Thursday, January 25, 2018

Using LibraryWorld for Textbook Management

At the request of our customers a few years ago, we implemented several features to help manage textbook distribution and tracking.   Although often used by schools to track textbooks being distributed to classrooms, it has also become popular in special libraries to track items being distributed to different departments.  Here is  a detailed description on how it works. 

First,  you need to catalog your textbooks.   Use the ‘New’ command in the Catalog module to create a new title.   Looking up textbooks from the built-in Z39.50 Web client may not be as successful as normal material, but worth a try.  If you do not get a hit, briefly enter bibliographic information.  Since the book will not be used in a normal library manner, the brief record should do well;  enter ISBN, title, author and perhaps publication information.  

Next, use the Add Copy command when viewing the record to add a copy.  Make sure you use a consistent location field such last ‘TEXTBOOK ROOM’ or even ’TBR’ or something similar to indicate the book is in the textbook collection area.   Place a barcode label on the book and make sure it matches the online barcode for the copy.   The call number can be simply the first eight characters of the title.  Again, this will not be shelved in a normal manner.  Last, use the ‘Save and Add Another Copy’ button to quickly add another copy to the same title and repeat. 

Now that you have all the titles and copies cataloged with the Location field consistent with the value ‘TBR’ or something similar, you are ready to start distributing your collection.    Take a set of copies, go to the circulation module and click on the Location button.   You will be prompted for a location. Enter the location the books will be sent to. This could be a classroom, teacher’s name, class subject or perhaps combination ‘SMITH 101 BIO’. Then simply using the scanner to scan each copy’s barcode.   The  location field in the copy record will be changed from ’TBR’ to ‘SMITH 101 BIO’.   There is  no due date, policies or other normal circulation activity done, you are simply changing the location field.   

So how does tracking work?  If  you go to the Reports module, there is a special report called ‘Textbook Summary by Location’ which if you run with a find set on the title,  you will  get a report displaying how many copies are in each location.  If all your titles in the library are textbook, then the report can display all titles with the number of copies in each location.   

Checking textbooks back in at the end of the school year or period is the reverse of signing them out.   Go to the Circulation module and click on the Location button.  Enter the ‘TBR’ name or what ever you used, and just start scanning.   The location of the scanned items will be updated to ‘TBR’.   After all the books are changed, you can then run the Textbook report and discover which copies are outstanding and their locations.  If there are copies outstanding you can find the catalog record and it will display which specific copies  (barcode numbers) are still missing.  

Taking it to the next level.  You can track not only which copies are assigned to a class, but also to a specific student.   After assigning the textbooks to a class, you can then checkout the book to a student.  Using the Temp Due date to assign the due date to the end of the school year or class period, will bypass the traditional circulation policies.    This might be difficult at the central textbook room, but the teacher could write down the barcode number of the copy next to a students name when distributing. They can simply send that back to you for the normal check out process.  This might be more control then necessary, but does provide two levels of tracking; by location and by student.  

We are pleased that the textbook tracking features in LibraryWorld are now being used by hundreds of school and special libraries.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Z39.50 Server Support is Now Available

Z39.50 is an international (ISO 23950) standard for computer-to-computer information retrieval. This makes it possible for a user in one system to search and retrieve information from other computer systems without knowing the search syntax used by those other systems. This is often done by a dedicated Z39.50 client program, a union catalog searching program, or even a cataloging program.
You can now allow Z39.50 clients to search your library by turning on the Z39.50 option. To do so:
  1. Open your library.
  2. Select the Settings link in the navigation bar.
  3. Select General.
  4. Click on an change the 'Allow Z39.50 client option to 'Y'.
  5. Click on the Save button
Notice there is a path underneath the option. That path is used by the Z39.50 client application to open your library to search. The path looks like:[library_name]. The brackets should be removed when using the path and any spaces in the library name should be replaced with underlines.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

New Maximum Fine Per Item Feature

You can now set a maximum fine per overdue item that overrides the library fine policies.

To set the maximum fine per item, go to the Settings->Policies page. Click on the 'Edit Default Values' link. A new field called 'Default Maximum Fine Per Overdue Item' appears. Leave it blank if you do not want a maximum fine. Enter a value to set a maximum fine. This amount will override any fines that are greater than that value when checking items in. Fines less than the value will not be effected. Fines already charged will also not be effected.

Here is a side benefit of the feature. If you want to check many books in without charging fines, you could set the Max Fine to '0.00' and check them in. Just make sure you go back and clear the value afterwards.

The LibraryWorld Team

Thursday, March 30, 2017

New Delete Fields Command

Deleting multiple fields in a catalog record can take some time. We've improved the process by adding a delete fields mode.

When editing a catalog record, there is now a new 'Delete Fields' button right next to the 'Add Field' button. If you click on this button, you go into a special mode that displays a delete button next to each field. Delete fields fast by clicking on these buttons. Remember to click on the Save button at the top to save changes to the record.

We recommend keeping fields that may be important to the integrity of the catalog record. One cataloger's worthless field maybe important to the next cataloger. You can always hide fields from patron displays by using the field suppression feature in OPAC customization settings.

We hope this feature provides a more streamlined process for editing records.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Upgrades to Checkout and Patron Pages

We are always careful about adding new features, but we thought these requests from customers were worth implementing.

While checking out items, the Comments field of the patron record is now displayed. If there is information in that field that you do not want the checkout desk to see, you'll need to delete or move the data to another field. We have also included on the checkout page a summary line that displays the total items checked out, overdue, on hold and total amount of fines.

When searching for patrons, we have added the total out, overdue and on hold for each patron in the find set.

When viewing a patron record, we created a new button to 'Pay All Fines' at once; instead of clearing them one at a time. A total amount line has also been provided at the bottom of the fines table.

Again, we know our customers appreciate a clean user interface that is uncluttered, easy to learn and easy to use. With that in mind, we hope these additions add value to the circulation process.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Customize your Z39.50 Server List

LibraryWorld has a list of Z39.50 servers that you can search and pull catalog records from; including the Library of Congress. In the past, this list was a fixed list. Recently, we have upgraded the program to allow you to remove or add servers from a larger master list.

This feature allows you to remove servers that clearly are not useful to your cataloging operations and add those that are. Although the master list is limited to about 15 servers we have tested for quality and uptime, we'll be greatly expanding that list in the coming months.

To customize the list, go to the New Record page in the Catalog module and click on 'Customize Server List'. A larger master list will appear and you can select or unselect each one. The Library of Congress server always remains as the first option in your list and cannot be removed.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Digital Documents Enhancement

When we first developed the attachment feature in LibraryWorld, it was meant to supplement catalog records with small JPEG and PDF documents of 256k or less. A few years ago we increased it to 512k, but LibraryWorld’s latest update allows users to attach PDF and JPEG documents up to 2MB to their catalog.

The files are converted into thumbnails of a PDF or JPEG and can be used as book jacket covers for a catalog record, or pictures of inventoried equipment.

Several archives use their thumbnails to display pictures of camera equipment to quickly check which of their supplies have been loaned out. Others use the feature to document films, artwork, and school supplies. Some archive pictures of the lighting, automobile, or architectural products on and off their shelves. The pictures help these organizations know exactly which supplies have been rented out on the fly.

Libraries with Standard service subscriptions can store up to 1,000 files and each file can be up to 2MB in size. Patrons can view attached documents, thumbnails and fully expanded files through the online patron access catalog (OPAC) application.