Re: Barcoding backfiles Mike Bell 05 May 2009 21:22 UTC


We have been doing this for the past several months.  The others have it
right.  Laptop, scanner, barcodes.  It has been a fairly easy process
for us, merely attaching item records to existing bib records.  We have
four staff members spending an hour a day on this project.  And when
it's a clean, current run, it's easy and you can plug through 50 or so
items in an hour.  (I spent time setting up procedures and timing the
process)  If you are dealing with older materials (19th and early 20th
century titles) it is messier and slower.  Depends on how much
information you want to plug into the item record.  Volumes? Years?
Parts?  Seasons?  Also depends on how difficult it is to wrestle large
volumes down from top shelves.  Any way you cut it, it's a time-sink.

My staff would encourage you (only half-jokingly) to not begin the
project, but it has proven to be a valuable exercise in terms of
inventory control and OPAC clean-up.

Hope this helps.  Good luck.


W. Michael Bell
Assistant Dean and Head, Materials Processing
Lupton Library
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

-----Original Message-----
From: SERIALST: Serials in Libraries Discussion Forum
[] On Behalf Of Sarah D. Tusa
Sent: Monday, May 04, 2009 4:24 PM
Subject: [SERIALST] Barcoding backfiles


Has anyone barcoded their library's bound periodicals retroactively?  If
so, could you please share some of the basic logistics of man/student
hours used and on average how many volumes per week (or day) you were
able to complete?

Our cataloger is thinking of getting a laptop set up for this purpose,
and currently has one 20-hour-per-week student to dedicate to the
project, but we have at least 126,000 bound periodical volumes to be

Thanks for any experience or insight!

Sarah Tusa, Associate Professor

Coordinator of Collection Development & Acquisitions

Mary & John Gray Library, Lamar University

PO Box 10021

Beaumont, TX  77710-0021

Ph:   409/880-8125

Fax: 409/880-8225