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Sorry this took so long to put together.  The last few weeks have been =
frantic.  Thank you so much to all of those who replied.

Lorraine Calabrese
Elementary Librarian
Northgate School District
Pittsburgh, Pa.

Hire? Not likely!! there was no money for collections, let alone help,
when I did the automation process.

Volunteers? Yes, if they will commite to being trained AND to sticking
with the project until done (doesn't have to be every day; that may make
it easier to get parental help.) Ask the PTA.

Divide barcodes into manilla folders by Dewey number or collection (i.e.
Reference separate from rest of collections) -- it will take several
folders for the 900s in a HS library; maybe more in the 400s and 600s in
elementary schools.

Have time to do this in order on the shelves, WITHOUT interruptions. If
you have multiple copies of a title, check the list in the computer, or
you WILL put the wrong barcode on the wrong copy! Then just put barcodes
on, wherever you've decided (I chose inside front cover; some others use
the outside back cover, altho' I find that those barcodes wear off
faster, and are more tempting to those who want to write on the barcode
(thus making it unreadable).=20

If you find a barcode that doesn't match a book, just leave it on the
sheet. It took me about 3 times through before I got all the barcodes =
Keep the barcodes you're not actively working with at the circ desk, so
if a student wants to check out a book that is without a barcode yet, =
won't have to say "Sorry".

We've done it very successfully with parent volunteers using smart =
I allowed a junior to do some of my 800's with a scout group, and we did
have some problems with some of these. I had to have an adult go back =
check each book.
I have a 22,000 book collection. It took a while (maybe 2 weeks). But =
library was open and we couldn't work on it constantly.

This was some years ago...but I know it worked well for us, didn't take =
long and we have found very few mistakes.

I barcoded my library three years ago, so I can tell you how I did it.
I did it myself with the help of my clerk. I would section off shelves =
books I wanted to get done(using colored cloth tape and stretching it =
the shelves) and then waited for the majority of the checked out books =
to be
returned and shelved. Then I took a table over to the section to make a
work area. Sometimes, I would use the help of older students to place
barcode protectors over the barcodes to speed along the process. At the =
of the year, I still wasn't finished, so the distict hired two clerks to
help me finish within a week. We did finish and I sent off my shelf =
I've heard about too many horrible mistakes being made by
volunteers(putting two identical barcodes on two different books and
mismatching the barcodes on the shelflist card and the book). Unless, =
had someone very dedicated and can follow directions, I wouldn't try =
volunteers. GOOD LUCK!

With your Follett did you also purchase the Alliance software with the =
records for many commonly-held books? If so, your work may be a lot =
I did all the retroactive conversion--barcoding and setting up
records--myself for a very small collection of around 2,500 items. I'd
estimate about 85 percent were available in the current Alliance or =
Vintage CD-ROMs, and the process only took 3 weeks. Of course, I had the
luxury of working only on the re-con during that time--no students or =
Well, almost none. Once they caught on that I wasn't letting anything go
until the process was completed, they left me alone.

I did the work myself on this small collection. For one reason, I was a
brand new LMS and needed to learn the collection. I also was careful to =
each item through the whole process of entering a MARC record and =
the barcode to the item myself. I was afraid I'd end up mismatching =
and books if I didn't. Only twice did I inadvertently move on to the =
item without affixing the barcode sticker to the previous one. On one
occasion I was 3 items down the pike before I caught my omission, but =
2,500 items to catalogue I thought those were respectable rates of =

A colleague who had to do a lot more scratch entries and left that to a
colleague did report the kinds of problems you allude to. Three years =
she's still correcting misspellings that cause dead ends on searches =
she KNOWS should lead to items in the collection.

If you have the CD-ROM MARC records, there is no reason someone else can =
the searching. I do suggest that they try all 3 types before giving
up--title, author, and subject word. The series search also made for =
data entry on some groups of books. Good luck with your efforts to =
Even in our small library media center it's been a delight to have the =
search capabilities, inventory options, etc.

I was at an elementary school when our district automated. This
was about 14 years ago. We used several of our regular library
volunteers, plus my excellent adult aide. We did most of the
collection--probably about 10,000 items--in just a couple of days.
(This was before the start of school.) They did a very good job, with
almost no errors. It makes the job more pleasant to have a group
working together, I think.
I provided lunch for all who helped.

I did it 5 years ago when I had a collection of around 5000 items. I =
just put
the bar codes on the books myself starting with # 1.
All my bar codes from follett had the titles on them. With the shelves =
good order, a little at a time they got barcoded. I did it at a time =
when I
didn't have flexible scheduling and circulation continued with cards and
pockets till I could give some lessons on the new system. I had the kids =
scan their own check-ins/outs right from the start and it has worked =
well. I
was reluctant to use volunteers because I was not sure how it would =
Think about where you want to place the barcodes. It makes a difference =
you use a scanner to take inventory.

Good luck with the barcoding process, Lorraine. I am in the middle of it =
I felt compelled to offer you support.=20
I just finished my first year as LMS in an elementary with grades 1 &=20
2 only. The collection was about 8,000 books. We sent out the shelf list =

last fall before I had a chance to fully update it. So now the barcoding =

task is overwhelming. I am withdrawing as I go along- that's one cart,=20
making changes in cataloging some books -on another, and the third cart =
for books that are not in the shelf list catalog (no barcodes). I expect =
be fixing errors for a long time. We are using Mandarin, by the way.=20
The barcoding itself is not that time consuming. But, the other thing=20
I forgot to do was order barcode protectors. So we'll have to go back =
and do=20
that afterwards too. My aide is very capable and so we are able to work =
by side. She's doing picture books, I'm almost finished with the=20
non-fiction. We are getting a little extra paid time this summer to work =
it. I got a week's pay, she got 2 weeks. Of course, it's still not =
I have decided I can only do what I can do. One day at a time. My =
is also willing to delay opening the library in September. Of course the =

faculty will not be thrilled with that plan. I intend to circulate only =
which is barcoded and will restrict the children to selecting material =
from a=20
specified section or table. Eventually it will get done.=20
If you can get competent volunteer help, go for it. They can easily=20
find the correct book on the list match it to the shelf, and find the =
bar code. You can assign a small section at a time.=20
Hope it goes smoothly---=20

I did this for an elementary school with Follett about 15 years ago and =
did it "on the run". It was a year round school and there really wasn't =
time off to do it. I had a secretary, some volunteers (2) and a few 6th
grade student helpers. We continued using the card and pocket method =
we had bar-coded enough books. We bar-coded the areas with the biggest
circulation's first, easy and the most popular areas of non-fiction. We
taught the kids that if the book had a label with "zebra stripes" they =
to get in one line at the counter and if they did not they were to get =
the card-signing line. It of course got better and better as time went =
Our barcode numbers were the same as the old accession numbers and so we =
to find the correct barcode on the many sheets of barcodes. At the time =
had about 10,000 books. We would barcode books that had been returned
before we reshelved them. It didn't take very many weeks before all the
books were bar-coded.

I had a "barcode party". I had coffee, soda, chips and dip (in a safe
place) and invited parents to come in and help. We had a great time =
and barcoding the books.

My district paid myself and my aide to do it...we also did not finish =
before school started and another woman came in and she was not =
supervised. No....do not use volunteers. Ask the distict for at least 40 =
hours for you and your aide and do it right from the start. The other =
woman made mistakes as did I and we corrected them all year. My aide =
found all the mistakes...she is a gift from heaven.

also it depends on how accurate the retrospective conversion was=20

We printed our own barcodes in shelflist order. I'm assuming that yours=20
will come in that way. Either my aide or myself did most of the=20
barcoding. I think that in the HS library I had a student assistant and =
student volunteer who helped (need a very conscientious person, very =
oriented). We just started at the 000 and worked our way around the=20
room. Any book that we didn't find a barcode for went on a cart. Then we =

dealt with those later. The HS we barcoded during the school year. We=20
continued paper circ. for a few weeks, making sure that we did not =
an unbarcoded book into the barcoded area. It went really quite=20
smoothly. In the elem. we barcoded before opening the library in fall. =
I recall we did about 7000 items in just a couple of days. I'm a pretty=20
speedy barcoder! We are still (after 5 years) finding a rare error, but=20
overall there are very few.

I used my regular volunteers. Everybody was pretty careful and I don't
recall any instance of putting the wrong barcode on the wrong book.

We did all our data entry using parent volunteers. I had parents putting =
bar codes whiles others were entering the brief records into a data =
program for Alexandria. We placed the bar codes on the top left corner =
the cover. Some were placed too close to the spine. I like to have space =
add a protector if it's needed later. Just watch that it's not too close =
the edge where the cover bends.

Affixing the barcodes to the books and audiovisual items is a great =
for volunteers. Ask your PTA for help.

Entering the info into the computer should be done by you unless you =
have an=20
exceptional computer-literate parent volunteer or regular clerical =
whom you can easily train. The fewer people involved in your entry work, =

the more consistent your database will be. (but then, maybe you're one =
the lucky ones who paid a company to do the data entry for you.)

I did it with volunteers and had good results. I did it a bit =
differently than
most people, I think. Our shelf list was in good condition so I first
downloaded all the MARC records from Alliance using the shelf list. I =
had some
volunteers do this, but mostly it was myself and my assistant. Then we =
had a
"Bar Code Bash" with volunteers. I printed out a list of our entire =
by shelf order that included the bar code numbers assigned to each book =
had the volunteers match the barcodes with the correct book and put them =
the book. We fed them pizza for lunch and they had a good time doing it. =
think it took us two days of BarCode BAshing to complete the process. We =
approximately 8,000 books in our collection. We find a mistake =
but overall it was very successful.

We did it in a solid week (in the summer library closed) with about 6 =
some of them there each day) RELIABLE volunteers. My collection was =
8500 at the time. Really not many problems--a few but they were easy to
correct. It is a big BORING job! I have helped others do it. Too bad you =
a 4 hour drive away, I'd offer to come and stick a few on with you.

The actual barcoding part can be done by parent volunteers or proctors. =
barcoding part isn't the important part. The initial inventory is what =
important. After the books have been imported into the automation system
you have chosen, the initial inventory will show you which books did not
transfer and need individual attention. That's always so much fun.=20

I did it with one clerk and two volunteers. All reliable folks - and=20
yes, we fixeed stuff - human error - nothing is perfect. Took a year to=20
get the whole collection (over 12,000 items) entered. My clerk and I=20
worked 40 hours over the summer which gave us a huge head start.=20

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