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04-19 Barcodes Gone Bad

Barcodes Gone Bad

Have you ever tried to scan an item in, only to be told that the barcode is not found? There are a number of reasons for this, but a common reason is that at the time of linking or other record maintenance, the barcode field was compromised. Maybe you scanned the ISBN barcode instead of the BCCLS barcode, maybe your finger slipped and you hit the 4 or the $ and that populated the barcode field, maybe you scanned the barcode twice. Whatever the reason, those bad barcodes are hanging around, just waiting to impede your checkout flow. But bad barcodes don't have to stay that way. The path to barcode redemption is easy. Follow these steps and turn those bad barcodes good again.

You can choose your path to redemption: use Simply Reports and the super-sortable Excel sheet it generates to manually adjust records or save your list as a Record Set in Polaris and work directly from LEAP. I'm a fan of Excel. I love sorting and scrolling and find that I get a better sense of the list that way, but you are still able to sort in LEAP and have the extra bonus of being able to make record corrections directly from the list. You do you.

For Excel sorting:

  1. Log in to Simply Reports and select Items > Item list reports from the top menu. Next, choose your columns for output. For our purposes, select item barcode, item assigned collection name, and MARC title. By choosing item assigned collection, you will be able to kill two bad birds with one stone (see below):

  2. Scroll down and select your assigned branch. Click Submit.

  3. Your results will look something like this. At this point you can choose to download your results as an Excel spreadsheet or create an item record set from the results.

  4. Once you've downloaded your Excel spreadsheet, it's time to sort. Highlight the column you want to sort (in this case, Item Barcode) and in the top right corner of the Home tab of the Excel sheet, find the Sort & Filter option. Use the dropdown menu to select Sort smallest to largest. Your column will sort accordingly.


  5. If you have bad barcodes, your sorted list will look something like this:

    In this example, someone scanned the ISBN into the barcode field rather than the barcode itself. You might also see a single number, an alphabetic error, or just about any outlier. Don't forget to also scroll to the bottom of the list to see numbers that are “greater” than your barcode sequence. If you double scanned a barcode or fell asleep while holding down the 9 key on your keyboard, these outliers would appear there at the bottom. Alternatively, you can just resort the column by choosing Sort & Filter and Sort largest to smallest.

  6. While you're there, you can sort the Collection Name field alphabetically and scan the Title column for those outliers as well (e.g. fiction linked as nonfiction). You might consider adding call number to your columns for output in order to do this more easily.

  7. Once you've identified the bad barcodes, find the items in LEAP (see LEAP training materials for more details) and either amend their barcodes and/or collections as you would if you were linking the items OR delete the item records if they are 'dummy items' whose correct barcodes were already linked successfully.

  8. Repeat periodically as needed.

For Record Set sorting:

  1. Repeat steps 1 & 2 from the Excel sorting instructions.

  2. Instead of clicking the box for Download report output, choose Create item record set from report results. When you click the box it will ask you to name the report. Please choose something unique to distinguish it from other record sets that may have been created. Click the icon for Save record set. Your record set is now saved in LEAP. Let's go find it.

  3. Log in to LEAP. At the top left of the screen is your search bar. Click on FIND at the right of the Search bar.

  4. You will be brought to the Find Tool. You will need to change the default search to Record Set. Click on the the first word that appears to the left (in this example "Patron").

  5. This will open a drop-down menu. Choose Record Set.

  6. Enter your record set Name into the search field and hit Enter or click Search (magnifying glass). Your record set will appear in the list below.

  7. Click on the entry and click Open or double click the entry to open the record set. You can now go sorting crazy by clicking on the column title of the column you wish to sort by. Please note that record sets over 500 items require you to click MORE at the bottom of the page in order to access the full item list. You MUST make sure all entries are visible before sorting for it to sort the entire list correctly. Just as with the Excel sort, your outliers will appear at the top and bottom of the list, and you can resort after you've corrected items at the top in order to avoid having to scroll all the way to the bottom.

  8. Now, you can click on any entries that need fixing and open the item record. Make sure you are on the Details tab and that your cursor is positioned in the field you'd like to change. You will know you are there because the field will have a blue border around it when active.

  9. Scan or enter the correct barcode in the field and click the green Save button on the top right. If the item record saves successfully, click Close and repeat steps 7 & 8. If the corrected barcode already exists in another item record, a message will appear warning you that a duplicate item record has been detected. Click CANCEL (do not click Save Provisionally as this creates an unusable 'hidden' item record).
  10. You can now delete this 'dummy item' since you know the barcode is already linked correctly in another item record. Click Actions at the top right, select Delete from the drop-down menu, then click Continue to complete the deletion.
  11. Repeat steps 7-10 as needed for the remaining bad barcodes.

Et voila! Your bad barcodes are good again.

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