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Displaying Barcodes

Displaying Barcodes

This month’s collectionHQ tip is really more of my favorite feature. One of my favorite features in collectionHQ is a trick I learned from Margaret at the lecture/demo. It was displaying the barcode in printed reports. I think I had seen that it was possible while playing with collectionHQ, but when Margaret talked about it at the lecture/demo it suddenly made sense. She pointed out that it could be used on reports when you could not find the items on the shelf. *DING DING DING* The bell went off in my head. We all have phantom items. Those items which have been lingering on the in transit lists, the Dead Items Removal lists, or the Long Overdue Check lists, not because we really think they will show up again, but because who wants to type in those barcodes by hand and pull them up one by one to edit their status?

So the next time I ran a Collection Check, I printed the barcodes. I did this by running the report, then clicking on Advanced Options and selecting Yes for Show Barcode(s). When I was done looking on the shelf and had about ⅓ of the books with ⅔ of them still unaccounted for from the list, I started scanning those barcodes into a record set. From that record set I could sort by circulation status and check if any had been checked out recently, then remove those from the record set. I could sort by last activity date to see what had not been used since we changed over to Polaris and withdraw those as a lost cause. For items I still felt there was hope of finding, I could mark them missing. All of it was done in a matter of minutes, and I knew next month there would be a smaller list for me to deal with, because I’d dealt with all the phantom items.

Not able to finish it because of a program or covering a desk? No problem, since they are now in a record set, and the information is easily found after the program or the next time I have to deal with this issue. I don’t have to go hunting for the list or re-enter the data.

Using the barcodes printed on the list does take a bit of practice manipulating the paper so you only scan what you want to scan, but it is well worth it. Keying in the numbers by hand is time consuming, has a much higher risk of typos, and just didn’t get done as often as it should. The ability to print the barcodes has helped me clean up the phantom items in my collection.

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