Using the Native Features of our ILS to Create an Inventory Management System
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Using its integrated library system, the Penn State University Libraries Annex is able to track inventory as material is converted from standard call number shelving to being stored in trays whose materials are affixed with location specific barcodes. The barcodes are drafted and printed by the Annex, and are divided into four parts, each part corresponding to a more precise location. In the ILS, the Annex barcode us recorded in the record and by using a macro the barcode is parsed into three searchable item category fields. Not only does this process keep track of the inventory on the shelf, but it also accounts for material that has been permanently withdrawn from the Annex’s collection by recording the width of the spine. The withdrawn material results in X number of inches of open space, which can be visualized by exporting the information from our ILS to a planograph. We can then use this information to run reports telling us exactly which tray has open space and how many inches of open space it has. After the open space has been filled, the planograph is updated and the item category fields of the withdrawn materials are cleared. We are able to accomplish all of this at zero cost and still achieve the same function as a commercial product, but without the large upfront price tag and yearly maintenance fees.