ASSOCIATES (vol. 5, no. 1, July 1998) -


Gerald A. Hernandez
Serials Copy Cataloger/Processor
Trinity University Coates Library


In 1995, I was given the responsibility of barcoding all the bound periodicals in the library at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. Trinity's collection includes 709,000 volumes and approximately 127,500 bound periodical volumes. Knowing that the challenge was enormous, I could not envision loading and moving one book truck after another to my work area for barcode processing. Thus was born the idea of photocopying the barcodes and working with them in the stacks. This idea proved to be a lifesaver. It had the added advantage of keeping all of the volumes in the stacks readily accessible for the students and faculty of the university. Seven student workers were hired to barcode, of whom two were assigned data entry, i.e., creating item records for all bound volumes in our automated system, NOTIS which we installed in 1991.

This procedure is designed for barcoding a classified collection of bound periodicals. Briefly put, we take sheets of barcodes and photocopies of those sheets to the stacks. Guided by a printout of periodical titles in call number order, we apply a barcode to each bound volume, then jot down the designation for that volume next to the photocopy of that particular barcode. Finally, back at the terminal, we create item records based on the photocopies of the barcodes and their corresponding designations.

Here are the detailed procedures, step by step:


Since the bound volumes are never brought from the stacks to the terminal for item record creation, we write the volume designations on photocopied sheets of the original barcodes. Later, back at the terminal, these sheets provide the volume information required for item record creation.

To photocopy your barcodes, figure out how many barcodes will fit between the left and right margins of an 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of paper. (If you use duplicate barcodes, be sure not to separate a pair of barcodes between two columns or two sheets.) Photocopy this configuration. You may need to use an enlarged setting in order to allow your scanner to read the photocopied barcodes later. We find that for our particular barcodes, 130% enlargements scan well. Keep the sheet of barcodes and its corresponding photocopy together as you go along. When you have photocopied 1,000 or so barcodes, begin to prepare them for use. You may cut the photocopied sheet in half vertically if you have two columns of barcodes per sheet. Either way, to avoid separating a sheet of barcodes from its corresponding photocopy, dab one corner of the sheet of barcodes with a glue stick and affix it to its matching photocopy.


Obtain an automated report of periodical titles by call number. (My assistant director for technical services wrote a SAS program to extract the titles from NOTIS and then used FOXPRO(tm) to print the report. In your library, it may be the systems librarian or the serials librarian who can prepare this list for you.) This list should appear in call number order and should include the title and the volume holdings statement. The pages of the report should be numbered. We also find it helpful to include each title's unique system record number. If your collection is small, you may want to request a list of all your periodical titles at once. If you have a large collection, you may prefer to work with a partial list that covers titles from a certain call number range only.


Durable plastic folders of the same size as standard manila office folders work best for this step. You will also need some sort of holding rack or filing system to separate the folders and keep them in order. >From a library storage room, I rescued an old wire record album rack with 20 sections--perfect for keeping folders upright and in place. Affix a label to each section of the rack so the labels are clearly visible. Place the first page from your title printout in a folder, then place that folder in the first section of your rack (or whatever filing device you choose). Write "1" on the first section label to correspond to the page number in the folder. Place the second page from your title printout in a second folder, put that folder in the next section, and mark it "2," and so on until your rack is filled with folders. Numbering the folders helps me track the student workers and their progress.


When student workers remove a folder from the rack, they write their initials on the section label affixed to the rack. Along with the folder, they take several pencils and a large number of sheets of barcodes (originals and photocopies) and head for the stacks. Their folder shows them what call number, title and volume to begin with. After locating the title, and before applying barcodes, they verify that the title on the shelf matches the first title on the page. They will barcode only those titles and volumes printed on that page and no others. A fellow worker may end up barcoding earlier or later titles on previous or subsequent pages.

The student worker will:

A) take a sheet of barcodes and write in the call number and system record number above the first barcode on the photocopied sheet;

B) pull the volume from the shelf and affix the barcode (or both barcodes, if duplicate barcodes are needed) to the appropriate place on the volume;

C) write all the volume information (numeric/chronological designation) on the photocopy next to the barcode that corresponds to the one you have just placed on the volume;

D) check the volume holdings as he or she barcodes. For every volume that is not on shelf (NOS), write the supposed designation and "NOS" next to the photocopied barcode. Leave the unused barcode for the missing volume on the sheet for later use when the missing volume appears;

E) on the printout sheet, jot down any volumes that have been already barcoded prior to the barcoding project and include an "ABC" for "already barcoded," e.g., "v. 1-25 (1975-1998) ABC";

F) not barcode loose incomplete velo-bound issues;

G) after fully processing a title from the printout, continue with the next title, following steps A through G, but beginning with the very next available barcode.

NOTE: When the worker completes a folder, he or she returns it to the rack and highlights his or her initials. This informs the terminal operators that that folder has been completed and that they may begin inputting the information. STEP 5: ITEM RECORD CREATION

The terminal operator removes a completed folder from the rack and writes his or her initials next to the barcoder's initials. This procedure allows the supervisor to trace problems back to the terminal operator.

The operator creates an item record for each binding unit, using the numeric/chronological designation that the barcoder has provided on the photocopied sheets of barcodes. If a particular binding unit is marked NOS ("not on shelf"), you may want to consider some means of flagging the record in order to conduct a search for the missing item.

The terminal operator views all of the item records that have been created for a particular title to make sure that the items are in numerical or chronological order. Finally, he or she notes that the title has been barcoded. (You may use a stamp with the text, "Complete," "Barcoded," "Posted," for example.)

When all the titles in a single folder have been processed, the terminal operator puts the folder back in its own section in the holding rack and notes on that section's numbered label, "Complete," or whatever term is being used.

Periodically, I like to make random checks on the completed folders to ensure that the students' work is accurate. CONCLUSION

As of May 1998, we have barcoded approximately 85% of the bound periodicals and expect to finish the project in December 1998. These procedures have worked very well for us. If you have any questions about this article, please contact me via e-mail.

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