Official State of Iowa Website

Iowa Locator

The Iowa Locator is the statewide union catalog used for locating library items.

Access the Iowa Locator


Instructions for the Locator appear below. For questions or further assistance, please contact your District LRT.

Adding Items to the Locator

Add a Holding

Online add allows a library to add their holdings to an existing bibliographic record in the Locator.  If an appropriate bibliographic record isn't in the Locator, you'll need to wait for another library to submit the record through file upload or OCLC.

  1. Go to the new SILO ILL SYSTEM
  2. Login with your username and Password
  3. Click on Search Locator from the green menu bar
  4. Search the Iowa Locator for the item you wish to add.
  5. Click on the Add Library Holding button.
  6. Add a Local Call Number (optional)
  7. Click the Add Holding button.
  8. The Holding Added Confirmation message will appear.
  9. Click on the Search Again link to add more holdings

Holdings added through online add are loaded nightly.  New holdings should appear in the Locator within 24 to 48 hours.

Upload MARC Records to the Iowa Locator

  1. Login to new SILO Interlibrary Loan System  with either Library Staff or Library Director level permissions.
  2. Click on the File Upload drop down menu from the green menu bar
  3. Select Upload Files
  4. Click the Choose File button, or the Browse button
  5. Navigate the file selector to the file or folder of the saved exported MARC file.
  6. From the Choose File window, navigate to the file that contains the saved MARC records.
  7. Select the file then click the Open button.
  8. Check the Email address box for the correct email address or enter an e-mail address if you want to receive a Feedback Report.
  9. Click on the Upload File button.
  10. The file begins its upload.
  11. When complete, and if no errors were detected, a confirmation will appear with the file name, and number of records.
  12. To upload more files of MARC data records, click the Choose File button, or the Browse button again.


Files uploaded will be processed at night and updated in the Locator by the next weekday. The Feedback Report goes out at 5:00 a.m.

Exporting from Local System


We have collected some instructions from automation vendors, but the best course is to work with your own automation vendor representative, or technical support for assistance in getting a file of MARC records out of your own system.

Give these guidelines to your vendor to assure the file of MARC records is usable by the Locator.

  • Export full bibliographic records in MARC format file with MARC8 encoding
  • Exclude item level information in the export
  • Place all copies together in the same MARC record
  • Exclude "fast adds", or brief records, if possible
  • Serial records may be included in the export as long as the records are flagged as serials. Locator processing will remove these records before the file is loaded into the Locator.

Download export instructions that have been collected from various vendors:


If you have questions regarding data loading or SILO interlibrary loan, please contact your district office. This would include questions about sources of high quality MARC records, cataloging, Locator standards, standard numbers, or specific MARC tags, status of specific ILL transactions, uploading MARC data files, or any of the system activity summary reports.

If you have technical questions regarding the Locator, cataloging, or MARC records, contact your district office as well.

Locator MARC Record Standards

To be accepted into the Iowa Locator database, a MARC record must contain the following fields and elements when they are included on the item.

Leader Field
Each MARC record must begin with a leader 24 characters long. All characters must be alphanumeric,
special characters like ',' are not valid leader characters.  If an electronic record does not contain a leader, it is essentially not a MARC record. The leader field contains important information about the type of record, bibliographic level and the format of the item. Purchased MARC records should always contain a leader. Library automation software will automatically create a leader field. It is important to choose the correct template
 (e.g. book, video, kit) from the cataloging software when creating new records for the library’s own catalog or Iowa Locator, as this will determine the proper leader field.
1760pam  2200733 a 450

( ‘a’ indicates language material)

00979nim  2200325Ia 450

(‘i’ indicates non-musical sound recording, i.e. book on tape)
Field 008
Fixed-Length data elements
The 008 contains coded information that is used to process the records before, and as they are loaded into
 The Locator: specifically dates and formats which are used to match and merge records.  The 008 must
 be 40 characters in length. While the labels displayed by various software may differ, all of the 008 elements should be present.

760831s20131976nyua     b     001   0    eng

Character position 23

23 - Form of item
o - Online (use for e-books)
q - Direct electronic
r - Regular print reproduction
s - Electronic

See further explanation here

Standard Number
At least one standard number in any of the following fields is required. These standard numbers provide match points in the Iowa Locator database as an aid for deduplication.
See examples of specific standard number fields below.
Enter any and all that is available.

Field 010 subfield ‡a
Library of Congress Control number (LCCN)
LC control numbers have either two or four initial digits representing a year, a hyphen and the remaining digits designating an accession number (up to six digits).  If the LCCN is listed without a hyphen character, the accession number must be six digits long, with left zero padding if accession number is shorter than six digits.

010    ‡a   2004-402233

010    ‡a   2004001234

Field 020 subfield ‡a
International Standard Book  Number (ISBN)
Repeatable field
An ISBN is a unique number assigned to an item by its publisher. Each ISBN is a ten-or thirteen-digit number. Hyphens may be included.  For 10 digit ISBN numbers, the digits 0-9 and the characters x and X are valid digits, for 13 digit ISBN numbers only digits 0-9 are valid.
Use the following standards for entering multiple ISBNs:
  • Enter each ISBN in a separate 020 or 024 field. Do not repeat subfield ‡a
  • One volume of a multivolume set. Include both the number for the volume and the set number, if available. Enter the number for the volume first. Use separate 020 or 024 fields.
  • Only one ISBN is allowed per subfield ‡a. Edit out all extra ISBNs, especially ones for other formats.
020 ‡a 0439681944

020 ‡a 9780439681944

020 ‡a 0379005514 (v.1)

020 ‡a 0379005506 (set)

Field 022 subfield ‡a
International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)
Enter the International Standard Serial Number (ISSN) as two groups of four digits, separated by a hyphen.

022    ‡a 1040-6484

Field 024 subfield ‡a first indicator = 1 (for UPC) first indicator = 3 (for EAN)
Other Standard Identifier
Enter a UPC (Universal Product Code) , or  an EAN (International Article Number) from a video, DVD or Blu-Ray disc.

  • A UPC is 12 digits long.  The first digit appears to the left side of the symbol.  The last digit appears
     to the right side of the symbol.  Include all 12 digits, without spaces or hyphens.
  • An EAN is 13 digits below a barcode symbol. It begins with 3 digits, followed by the first 9 digits
     of the ISBN with a final EAN check digit.

024 1   ‡a 678149456622



024 3   ‡a 9780316969680

Field 035 subfield ‡a
OCLC system control number   
035 ‡a ocm00012345
OPTIONAL    Field 049
Local call number
Subfield ‡a SILO Locator Code
Subfield ‡n  Local call number
049  ‡a IAOX771 ‡n636.7 JAN 
Field 100 or 110
Main Entry – Personal Name
Enter author entries in Last name, First name format
100   ‡a Patterson, James P.
Field 245
Title Statement
245  ‡a Kiss the girls : ‡b a novel.
Field 250
Edition Statement
250  ‡a 4th ed.
Field 260 Subfield ‡a, Subfield ‡b, Subfield ‡c
Publication, Distribution, Etc.
Subfield ‡a  Place of Publication
Subfield ‡b  Name of publisher, distributor, etc
Subfield ‡c  Date of publication, distribution, etc.  (Copyright date)

Leading indicators are not necessary.

260 ‡a New York: ‡b Delacorte, ‡c 2004.

Field 264 Subfield ‡a, Subfield ‡b, Subfield ‡c
Production, Publication, Distribution, Manufacture, and Copyright Notice
Subfield ‡a  Place of production, publication, distribution, manufacture
Subfield ‡b  Name of producer, publisher, distributor, manufacturer
Subfield ‡c  Date of production,publication, distribution, manufacture, or copyright notice

There can be more than one 264. Field 264 must use leading indicators and contain a value in the 2nd Indicator.

SILO Processing will delete a 264 with a 2nd indicator
of 0, then, start with the most recently added 264, then validate (publisher name / location and publication date required), if does not validate, move on to the next 264 field (if available)

The first 264 field with a non-zero 2nd indicator, and that includes subfield a, subfield b and subfield c will be accepted.

Field 300 Subfield ‡a
Physical Description
Subfield ‡a For books enter the extent of the item  (number of pages in a book)
Subfield ‡a For audio or visual materials enter the number of physical units
300  ‡a 324 p.  ‡c 20 cm. 
300  ‡a Unpaged.
300  ‡a 1 videocassette.

MARC Record Feedback Error Information

MARC records submitted by libraries for the Locator are evaluated for compliance to the Locator MARC Record Standards. Only records meeting the standards are loaded into the Locator.

Iowa librarians often like to know how many records from a batch were accepted for inclusion in the Locator. They also like to know which records weren't accepted and the reason they were rejected. The Locator now has a MARC record feedback system that identifies records and gives the reason why they weren't accepted.

This system offers the option of receiving an e-mail report on the records submitted for inclusion in the Locator. The report includes:

  • the number of records loaded
  • the number of records rejected
  • detailed feedback for each rejected record

The feedback on the report is very similar to the messages that were provided through the Exception Lists in the past.

Error Messages Decoded

The following error messages appear on individual MARC records in the Feedback List. A cataloger can use these messages to understand, generally, the quality of MARC records submitted.

More information about individual errors

Consortium Upload

The consortium should designate a single Locator code that will get the consortia upload feature. This should be the Locator code of the library that will be responsible for uploading all of the records for the consortium.

The consortium will need to identify where the location data is stored in the MARC records and then build a table of location codes, locator codes and e-mail notification addresses (this is the person, at each member library, who will receive the feedback report.)

SILO will add this translation table to the SILO Locator Process and prepare to receive the file of MARC records from the consortium. The consortium contact will be notified that SILO is ready to receive the file.  The translation table doesn't stick until the consortium goes through the process of uploading a MARC file. Send a small test batch of MARC records.
Use the instructions below to upload the file of consortium MARC records.

SILO Locator processing will then separate, copy and apply the Locator codes to the records as needed, then the whole file will be loaded into the Locator Database.
Each consortium member library will then receive a Feedback Report of the data load.

  1. Go to the SILO ILL System
  2. Enter Locator code of Consortium designated library                                                                                      Consortium Upload.jpeg
  3. Enter password
  4. Click "Log in"
  5. Select File Upload menu -> Consortia File Upload menu option
  6. Specify the field and subfield that contains the location identifier.
  7. If possible select the option for exact match.  Select "begins with" or "Ends with" only
  8. if exact match won't work
  9. Enter the mapping data into the text box on this page -> Click Next
  10. Select the file to upload and upload type
  11. Click "Upload File"

Records that appear to be online resource items - Form of Item Explained

    • Online resources are excluded from the Locator database and will no longer appear in search results.  MARC records for eBooks, such as those from OverDrive, are cataloged as online resources.
    • Some records for eBooks may still be found in the Locator, but they are improperly cataloged as print material.  If you find a bib record in the Locator for an eBook, please report it using the "Report Record" button in SILO ILL.
    • Bib records for electronic resources, such as materials on physical media, and direct electronic resources, such as Playaways, are retained in the Locator.
    • SILO processing of this type of MARC record has changed a few times over the years.  Several years ago SILO processing excluded all electronic resources from the Locator.  Later, SILO processing included them again, because some libraries were willing to loan Playaways and other electronic media.
    • Due to changes in cataloging rules, eBooks are now cataloged as a newer Form Of Item called an online resource.  This makes it easier to exclude materials that are only available with an account over the Internet such as eBooks from OverDrive.
    • The online resource record titles are listed on the email reports that daily file processing sends out. This is an example of how the title is flagged as appearing to be an online resource record:
      • ​​​​​​​​​​​​​​"Record will not be processed - appears to be an online resource - One of the Boys [electronic resource]. by Magariel, Daniel"

The definitions SILO Processing is following for online resource, direct electronic resource, and electronic resource are available on the Library of Congress website.  The definitions are part of field 008, character position 23, and use the codes o, q, and s.

o - Online
The resource is accessed by means of hardware and software connections to a communications network. If a distinction between types of electronic resources is not necessary, code s can be used as a generic code for any form of electronic resource.
q - Direct electronic
Storage on a directly accessible tangible recording medium, e.g. disc, tape, playaway device, flashdrive, portable hard drive, etc. If a distinction between types of electronic resources is not necessary, code s can be used as a generic code for any form of electronic resource.
r - Regular print reproduction
Eye-readable print, such as a photocopy.
s - Electronic
Intended for manipulation by a computer. The item may reside in a carrier accessed either directly or remotely, in some cases requiring the use of peripheral devices attached to the computer (e.g., a CD-ROM player). This code is not used for items that do not require the use of a computer (e.g., music compact discs, videodiscs). This code can be used as a generic code for any form of electronic resource.
Codes o and q may be used if there is a need to separately identify online and direct electronic resources.

Incomplete Cataloging 

This means that the majority of MARC records in this batch are missing one or more of the MARC tags and subfields necessary to meet the SILO Locator minimal MARC record input standards. There could be several reasons for this:

Original Cataloging

An incomplete MARC record could be the result of library staff using a cataloging tool to enter the bibliographic data. Either the tool does not ask for enough data, or the staff are choosing to enter only some of the bibliographic data. 

RECOMMENDATION: Library staff should be encouraged to discontinue the practice of original cataloging, instead they should subscribe to a cataloging service that provides high-quality MARC records. Consulting should focus on the advantages of purchasing MARC records (Accurate and complete records, faster processing time, fewer exceptions in SILO upload, more searching match points in the local catalog). The price issue could be addressed by counting the library staff's time as money.

Fast Add Record

An incomplete MARC record could be an "on the fly" or "fast add" record, created in the circulation module of an automated library system when an item with no record in the library's local database is missing and check-out is requested. Many times only brief data are entered to speed up the process. If this "on the fly" or "fast add" record is not supplemented with a full MARC record when the item is returned, this brief record is then sent to SILO upon the next file upload.

RECOMMENDATION: Library staff should keep track of which records are created "on the fly" or "fast add" either by tagging the brief record or the actual item. When the item is returned the "on the fly" or "fast add" record should be replaced by a complete and full MARC record preferably purchased from a cataloging service that provides high-quality MARC records.

Publisher Record

An incomplete MARC record could be due to records that are provided by a book jobber or publisher. Many times the free or low cost MARC records from these sources contain minimal data and not enough of the necessary tags and subfields to meet the SILO Locator minimal MARC record input standards. If these records are sent to SILO unedited, they will not be loaded into the Locator.

RECOMMENDATION: Library staff should be encouraged to discontinue obtaining MARC records from a book jobber or vendor which is providing incomplete MARC records. Instead they should subscribe to a cataloging service that provides high-quality MARC records. Consulting should focus on the advantages of purchasing MARC records (Accurate and complete records, faster processing time, fewer exceptions in SILO upload, more searching match points in the local catalog). The price issue could be addressed by counting the library staff's time as money.

Exporting Brief Records

An incomplete MARC record could be the result of exporting brief records from the library's automated library system. Even if the library's local database contains complete and full MARC records, the export process could be set to export only brief records, which abbreviates the records when they are exported. The brief records do not contain enough of the necessary tags and subfields to meet the SILO Locator minimal MARC record input standards. 

RECOMMENDATION: Encourage library to examine the export process set-up and to change to exporting full MARC records. If library staff do not know how to check the export set-up encourage them to contact the technical support offered by their automated library system vendor.

Removing items from the Locator

Delete a Holding

  1. Login to the SILO ILL system
  2. Search the Iowa Locator for the item from which you want to remove your holding code.
  3. The record with your holding code attached will show up in red in the “results list”
  4. Click on the Record number to display the long record of the item and verify that this is the correct item.  Check to be sure your library is listed at the bottom of the record in the holdings section.
  5. Click on the Delete Holding button. (If the Delete Holding button does not appear, the record you have selected DOES NOT have your holding code listed. This means that a) your holding code is attached to another record, or b) the Locator does not have your library’s record.
  6. Verify the item and click on the Delete Holding button.
  7. The Delete Item Confirmation will appear.

Holdings deleted through online delete are purged nightly.  Holdings will be removed from the Locator within 24 to 48 hours.

If your library receives an ILL request for an item you no longer own, you may reply to the request with a reason of "Do Not Own".  The holding referenced in the request will be deleted automatically.

Locator CleanUp

What does the Locator CleanUp do? 

Removes a library's outdated holdings from bibliographic records in the Locator

Why it is necessary?

To maintain the accuracy of the Locator database, so that it accurately reflects a library's local database. When a library weeds items and deletes the records from the local database, the library's holding code should be deleted from the record in the Locator.

How does it work?

  1. A library exports their entire local database to a file and uploads it to SILO.

  2. SILO processes the file by updating Locator records with a holding code and date stamp. SILO sends the library a Feedback Report by e-mail that includes the date the records were processed, the number of records that were loaded, and feedback about each of the records that could not be loaded.

  3. Upon receipt of the Feedback Report, the library looks for at least an 85% load rate
  4. Next, the library requests a Locator Cleanup by logging into the ILL System                  LCU ILL
    1. Click My Library
    2. Click Locator CleanUp Request
    3. Complete the form and click "Request"
  5. SILO starts the cleanup by searching the Locator for all records held by the library.  If the library's holding code on each record was last updated before the cleanup date, it is removed from the record.
  6. SILO sends the library a Locator Cleanup Report by e-mail that includes the date the cleanup was completed, the number of their holdings that were deleted, and the number of their holdings that remain in the Locator.

When it needs to be done?

When a library's holdings in the Locator are wildly out of sync with their local database, for example, as a result of weeding.

Upload a file of deleted items

Use this method if your automated library system is able to retain the bibliographic record even after you delete it. The most likely scenario would be that the status of the record is changed to "withdrawn", then the operator pulls all records with a status of "withdrawn" and export these into a file. This file is then uploaded to SILO using these instructions.After the file is exported, the "withdrawn" records can then be purged and permanently deleted in the local database.

  1. Login to new SILO Interlibrary Loan System
  2. Click on the File Upload tab
  3. Click on Upload Files
  4. Click on the Browse button, or Choose File button to select a single MARC file from your computer. Navigate the file selector to the disk or folder or wherever you saved your exported MARC files.
  5. From the Choose File window, navigate to the file that contains the saved MARC records.                                     
  6. Select the file then click the Open button.                                                                                      
  7. Use the Upload type drop down menu to select "Deletes"
  8. Enter an e-mail address in E-mail address if you want to receive a Feedback Reports. The email address is pre-filled with the ILL contact e-mail address for your library.
  9. Click on the Upload File button.
  10. A confirmation page will appear with the file name, and number of records.
  11. To upload more files of MARC data records, click the Submit More MARC files link at the bottom


Files uploaded will be processed and updated in the Locator by the next weekday.

How to Search the Locator

Search Criteria Defined

Locator Search Parameters

Title: phrase search of the title fields and notes field (to account for anthologies) spaces are relevant
Title Keyword: word order doesn't matter and notes field (to account for anthologies)
Title Series: Series with the same title "Title:subtitle" format

Author: "Last, First" format needs a space at least between names and comma is optional ("last, first" and "last first" both work while "last,first" would not)
Author Keyword: not space dependent nor does it require a comma (searching for Author Name would search for both Author and Name rather than the combination of both names

Subject: all subject fields merged: LOC, Dewy, ect that match meet part of this combined phrase
Subject keyword: subject listings found when viewing a record

Publication Year: 008 4 digit year exact match - 98 does not equal 1998
Publisher: keyword search

Standard numbers: keyword search, any standard number: ISBN LCCN, OCLC, etc You can use this type of search when you don't know the exact name of the standard number you have

ISSN: Serial number (like a journal)
ISBN: 10/13 digit works
UPC: Barcode video/dvd audio books
Bibnumber: Iowa Locator number for each record, marc display 001

Search Result Options

Search options: number of returned results

Sort Order:

Copyright date: newest publication dates first
Popularity: holding count per record - most first
Relevance Ranking: exact matches weigh more - ex. It by Stephan King.

Reporting Bad Records

You can help make the Locator better by reporting problems in bibliographic records. As part of the Locator Clean-up process libraries can report inaccurate or incomplete records in the Locator database.

  1. Login to SILO ILL
  2. Search for and find a record
  3. If you see inaccuracies or a very minimal bibliographic data, click the Report Record button.
  4. Write a brief statement about what's wrong with the record.
  5. Click the "Report Record" button.
  6. The report is sent to a cataloger who will fix or replace the record within 48 hours.

Reporting the sub-standard records using this method ensures that this specific record is fixed or replaced.