The Benefits of a Collaborative Effort: Conducting an Inventory of the Collection

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The Benefits of a Collaborative Effort: Conducting an Inventory of the Collection

Post comments regarding this morning breakout session presented by Debbie Pluss, Mark Sandford, and Kurt Wagner (WPUNJ).


One Response to “The Benefits of a Collaborative Effort: Conducting an Inventory of the Collection”

  1. mmarks Says:

    The presenters began with a list of challenges and benefits of conducting an inventory. The main benefit is, of course, accuracy of library holdings. But, more importantly, this accuracy results in the efficient use of staff time. No more searching the shelves for items that the system says are “on shelf” – only to find that they are really missing.

    The collaborative effort started with the IS department within the library. They downloaded and tweaked an inventory system created by Eastern Illinois University Library called “Library Stacks Management System”. As written, this system is compatible with ExLibris’ Voyager system. It should be possible to customize this open source code to work with other ILS systems. I assume Kurt Wagner could point you in the right direction here.

    Download the code at

    Over the summer of 2008, all staff – from student workers, up to the library director – participated in the inventory. A laptop and scanner were taken through the stacks where each book was scanned. The project is still underway. Daily reports were run by the cataloging area to track any issues in real time.

    One of the benefits of the system is that item problems can be corrected right away, rather than months after they are found (as is the case with other inventory processes). Staff found the system very easy to use (even a caveman could do it??). Since Voyager does not have its own inventory module, this open source code proved to be extremely useful. It not only found cataloging/status issues, but through the use of reports, trends could be spotted that illustrated workflow issues.

    A very informative session. It left me thinking that I could go back to my own library and implement it easily. Nice job.

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