Guidelines for Sierra "Restricted Use" Periods

For ALL departments:

The following list details the types of transactions that should be avoided and those that may be performed during times when the system is at high risk for information loss (such as system upgrades, backups, or when the stability of the transaction file is in question).

During system upgrades, no one is to be logged into Sierra for any reason until given the 'all clear' from Mil-SysAdmin.

In general, it is recommended that staff avoid using the system during periods when an alert has been issued by Mil-SysAdmin. This covers the “gap” period between the last backup and system downtime. Transactions that involve creating, editing, and deleting records should be avoided during these times. Some limited activities may be performed during these times (these activities will vary by department). If any transactions need to be performed, they should be documented so that they can be easily and quickly reproduced, in case of data loss.

1. It is recommended that the following activities be suspended during times when the Sierra system is being backed up or when the stability of the transaction file is in question for any reason:

  • Creation:
    • Creation of new bibliographic records within Sierra
    • Creation of new order records
    • Creation of new patron records
    • Addition of new bibliographic records through export or reading MARC records
    • Addition of new item records to existing bibliographic records
  • Editing:
    • Editing of bibliographic records
    • Editing of item records *
    • Editing of order records
    • Editing of patron records
    • Editing or modification of checkin records
    • Overlay of existing bibliographic records through export or reading MARC records
    • Transfer of item or order records
    • Running of global update or rapid update processes
  • Deleting:
    • Deletion of any type of record
  • Other:
    • Any activity whatsoever involving authority records
    • Claims
    • Clearing headings reports
    • Invoices
    • Restarting terminals

2. The following activities may be performed during the times mentioned above without concern for compromising or losing any data:

  • Accessing data in "Information about the System"
  • Cataloging in OCLC with the use of the save file
  • Checking in and checking out material to patrons**
  • Creating lists
  • Freeing busy records
  • MARC tag and heading verification within a bibliographic record
  • Placing material on Course Reserve
  • Placing recalls, holds, and paging library material
  • Projects working from a list
  • Request call number labels
  • Running headings reports (without clearing)
  • Searching records in Sierra
  • Updates from printouts (this is for all record types with printout retained for backup)
  • Writing MARC records to an external file


*Preservation may update item records of brittle books
**Preservation may not charge books in or out. Access Services may check in and check out material to patrons.

This document was created and is maintained by the Collection Services Roundtable.