate
  • Renewals are in phase with loan period due dates
  • Policy changes are reflected in data: 4-week to 1-term loan period for Undergraduates, assignation of Faculty (OFF) privileges to Graduates serving as Adjunct Faculty, and ability to renew/recall/hold via CLIO
  • Renewal to Charge ratio *much* higher for Faculty than other patron groups
  • Shift towards online (OPAC) renewal and recall represent learning curve as users adapt to new technology
  • Undergraduates charge and renew fewer books due to extended loan periods
  • An increasing percentage of circulation activity involves Offsite collections, but has held steady for the past three years


ReCAP Request Data: Timing

More than 3.5 million volumes are currently held in ReCAP, CUL’s off-site shelving facility. Library patrons may submit requests for ReCAP collections any time of day, 365 days a year via CLIO. All requests are filled by physical or electronic delivery within two business days.

* 35.7% of requests are filled in one business day
* 88.4% of requests are placed between the hours of 9:00am and 9:00pm
* Average request volume during weekdays is more than twice that during weekends.

The charts above look at the timing of patron requests by weekday and hour

To see the executive summary and data sets please follow this link to the ReCAP Data Center:

Module 5 at ReCAP Now Open

Staff at the partner libraries and the ReCAP Facility were proud to announce completion of the newest module this Spring. Module 5 provides growth space for CUL’s collections until 2011. At full occupancy, these five modules will hold 4.5 million books from CUL collections and almost 11 million books overall!

Module 5 officially opened for new accessions in March, 2008. A temporary wall was erected within the unit to permit early move in. Access to the first five (of ten) aisles allowed ReCAP to continue regular processing without rearranging shelves. Many thanks to all contributing staff who helped maintain uninterrupted, efficient service during this difficult phase.

Just as construction ends…planning for the next module begins. Planning for Module 8 continues, in anticipation of continued need from partner libraries. Construction of the newest module will be on the opposite side of ReCAP’s processing floor.

Image: Original birds-eye view of ReCAP module construction. Updated plans will be provided shortly.

-Zack Lane

ReCAP Coordinator Zack Lane

The ReCAP Coordinator is a new position to problem-solve and streamline the movement of materials to and from CUL’s high-density storage facility. ReCAP (Research Collections and Preservation Consortium) is now CUL’s largest library with more than 2.7 million volumes.

The initial phase of work will be to gather and distribute information among staff involved with ReCAP. The ReCAP website
( will be the initial forum to distribute relevant documentation. Updates will be regular and clearly indicated. There is also a second ReCAP page for patrons:

The ReCAP Coordinator will be responsible for training new and existing staff for ReCAP procedures.

Zack eagerly awaits suggestions, questions and comments. Please contact him at zl2114@columbia, (212) 851-5621 or in person at the idesk from 4-5pm every Wednesday.