If you’re new to Bookland, especially if you’ve never worked in a bookshop or library, the whole business of cataloging books might seem a bit daunting. If you’re a small library, why don’t we just put it on the shelf and rely on people’s honesty? (Oh, bless you).
There’s a number of ways of recording what you’ve got on the shelf, what you’ve lent to readers and what’s due back (and unfortunately, what’s been lost as part of a ‘five-finger discount‘). If people are asking for something that you’re sure is on the shelf but can’t find it…
Learning what MARC is can be daunting if you’re not a librarian but most book cataloging systems will accept ISBNs (and let’s be honest, if it’s good enough for a bookshop then it’s going to be good enough for a small library with less than 10 thousand books). Assuming that you’ve decided to do what bookshops do – and why wouldn’t you? The ISBN’s not only on the inside of the title page (usually) but has a nice, handy barcode printed on the back – then you’ve only got to decide which catalog system to use (we’re using TinyCat).
Decision made, your next step is to upload all your ISBNs into your database. But wait? Some of the books have 10-digit codes and other have 13… If this happens, it’s because some generous old soul (or maybe your until-recently-local-authority-managed-library) has given you a book that was printed before 2005. Ah.
Now Andrew is no expert Excel spreadsheet programmer (in fact, he doesn’t use that Microsoft stuff) but he has produced an ISBN-13 Batch Converter. Rather than type your 10-digit ISBNs one-by-one into this helpful web-page, you can simply enter them in bulk into a spreadsheet you can get from us by going to the Contact Form and telling us who you are. The spreadsheet is free to use and includes notes on how it works. We’d put the spreadsheet online but then it might pick up malware and you don’t want that.
Additionally, some of the books may not have barcodes you can scan, in which case, go to these nice people and select ‘ISBN’ from the drop-down menu at the top left.
Last, if you’re not using a barcode scanner then it’s time you joined the 21st century and assuming that you’re using a computer with a USB port, we’re using something like this (not that we want to promote sales through this company but alternatives are available).