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Announcement from NLM Regarding Cuttering

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) announces that it will cease providing cutter numbers in LocatorPlus for most of the classification numbers assigned to print monographs that the Library catalogs. Cutter assignment will cease on June 21, 2010. Exceptions to this are material being shelved in the NLM Reference collection and titles cataloged for the NLM History of Medicine Division.

For the past 15 years, NLM has been shelving print monographs by accession number, rather than by call numbers, but has continued to provide fully shelflisted call numbers for the convenience of other libraries using NLM records. As the library looks to increase efficiencies in its cataloging practices, the time spent cuttering stood out as an inefficient activity.

NLM is still committed to providing a classification number that reflects the subject of a book, in recognition that this information can be used widely by others. Cutter numbers, on the other hand, are unique to a particular collection. Libraries that use cutters to arrange their material on the shelf will not have identical collections to NLM, so cutters provided by NLM often need adjustments to arrange material properly on any particular library’s shelves.

Because NLM recognizes this may have an impact on the workflow in some libraries, we hope that the six month notice of this change will provide ample time for these libraries to make needed adjustments.

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