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Thanks to all who responded to my request for information about the best
barcode symbology.  The short answer seems to be--It depends.  Therefore I
didn't get a definitive answer, but I did get some excellent tips and
things to consider.  The responses are listed below.  Thanks to all who

They are similar things.

Decision made consider:
1. the printing software
2. the barcode reader decode ability
3. label size and the printer


I can surely state that barcode system is more and more reliable and
faster to operate.
We have been using this system for 2 years and everything is perfect, the
speed of the check in and out has increased.

If you have any questions feel free to contact me.

"Gurgen L. Perkelian HUJ '95-6" <AUASTUD@aua.am>

One big piece of advice is to get what are called "Smart" Bar Codes.  It
is a type of bar code, not a brand.  The reason it is smart is that every school
will have it's own unique set of bar code numbers.  I am not sure how it works
but I believe that each school is assigned a unique number and each bar code number
for that school starts with that number.  For instance,  Lake View Elementary
might always start with O14 so it's barcodes would be 014 - 1, 014 - 2, 014 -3..... 
 Gompers Elementary's number
might be 015 so their bar codes would be 015 - 1; 015 - 2; 015 - 3..... That way
when you do interlibrary loans books don't get mixed up.  Our district screwed
up in this respect which has been annoying up to now, but has created an even
bigger problem since we're converting to a union catalog.  Because every library's
materials are essentially going into one big pot they have got to have unique bar
codes.  This means we have to re-barcode every item in the district  - 44 schools
(5 High Schools; 10 middle schools and 29 elementaries)  You don't want to do



If you have a good barcode reader (light pen, laser scanner, etc.) it can
read all the major symbologies.  Pick the one that you can get the
cheapest.  Code 39 is probably the most common in libraries.

Carol Simpson                                   csimpson@tenet.edu


I use (and like) the 14 digit 3of9 system. That is what our Winnebago
system requires. I suspect that your automation system will specify a particular
type of symbology for their program.
   The 14 digit number breaks down like this:
200412163129  (this one is totally made up so the checksum probably isn't

        2  0041  216312  9
        |   |      |     |
        |   |      |     ->  checksum digit created by the automation system
        |   |      ->        the actual discrete barcode number for the book
        |   ->               indicates which library the book belongs to.
        |                       we used the number that the state assigned
        |                       to our campus. it's also used by the business
        |                       office
        ->                   I don't remember what this one is

   This system will allow us to create a district union catalog without
rebarcoding anything. All of our libraries use the same system, but the HS has the
300,000 discrete numbers, elem has 400,000, inter has 100,000. This gives us 2
different parts of the number to differentiate between campuses: the campus number
assigned by the state and the discrete item number determined by campus.
   This may actually be more complicated than we will need, but we wanted
to be sure we didn't have to rebarcode the collections in the future.

 Melissa Davis <mbdavis@tenet.edu>


We used Interleave 2 of 5 with our Follett Circ Plus.  Now that we are on
Alexandria by COMPanion we use Code 3 of 9 as well as Interleave 2 of 5.  I
think you want to choose a symbology that will work with numerous systems just in
case you switch as we did.  I think the Codeabar on uses more digits so that you can
imbed more local info into your barcode.  When your light pen malfunctions or
won't read the Barcode you will have to enter each digit by hand so that may be a
consideration for you when you choose symbology and length of the digits.



Before you barcode any books, I would recommend knowing what system you
will be using.  Different systems recommend different barcodes.  Don't make the
mistake of getting your books barcodes by your vendors for the "future".  Do get
the data disks, but leave barcodes off until you knowwhat will be required.  It is
quick and easy to barcode later.

 Cheryl King <cak@kuentos.guam.net>


Thanks again to all who responded.

Mavis Catalfio
Elementary Technology Media Specialist
Jay Schools
Portland, IN 47371

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