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What is the batch inventory process?
KBA-01356-V0B3
Question
What is the batch inventory process?
Answer

The following equipment is needed for the batch inventory process:

Barcode scanner

Computer – either a laptop computer, or a desktop computer on a cart with a long extension cord

Text editor software such as Microsoft Notepad

A separate computer with the Aleph client, an Internet connection, and a web browser

 

Step 1: Define an Inventory Range

The first step in performing an inventory is defining the range of items that will be inventoried. This is usually a sequence of shelves in a particular collection. A range should include no more than 400-500 items or the amount of items that can be inventoried by a staff person in a day. When an inventory range is defined, Aleph will assign a report number for each item in the range. This report number will be used throughout the inventory process.

To define an inventory range

  1. Open the Circulation or Cataloging module. On the Services menu, point to Items, and then click Inventory Definition (item-01). The Inventory Definition form will appear.

 

  1. Complete the following fields:
  • Output File: Enter a file name, using only lower case letters. To distinguish inventory definition files from other files, it may be helpful to use a particular prefix, such as “def,” the collection name, and the first part of the call number that begins the range (e.g., def_circ_f216 or def_ref_m82).
  • From Call Number: Enter the complete call number of the first item in the range, including appropriate spaces.
  • To Call Number: Enter the complete call number of the last item in the range, including appropriate spaces.
  • Call No. Type: Select the classification scheme used for the collection.
  • First/Second Call Number: Select First Call No.
  • Sublibrary: Select the appropriate sublibrary.
  • Collection: (Mandatory) Enter the code of the collection that is being inventoried (e.g., CIRC, REF, AV).
  • Item Status: Select Include the following item statuses.
  • Item Status: Select the check box labeled All.
  • Item Process Status: Select Include the following item process statuses.
  • Item Process Status: Select the check box labeled All.
  • Material Type: Select Include the following material types.
  • Material Type: Select the check box labeled All.
  • Inventory Definition Report Format: Leave the default setting, 00, selected.
  1. Click Submit to begin the process. A copy of the Inventory Definition form will be stored in the Services History.
  2. Retrieve and print the report from the Task Manager. An example is shown below. 

 

This report shows that all items in the range have been given a specific Shelf Report Number. If any items in the range have a pre-existing shelf report number, Aleph will overwrite the number and assign the number shown on the report.

 

Step 2: Scan Item Barcodes to a File

To create an inventory file, item barcodes will need to be scanned in shelf order, one at a time. If using a laptop or other portable device, be sure the battery is fully charged before you begin. Determine a range of items to be inventoried and open a text editor such as Microsoft Notepad.

Note: You may want to create and save all files to an “Inventory” folder on the computer’s hard drive so that all inventory files are in a convenient location for storing and uploading.

To create an inventory file

  1. Make a note of the call number of the first item to be scanned. This number will be used to create the file name and generate the inventory report.
  2. Begin scanning item barcodes. Observe the process to ensure that only one barcode is recorded per line. Make corrections with the keyboard as necessary
  3. After scanning several items, save the file. The file name must be lowercase and cannot contain special characters or spaces; use the underscore key to separate elements in the file name. The file must be saved as a text (.txt) file (e.g., inv_ps3560.txt, inv_ref1.txt).

Note: Save the file frequently and make sure that each barcode scanned correctly. Occasionally, a barcode may drop one digit and the item will need to be scanned again.

Note: Monitor laptop batter charge to ensure that adequate power is available at all times. When battery power is low, stop scanning and upload the file. Recharge the laptop in preparation for the next session.

 


 

Step 3: Upload the Inventory File for Processing

Inventory files should be uploaded for processing using the Upload/Download files feature in the Task Manager Tab of the Aleph client.

To upload an inventory file

  1. Open the Circulation or Cataloging module. Click on the Task Manager tab and then choose [F] Upload/Download files from the left menu. The Upload/Download Files window should appear.
  2. In the Remote Files section (the left-side of the window), make sure to set the Library setting to your library’s XXX50 directory (e.g., BEC50, ECC50, etc.). Also make sure that the Directory is set to Scratch.
  3. In the Local Files section (the right side of the window), click the Browse button and using the pop-up window, find the directory (folder) where the inventory file is located.
  4. Highlight the file name you want to upload on the right and then click on the right arrow between the boxes to copy the file to the Scratch directory on the server.

The file should now display on the Remote Files section.

 

Step 4: Marking Item Records for Inventory

Once the file has been uploaded to the Aleph server, the next step is to prompt the system to compare the item barcodes in the file to the items that were defined in Step 1. To do this, the Inventory Marking Report (item-08) should be run.

To mark item records for inventory 

  1. Open the Circulation or Cataloging module. On the Services menu, point to Items, and then click Inventory Marking (item-08). The Inventory Marking form will appear.

 

  1. Complete the following fields:
  • Input File: Enter the name of the file uploaded in Step 3, using only lower case letters.
  • Shelf Report Number: Enter the Shelf Report number defined in Step 1.
  • Produce Errors Report: Select Yes.
  • Report File: Enter a name for the Errors Report file. It may be helpful to use a file name that is similar to the input file name (e.g., errors_tccta_f210b).
  • Missing/Lost Item Processing Status: Select the check box labeled All.
  • Detect Errors: Select each check box.
  • Errors Report Format: Leave the default setting, 00, selected.
  1. Click Submit to begin the process. A copy of the Inventory Marking form will be stored in the Services History.
  2. Retrieve the report from the Task Manager. An example is shown below.

 

This report lists all items that were not in the correct order or do not belong in the range of the defined inventory. For instance, in the example above, the first six items on the report were misshelved or scanned out of order. The report lists where the item should be placed. The last item on the report shows an item that did not belong in the range of items designated in the inventory definition.

 

Step 5: Produce a List of Missing Items

The last step in the batch inventory process is compiling a list of items that were not scanned to the file, but that the system shows as on the shelf. To produce this list, the Inventory Summary Report (item-09) should be run.

To produce a list of missing items

  1. Open the Circulation or Cataloging module. On the Services menu, point to Items, and then click Inventory Summary (item-09). The Inventory Summary form will appear.
  2. Complete the following fields:
  • Shelf Report Number: Enter the number of the Shelf Report that was defined in Step 1.
  • Report File: Enter a name for the report file, using only lower case letters. It may be helpful to use a name similar to the input file name (e.g., missing_tccta_f216a).
  • Barcode Output File: Leave this field blank.
  • Missing/Lost Item Processing Statuses: To ignore all items with any item process status, do not select any of the boxes. (This is preferred.) Or, select a check box for each item process status that should be treated as a missing item.
  • Update Database: To change the item process status for all items that appear on the report, select Yes. Otherwise, select No.
  • If updating, change to process status: If Yes is selected for the Update Database field, select an item process status that will be used to mark the items. For instance, if you want the system to change all items on the report to have an item process status of “Missing,” then select Yes in the Update Database field and then change this setting to “Missing.” This can be useful later in the inventory process.
  • Sort Report By: Select Call Number.
  • Report Format: Leave the default setting, 00, selected.
  1. Click Submit to begin the process. A copy of the Inventory Marking form will be stored in the Services History.
  2. Retrieve the report from the Task Manager. An example is shown below.

 

This report lists all items that were not found in the inventory of that particular shelf report. Excluded from the list are items that have been checked out or that have an item process status that wasn’t specifically identified in the form used to produce this report. Typically, libraries will want to treat these items as “Missing.”

 

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