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What is Live Shelf Status?

[Live Shelf Status] Live Shelf Status is a check of the circulation Availability (In Library, On Hold, Checked Out etc) of an item at the time a Request is submitted to a Lender.  Illume connects directly to the Lender library's Z39.50 server for information about the Holdings (Location & Status) of that item including an up-to-date check that the library actually still owns that exact item.

What are the benefits of Live Shelf Status?

  • With live circulation checks the system automatically skips Lenders that don't have an item available to lend. Was your request skipped in Illume for a Lender Library? Double-check the Check Shelf Status link to see the current Availability of all copies of the item.
  • For Borrowers this means you receive items faster as they're routed directly to Lenders that do have the items available without sitting in someone's Pending waiting to be rejected.
  • For Lenders this means ILL Staff won't have to waste time looking up Checked Out items and rejecting requests.  This allows staff to focus on requests for available items only.
  • Live shelf status circulation checks should allow ILL Staff to receive items faster and focus on requests for items that are actually available!

What are the some of the current issues with Live Shelf Status?

  • As we turn on Live Shelf Status for more libraries you will see the "Item not available - lender XXXX skipped, retry later?" message more frequently as requests for Checked Out items skip unavailable Lenders and may be routed to Retry or Unfilled if no other lenders are available. When you see this message for unavailable items it means the system is working correctly as these requests would have been rejected by the Lender library anyways!

  • Requests created from records in the union databases (BC Union Catalogue, ELN Serials Cat & ELN Media Cat) may be rejected due to mis-match errors with the Lender's catalogue records. The records in the union databases are usually the "best" available records for that item and they may not always exactly match the catalogue records found in the live Lender's ILS. Union database records may be out-dated though, so the system checks live to make sure the item is actually still owned by that Lender library. This can result in mis-match errors due to differences found in their ILS records.

    Update December 1st, 2022: The vendor Auto-Graphics has increased leniency in matching records. But if you continue to encounter any mis-match errors please contact us and check-out our easy work-arounds.

    Update July 2017:
    In the recent update to v5.0.22.42, Live Shelf Status Lenders can optionally deactivate shelf availability checks for Borrower libraries submitting Blank Request forms. Please check-out our FAQ here <> for additional information!

  • During set-up, we need to configure all the Locations, Status and Holdings information of the Lender library's Z39.50 server within Illume. If this information isn't configured correctly the live shelf status check may not properly connect or retrieve information from the Lender's catalogue. Contact us to work together to set-up your shelf status connection correctly within Illume.

  • The system checks for live Holdings of items to determine if an item is in a lendable location (eg. Stacks) and is available in the library (eg. Checked In). If Illume can't find the Holdings statement because it isn't available in the same location as most other returned catalogue records (eg. 852a) or there is no holdings statement (for example with some electronic records) then the system can't do the shelf check because the information isn't available! Please contact us to work together to set-up the Holdings check to be as consistent as possible against your Z39.50 server. In some cases, your library may need to add additional holdings statements to records missing the information.

  • Check-out some of the other FAQ's about Live Shelf Status.

The Illume Admin Centre has been setting up Z39.50 searching and live shelf status checks for as many libraries as possible over the past year.  Have questions/concerns about live shelf status checks? Want to set-up and activate Live Shelf Status for your library? Please contact us for additional assistance.