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ERM unique identifiers August 15, 2008

Posted by Mia in ERM Module.

There’s nothing quite like a unique identifier for making ERM loading relatively painless. We adopted the method in use at some other sites of matching on the unique “ssj” number provided by Serials Solutions. Just to demystify what the “ssj” number is — it’s just a number that Serials Solutions uses for its own identification purposes. Fine with me for this purpose; because that’s all we need to make a clean match.

This works well because ISSNs are not unique identifiers (far from it!), trailing information in marc subfields can cause a variety of problems, and inconsistent application of related ISSNs and e-ISSNs has further muddied the waters. So you want to avoid depending on the ISSN if you’re trying to achieve an accurate match with your coverage load data. Don’t forget we’re talking about serials here, elusive entities at best.

Matching against the ssj number as the unique identifier bypasses all those ISSN and e-ISSN problems (particularly if you are working with modified print serial records, as is often the case). Using the ssj number provides a one-to-one correspondence between the title, and the coverage for that title can be insured.