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One way that Library Media Centers have streamlined their operations and provided efficiencies is in automated processing in their circulation systems.  As libraries move towards or upgrade these systems, they tend to buy integrated systems where full MARC records are part of the catalog and used for circulation.

At a minimum, these systems require at least 2 databases:

bulletPatron records
bulletItem records 

Integrated systems provide a variety of efficiencies that make circulation systems more functional for staff and patrons alike by including databases for:

bulletSerial holdings that track which records have been received and can display holdings in the online catalog
bulletAcquisitions that track items on order and can indicate the status of these materials in the online catalog.

Today's automated circulation systems can enhance a library's usefulness by providing:

bulletReserves (allows user to put a request in for an item ahead of time or to put an item in a non-circulating collection)
bulletHolds (allows user to be put in a queue to receive an item), often used with recall (allows user to call back an item that is circulating)
bulletDifferent circulation types and privileges based on type of item and/or patron type
bulletLimiting maximum number of items per patron
bulletSecurity (levels of access to system through passwords)
bulletDo not retain person with item circulated after return
bulletOverdues and fines
bulletSerials control

Privacy issues have always been a major consideration when developing circulation policies.  These issues become more visible when database software is used to automate circulation procedures.

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