Grouping and Ungrouping Records


Grouped Works

In this section, learn about:

  • How to manually group and ungroup works


Aspen Discovery displays different formats of the same title together -- this is what we call the Grouped Work. 


Click Here to learn about Grouped Work Display settings.

Click Here to learn about Grouped Work Facets.


Grouping Records

Aspen looks at four things to when determining whether records should be grouped together: Title, Author, Language and Expression of the Work.

Once Aspen has stripped out excess punctuation or dates, if the title and author match, are in the same expression of the work and in the same language, the records will be grouped.


For groupings by title, Aspen will first look at 130 (Uniform Title) subfields a, b, m, n, p and s and then 245 a, b, f, n and p.

For grouping by author for the Book format, Aspen will check these fields in this order: 100a, 110ab, 245c, 710a, 260b, 264b.

For grouping by author/publisher for other formats, Aspen will check these fields in this order: 100a, 110ab, 710a, 260b, 264b, 245c.

For grouped work title display, Aspen will use 245 subfields a, b, f, m, o, p, s. For author display, Aspen uses 100 a and d.


If a staff member has permissions to manually group and ungroup works, you are able to manually group records together or ungroup them if they should display separately in search results.

Fields Aspen Uses for Grouping vs. Display

Fields Used For Grouping

Aspen is looking for grouping matches on:

  • Same title
  • Same author (or publisher, if 'author' isn't applicable for the format)
  • Same expression of the work (ex: book will not group with dvd)
  • Same language (ex: Spanish book will not group with English book)

For groupings by title, Aspen will first look at 130 (Uniform Title) subfields a, b, m, n, p and s and then 245 a, b, f, n and p.

When making title groupings, Aspen doesn't consider parts of titles that end with: stories, an autobiography, a biography, a memoir, a novel of, poems, the movie, large print, graphic novel / the graphic novel / a graphic novel, magazine, audio cd, book club kit, with illustrations, book, the original classic edition, illustrations, classic edition, a novel, large type edition, a story, a mystery, a thriller, series book, trilogy book, chronicles

Aspen also strips out the following words: 'Book Club', 'Award Winner', 'Read with Jenna' when grouping with Libby titles.

Aspen will only strip 'by' clauses in titles when 'by' is followed by the author's name.

For grouping by author for the Book format, Aspen will check these fields in this order: 100a, 110ab, 245c, 710a, 260b, 264b.

For grouping by author/publisher for other formats, Aspen will check these fields in this order: 100a, 110ab, 710a, 260b, 264b, 245c.

Fields Used for Group Work Display

This is what displays in the search results for title and author.

For grouped work title display, Aspen will use 245 subfields a, b, f, m, o, p, s.

Because there are so many formats and bib records in a grouped work, sometimes Aspen has to standardize what displays. Aspen will prefer the Book format cataloging, then eBook, and longest title. It will also prefer 130 field (Uniform Title) over 245 since it's supposed to vary less than the 245. Aspen automatically adds a : (colon) to separate out main title and subtitle.

For author display, Aspen uses 100 a and d.

In the search results, the normalized value from all the included records will show.


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Grouping Categories

Aspen uses expression of the work as one of the factors when grouping various formats together. This way, you don't have movie version of the title grouping with written expressions. 

You can see the grouping category for any given record by clicking into the record, then opening Staff View > Grouping InformationGrouping Category.


The Grouping Category determined largely by the Format Category in the Format Map. This can be found in Aspen Administration > ILS Integration > Indexing Profiles > click into settings > Format Information. When the Format Category changes, the Grouping Category column will dynamically update to show the grouping category. 


For item level format determination, format categories are set by the libraries in the Format Map.

For bib level format determination, these categories are hard-coded into Aspen. For example, a bib level format of Xbox One will have a grouping category of Other. A bib level format of DVD will have a grouping category of Movies. 

The categories are:

  • Audio Books, Books, eBook (These group together)
  • Movies
  • Music
  • Other

Neither format categories nor grouping categories can be edited. Categories cannot be added or removed.

When the Format label contains Graphic Novel, Manga, Comic or eComic, the grouping category will automatically update to Comic.


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Group Within Search Results

If you have grouping permissions, a Group With button will show in search results.


Group This With Another Work

Once you click Group With, a box pops up that allows you to select the title to group with from a drop down menu. The search result you choose will be the primary work. The options in the dropdown are in the order that they currently display in the search results. 

Libraries typically like the Primary Work to be the item that they've cataloged (as opposed to the cataloged record from an econtent provider). 



Simply select the title you want to group with and then click Group. Aspen will automatically reindex the title within a few minutes and will display the updated information in search results. When titles have been grouped, you will see the alternate title and author information that was created during the grouping process within the staff view for the title.



These alternate titles and authors can be deleted to make the records ungroup again if you grouped titles incorrectly or want to change the primary work for titles.

Group With Work in Staff View

Staff members with the appropriate permissions also have the option to manually group in from Staff View for individal Grouped Works or records.

If you have grouping permissions, navigate to the Grouped Work that you want to be your Primary Work and copy its Grouped Work ID to your clipboard. Then navigate to the secondary grouping record(s) and scroll down to Staff View. Click the Group With Work button.



The Group This With Another Work modal will appear with a textbox instead of a dropdown. Paste the Group Work ID that you copied from the primary work earlier and enter it into the textbox. Press the Group button.


Manual Grouping Authorities

A record of all the works that have been grouped are stored in Aspen Administration > Catalog / Grouped Works > Manual Grouping Authorities. As the list grows, there are Filters at the top available to search and sort the results. 

Note: The Grouped Work ID is the unique identifier of the entire grouping of a work.

Author Authorities

Author Authorities

When authors go by more than one name or their name has different spellings or nicknames, the name variations can prevent titles from grouping in Aspen. The Author Authority setting allows you to choose a name variation as the authority and provide multiple variants to help Aspen recognize which titles should group together.

This setting does not affect search results or change anything in the display of search results or records in Aspen. This only relates to record grouping.

For Koha libraries, Author Authorities will automatically load into Aspen and be used for grouping. 

You will find this in Aspen Discovery Administration > Catalog/Grouped Works > Author Authorities.

To add an authority, click "Add New."

Next, add the authoritative version of the author name and click Save Changes and Return. You do not need to add anything to Normalized Value or Date Added -- these fields will be completed automatically upon saving.

Your new authority now appears on your list of authorities. Click Edit to add name variants under Alternative Names.

Notice that the Date Added and Normalized Value fields usually now have data. These are created during a background indexing process, so if they’re not there immediately, they will be generated within 5-10 minutes.

To add a name variant, click Add New and enter an Alternative Name. You can leave the Normalized Value field blank, as it will be automatically generated after you save and the authority is indexed. You can now click Add New to add as many name variants as you need, and when you are done, save your changes.

When you are done adding name variants, you can click Return to List to see the complete list of authorities.

Ungroup Records

Users with permission to group also have permissions to ungroup.

Occasionally you might notice editions/records that should appear separately from other records in the search results. For example: particular illustrated versions of a text, or graphic novels with the same title and author as the "regular" print version. 

In the below example, you can see the illustrated version of Chamber of Secrets has grouped with the regular print edition.


In these cases, you can ungroup individual records from others in the grouped work.

To ungroup a record, click into the specific edition/record that you'd like to split out from the rest, and then open up Staff View. Clicking Ungroup will immediately ungroup this record from the others. The next time the indexing process runs (within a few minutes), that record will split off from the grouped work and appear on its own in search results.


Once the record has ungrouped, you will see a new section within Staff View called Record Ungrouped. Here, you can click Allow to Group to undo the ungrouping. 


Each time you ungroup a record, a corresponding entry will be created in  Aspen Administration > Catalog/Grouped Works > Records to Not Group.


Each entry will show you the Record ID of the record that was ungrouped. You can also edit the entry to leave a note about why the record was ungrouped, the date, staff member's initials, etc. Deleting an entry in Records to Not Group will also allow that record to group with other records again if the ungrouping was an error.

To jump directly to an ungrouped record from this screen, you can plug the record id at the end of your Aspen URL in this format:




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Troubleshooting: What can I do if my records will not group?

If you want to try troubleshooting grouping issues on your own, below are a few methods the ByWater support team uses for initial triage.


Records to Not Group

Check Aspen Administration > Catalog/Grouped Works > Records to Not Group to see if either of the things you are trying to group have been added to that list by mistake.

You can also check if something has been added to this list in Staff view. Click the Allow to Group button if it appears.

Grouping Information

Compare the grouping information of the records/grouped works in Staff view.

Title, author, and grouping category should be the same or similar. Grouping category is arguably the most important match.

Author Authorities

Add Author Authorities for records not grouping due to author variants in grouping information. See the Author Authorities section above to learn more about author authorities.

Manual Grouping Authorities

Check Aspen Administration > Catalog / Grouped Works > Manual Grouping Authorities for duplicate grouping requests. Delete any duplicate grouping authorities OR delete all grouping authorities pertaining to the records that are not grouping to "reset" any past grouping work.

Note: Make sure to select only the relevant authorities and use the Batch Delete Selected button when clearing out duplicates.

Check the URL for the Language Code


Go to the Grouped Work of each of the records that is not grouping and look at the URL. Aspen will not group records of two different languages.

In the Grouped Work URL, the language code will be there. In this case, it was eng and spa title trying to be grouped that wasn't working. Sometimes, it will say 'und' for undefined. You may be able to update your cataloging to make the language codes match. If it is an econtent record with an issue, reach out to that service provider.



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Tutorial Video