[Koha] Bar code scanners

Rob & Janet Weir robweir at fastmail.fm
Fri Jul 4 15:30:53 NZST 2003

Thanks for the good information, Albert. Could someone please clarify if it
is possible to turn off the checksum algorithm in koha for item barcodes so
that we can do as Albert suggests and use barcodes without a checksum digit?

 I see a setting for checkdigit in system preferences, but the description
seems to indicate it affects only the member number. There is another
setting in system preferences for autoBarcode. Could someone please explain
what that does? Does that just automatically generate the next number in
sequence using koha's algorithm as you add new items?

Thanks, Rob

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Albert P. Calame" <albert.p.calame at sympatico.ca>
To: <baljkas at mb.sympatico.ca>; "cliver" <cliver at alphalink.com.au>;
<espruill at rmsel.org>
Cc: <koha at lists.katipo.co.nz>
Sent: Monday, June 30, 2003 11:25 PM
Subject: Re: [Koha] Bar code scanners

> Hi All!
>     The standard subfield to contain the barcode in the 852 tag of MARC21
> subfield p. (ie. 852 $p). This is used by most Library Management Systems
> North America today. It was based on a protocol called MicroLIF that was
> up by a group of software providers, book vendors (who supply  records
> the books they sell) and librarians (The format was approved finally by
> MARBI which is supposed to do such things ALA, Library of Congress, etc.
> originally formulated around 1991 for transmitting MARC records on
> diskette.)
>      Many proprietary Library automation systems have used barcode
> symbologies that required you to purchase barcodes from the software
> (to provide an additional revenue stream for them, perhaps).  Codabar and
> Code 39 (also known as Code 3 of 9) have been commonly used, as well as
> Interleave 2 of 5 as symbologies.  To keep things simple, I'd suggest you
> use Code 39, which is an alpha-numeric symbology that may allow you to
> incorporate your library holding symbol as part of your barcode, thus
> the numbers unique to your own collection. (e.g.. One library near me has
> National Library of Canada Holding Symbol or Collection Code of QMsb.
> are using barcodes starting with QMSB000001. It does help to uniquely
> identify where the books come from). You can also put an alpha indicator
> the Patron barcodes so you don't mix them up. (In early days we used the
> same barcodes for books and patrons, and it became possible to check
> out to books if you scanned barcodes in the wrong order!!)
>     I'd further suggest that you use the simplest form of the code without
> check digit. This means that you don't have to have some code in the
> that recognizes the type of barcode and further decodes it so that the
> value returned to the computer when the barcode is scanned is the same as
> the value stored in the record.  I have had many problems, and some
> collections had to be completely rebarcoded, when a library needed to
> software because they used a special code that had a special algorithm
> included, and the number you got back from scanning the barcode was not
> same as the value you had in your record.
>     By doing this, you should have no problem using any keyboard wedge
> scanner with koha, or any other type of software that comes along later.
> (Not that you'll ever need to change because koha will meet all our needs
> eventually!! ;-)  )
>     My two cents worth!
> Regards,
> Al Calame
> Librarian-at-Large,
> Albert P. Calame Consulting
> Montreal, Québec, Canada
> 514-745-3424
> albert.p.calame at sympatico.ca

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