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Circulation function

Automation of circulation function

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Lydia

15-May-2009 12:45

Greetings. I am a sure of Cardbox 3.0 for managing our library and I would like to automate the circulation function.Please advise me what I can do.

Charles Welling

20-May-2009 09:34

Lydia, the lack of response should have told that no one will be able to answer your question. You're not the first user, and you will not be the last, who asks a question without telling us what you want. The answer to "I would like to automate the circulation function" is: "automate it". But that is not going to get you anywhere.

Be specific and you'll get specific answers. So you probably have a database with magazines, books or excerpts. You have a list of people who are your customers. Are they in a database too? Then what? Would you like to send them the hard copies or would you like to send them an e-mail telling them a certain title has arrived? Do your customers always receive the same information or do they have interest profiles?
You need to tell us what kind of data you have stored in your databases, how it's organised and how you would like to make it work for you.

bert

20-May-2009 10:46

It is almost impossible to advise or build an application by this list.
Nevertheless, I will try...

I build a circulation function for several of my customers.
Each magazine (or whatever) has one record. In that record you can also add your subscribers.
When you receive a new number, you can add the number, date, year of that magazine (field last_item") and when it is put into circulation.
This all is done by a macro which also removes the last_item data to field "old_items". After entering your data, the macro prints direct a circulation slip (format A5). The printer has a special tray for it.

Because most users prefer printing a slip in a table-format (borders), and Cardbox cannot every line of a field print in a separate row in a table, the relevant data + subscriber field is exported by the macro to a special "print" database, which contains the right layout for the slip. Every subscriber in one record - than it is possible by Cardbox to print a table with desired borders. The magazine title and number is also exported is placed in a field that is only used for the header of you slip. This data is erased after the print job.

In this way it is also easy to detect which subscriber is subscribed on what magazines (or whatever).

Simple, easy to develop and not as expensive as many programs which are offered for that goal.

Regards
Bert

Iuliana

20-May-2009 19:04

Lydia,
Technically, you may use Cardbox to automate any library function you wish, including developing an automated circulation system. However, you must first put on your librarian heat and decide the details and level of complexity of the circulation system that is practical and feasible for your particular situation , i.e. ask (and answer) questions such as:
-What are our policies re. borrowing publications: books only? – all books or a designated “circulation collection” only? journals and magazines? Technical report, other documents? – are we planning/ is it desirable to change existing policies with the automation of circulation?
-What kind of circulating system do currently use (honour based, check-out/in desk with library staff?) – do we want to keep it the same or do we want to change it (along with automating it)
-How large is the (circulating) collection and how many patrons do we have– does the current collection/patron population size warrant a more complex circulation system?
-How is our online catalogue structured? (one record per book title/edition, or one record per copy, when we have multiple copies of the same title? – is it feasible to revamp the entire existing catalogue so it could accommodate a complex circulation system?
-Are patrons recorded in a database and/or have library cards with/without barcode – if not – do we have the resources/is it feasible to create a patron database?
-Other ……

It is only practical to start thinking of the technical aspects of automation (and turn to this list's "teckies" for Cardbox-related help), after you have answered all the librarian questions and have made decisions about the circulation system structure and operation that is best for your lspecific situation.
I will be happy to help you with any library-related questions if you want to contact me off list at icar-consulting@rogers.com

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