Library Tech Tip

Scanning Barcodes from Book Covers when Cataloging Items

Please be aware when scanning the barcode on the back of an item. Scanning usually gives you the ISBN but occasionally (especially in older items) it gives you a UPC code.  Consequently,  UPC code will not find the items requested for MARC records or in Horizon. 

The picture shows an example – you can see that the number beneath the barcode is not the same as the ISBN.  In this case, you’ll have to type the ISBN in the MARC record request form or in your search in Horizon.  Please do not include dashes when entering  an ISBN number.  

Q: I’ve always had a question about the dvd codes-they are not the isbn on the back, but I scan them because there is no other number and I thought it was helpful. Is there an ISBN # somewhere on the dvd’s that I’m just not seeing?

A: Most DVD’s don’t have ISBN’s.  Scanning the barcode on the back is helpful.  Unlike book marc records, the UPC code on DVD’s is included in some marc records.  So, for DVD’s, keep on scanning.

Library Tech Tip #2

Requesting Specific Copies in Horizon

Requesting books and other items in Horizon works pretty well most of the time. Horizon has some behind the scenes logic that works to get the item to the patron in the most efficient way. Staff can help patrons be successful with requests if they know some of the tricks.  You can request a specific copy for a patron – but should you?  Read on…

dialog box to choose this copy only

1.      Using the Enterprise Catalog, Patrons are limited to placing requests on the title (or the bibliographic record), not on the individual copy.  So a patron may get any one (usually the first available) of the available copies listed. 

2.       When a patron places a request, and there are no items available right now, the request will wait for an eligible item to be checked in somewhere.  There may be a lot of the copies are “New Fiction” and are therefore restricted to their home patrons. However, the “Lease Books” from CEFLS and the “Fiction” from other libraries will be able to fill a request from any library when they get returned. 

3.       The first eligible item to be returned will be tagged to fill the request for the next person in the queue. If patrons were able to choose which copy they requested, the chances of getting it quickly would be greatly reduced.

4.       Staff members can use Horizon a little differently.  They CAN choose a specific copy. Most of the time it doesn’t make sense to do that, because you don’t know which copy will become available the soonest, or if the one you choose will end up marked “trace”.  

5.       However, sometimes you are placing a request and want to only use your own copy to fill the request.  There is also the rare case when the copies are actually different from each other, such as a multi-volume set of books or DVDs where volumes 1-5 are separately barcoded, but are on the same bibliographic record, for example.  You will need to help your patron in that case so they get Volume 1 first!

As a staff member, in Horizon, you have the ability to highlight the exact copy you or your patron wants. To do this, after highlighting the copy, use the menu to bring up the request window, and check the box that says “This Copy Only.”

It’s a handy tool, but use it sparingly to get the full benefit of Horizon’s efficient request filling powers!

Also, be careful to choose the correct pickup location – and if you are talking to patrons who use the request system please mention that to them. Occasionally things go the REALLY long way to their destination.

Q: It is my understanding that if my library owns a book, let’s say Educated  and it is out on ILL and one of my patrons requests it.  Doesn’t my copy come home to my patron before going to let’s say Peru even if my patron is farther down the waiting list?

A: Yes, that’s true.  When your patron puts in a request for a book you own, they will be first in the queue for that copy.