[Koha] Having more than one 'barcode' for an item

James Weinheimer j.weinheimer at aur.edu
Wed Mar 14 00:30:13 NZDT 2007

> The issue isn't so much the work of sticking barcodes on items, although
> even just buying appropriate labels to print barcodes on is difficult in
> Nigeria!  It was more to reduce manual data entry, barcode readers are
> going to be expensive and difficult to procure here and when they fail
> (as they inevitably will) it will take time to get replacements.

Our library just recently got our barcode reader (single!) going. In my own
opinion, it's not the fact that the number can be read by a mechanical
device or not, it's the workflow requirements for placing the same unique
number on the physical item and in the catalog record. When you do the loan,
the number can be put in manually by the library assistant (as some of our
people do), or mechanically (where the one lucky person sits!).

I worked at a very large library for many years where approximately 90% of
the collection was not barcoded, and this equalled millions of items. The
task of matching a specific item with the specific record in the catalog is
an additional task and turned out to be very difficult. And, once you have
gone live with the circulation system, there is an incredible time
constraint: people don't like to wait while you find the record and place
the barcode on it. So, they had a unit that added barcodes to the records
after the items returned. Boring!

In my library, I have a slightly different problem. We have a small
collection, so everything is barcoded, but when I converted everything from
an older catalog into Koha, I managed to get everything EXCEPT the barcodes.
(Problems of a proprietary database! They wouldn't extract the barcodes for
me!) I'm trying to figure out a workaround, but it can be rather hectic at

It is just much easier for the cataloger to add the barcode during
processing. A few extra keystrokes and it's done, but doing it afterwards
takes 10 times as much work.


James Weinheimer  j.weinheimer at aur.edu
Director of Library and Information Services
The American University of Rome
via Pietro Roselli, 4
00153 Rome, Italy
voice- 011 39 06 58330919 ext. 327
fax-011 39 06 58330992

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