Voyager 1202g wireless barcode scanner

[updated 2016.3.22, 2016.4.5]

So, we needed to replace our wireless bar code scanner since the irreplaceable (believe me, I checked!)  battery was going out.  Again.

Since we do inventory runs in short sessions of an hour or so (student workers availability permitting), we use up the battery recharges faster than many other owners, I suspect.  That’s meant replacing the entire unit.

Fortunately, the new model of this is the Honeywell Voyager 1202g.

1202g

Fairly stylish, actually.  Slimmer than the older model.

The base runs off a USB cord to charge.  On the front are two lights; the left is green and the right is red (so far).

The battery in this one is replaceable!  So the $200+ price isn’t as hard to eat, assuming the battery costs less than replacing the entire unit, as we did in the past.

 

While it claims to read bar codes right out of the box, for our purposes, some setup was needed.

The manual is online at our wiki: http://blstaff.pbworks.com/w/page/105499746/Voyager%201202g%20manual%20(local) if that’s of any use to anyone else.

For the Innovative Interfaces old text-based inventory, we need a prefix for each number of n: (lowercase letter n followed by a colon), but that’s possible to set using bar codes from the manual (which is NOT included, but available online as a PDF).

After that, we put it in Inventory Mode so it works out of the range of the base, and we set it to hold collected data until we tell it to upload.  It does not have to be in the base to upload, just in range.  Since we’re using it with the base plugged in, the Bluetooth capability is not required to send directly to the computer.

And we’re back in business.

New Development

So far, the charging function seems to have used up/burned out/something on my tech’s front USB ports (both of them).  The red light (connection) stays on, but the green charging light won’t work and the charging is not happening.  This took several weeks to happen, so it might be just pulling too much juice over time.

We tried a direct-to-outlet USB charger, and that won’t work at all.  Maybe it expects a computer connection or nothing.  Granted, her computer is several years old.

My computer is newer, and it worked there, but we wanted something on her desk.  She’s now plugged into a USB splitter, so perhaps that will last a while.  I finally found (hidden underneath the cradle) the AC power input, so I may get an additional power charger.

Further development

I got the charger but the adapter didn’t work.  I notified the company, and they came through quickly with a couple more possibles, one of which worked and we have been able to charge (steady green light).

I’ve notified the company as to which adapter worked.

 

 

 

 

008 and ILLiad

We use ILLiad here for Interlibrary Loan.  We’ve been getting requests for, among other things, the study guides for examinations.

Recently, a staff member brought back the information that the 008 field in the Checkin record could be used to block ILLiad from accepting an ILL request from other libraries.

So, I did a manual for how to do that.

The idea is that certain things that we want to show as “available” in our OPAC are still sufficiently heavily used that we don’t feel comfortable about lending them to other libraries.  We’re not being selfish, just making sure that at the times of year that certain examinations are given, for example, we haven’t loaned out all our how-to-take-this-exam books to other libraries when our own students come looking for them (these sessions tend to be sort of seasonal).

So, for these very few titles, we may set the 008 to not lend.  Other libraries needing these (or more copies of these than they own already) should — we’re hoping, if ILLiad operates as described — pass over us.

 

Star Micronics TSP650 printer

One of the more popular type of posts on this blog, I note by my stats, are those dealing with the practical use of printers.

So, let it be known that today I completed the manual and installation of a new printer at our primary Circulation workstation.

We’d been using a Star SP542 dot-matrix receipt printer, as at the time we needed to get one, we were hoping to eventually get permission to print money receipts for fines (instead of expensive 19th century receipt books).  State auditors insist on sequentially-numbered receipts (it’s a rule, period, no debate permitted, so no use telling me reasons not to do it).  Thermal printing doesn’t hold up over time, so we needed receipts that would last if we did them for fines, etc.

Frankly, we’ve found the dot matrix to have cleaning problems — lots of cut paper scraps get into the works, and you have to remove the ribbon, then remove a plate and vacuum it out weekly to keep it from jamming up.

Anyway, since the money receipt printing has fallen through (don’t ask), we don’t need long-term printing.  We switched to a Star TSP650 (aka 654 the cutter model) printer, which uses only thermal paper, no ribbon.

The manual is at http://libcat.uafortsmith.edu/screens/man_starTSP650printer.html and it covers the setup for use with Millennium Circulation.

Now, the printer driver either lets you do very short slips with no graphics, or — as we selected — 200mm long slips with a big logo at the top, that are actually easier for everyone to handle.  Also, if somebody sticks them in the book pocket, it makes them easy to fish out.

Using 8 point font for legibility means the last digit of the year is cut off on each line.  A smaller font becomes too hard to read.  The actual date is printed in full at the top just under the logo, anyway, so the year should be obvious.

Since it doesn’t completely cut (“partial cut” meaning one little bit in the middle is left, so one tug will free it), the paper doesn’t leave little scraps, which should avoid a lot of cleaning problems.  No ribbon.

The “receipt” selection (instead of 200mm length) just runs out paper forever, until you turn it off.  Since the 200mm works well for us, we’ll stick with that for the time being.

Updating the Programs page

[updated 2013.7.31]

This is not about “programming” (either computer or events) but the “programs” we have for degrees, and I’m using the term loosely.

History

Shortly after I arrived at the University, I was asked to list all the mathematics materials for an accreditation team study.  Simple enough, right?

Not really.  For one thing, a bibliographic record about a mathematical subject such as “algebra” may not have the word “mathematics” anywhere in it.  That meant that I had to think of every possible variation on that subject and hunt them down in order to make up the list: algebra, calculus, trignometry, arithmetic….  and that obviously wasn’t going to be the last time I had this kind of request for this and other subject areas.

And some records fit in multiple places, which was part of the problem, since I needed to be able to pull up something regardless of other connections, or where it was in the regular call number classification (for those who wondered why I didn’t just use call number ranges).  Example: some psychology books are also in literature, some mythology books are in literature and anthropology, materials can be about politics and history, and so on … the call number may be one place but the materials are not so limited.

I needed a way to tie all the possible bibliographic records together for a given subject under some kind of searchable heading, and be able to assign multiple headings for any bibliographic record.

I started out with the organization of what was then Westark Community College and grouped everything by Department and Division.   That meant I could search Division: Humanities and even Dept.: Art and get what was needed.  It had to do it very exactly and rigidly, but it worked with what I had at the time.

And the Fates smiled, and whispered, Oh no you don’t.

We entered a period of successive reorganizations that carried all the way up to the name of the institution, and continues to the present day.

Every time things got revised, I had to redo the entire list to try to conform to the new arrangements.  Divisions and Departments evolved into Programs, and then I had to make exceptions since some subjects had specific classes but did not lead, in themselves, to a degree.

I had to split subjects down (nursing had to be split into certain specialties such as Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) and Technical Certificate Nursing (LPN for Licenced Practical Nursing — right, the letters don’t even match up but I’m asked for LPN more than TCN)).

English was split into Literature and writing, which became Rhetoric (which actually covers writing and speech, but Speech was yet another program).  Then Literature grew so large that I needed to split it down into a general category, English literature (oops, confusing, better make that British literature, but not including Welsh, Irish or Scottish), American lit, and everything else in World lit.

I arranged with our first automation vendor to use the 690 field in the bibliographic record for this purpose specifically, and to be able to index and search it alone for the exact phrases (example: PROGRAM: AUTO (TECHNOLOGY) for the Automotive programs in the Technology Division).

When we changed vendors to Innovative Interfaces, we moved the 690s over into the new catalog as well, and indexed them both in a special index (coded letter ‘e’) as well as the regular subjects index (coded letter ‘d’).

Finally, once we got web pages, I created a Programs page with live links that ran my pre-set searches in the 690s fields in the catalog.  Immediate, up-to-date listings of everything in a program area.  Perfect.

Until I realized that any search over 1,000 records stopped there, and some of our Programs had several thousand records.

And the next reorganization.

Current coding

By now, nobody was asking for materials grouped by divisions or colleges or whatever.  They just wanted specific programs/subjects.  So, I could eliminate the larger groupings except on the page itself (just in case I or anyone else needed a reference point for them).

At this time (December of ought-eight) the catalog and the web site disagree – the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics is on the web site but not in the catalog (which went to press months ago for spring 2008 publication).  I had to be sure to resolve things like that.

I found that keeping words separate in the 690s meant that they were treated as regular words, so “history” might turn up every form of history and “art history” in the same search.  I needed to find a way to keep the headings unique so they would only be searchable if the user meant to search just for that.  Since I had the Programs page now in the more visible yellow Quick Links menu in the catalog, I felt that most people — including staff — would tend to just go to the Programs page and click on the pre-set search links there rather than try to remember how to construct a Programs search anyway.

Now, I needed to create a keywords search (since those don’t have the 1,000 record limit) since those would also give a result that users could limit using the Modify Search function to just, say, ebooks or DVDs, or by date range to the materials in the last 5 years, or whatever was needed.

That meant I needed unique words that would not turn up in a routine keywords search.  Readability would be sacrified to some extent.

I combined all the PROGRAM words with the following term.  PROGRAM: AUTO (TECHNOLOGY) became just PROGRAMAUTO, which the computer treats as a unique word of 11 characters.  That’s not something that is normally going to be searched and turn up by accident.  It’s harder to read and predict, but I had everything listed on the Programs page and by the more readable phrases.

Naturally, it still isn’t perfect.  I have compromises such as Art, which gets:

Well, I didn’t want to have to type PROGRAMARTARCHITECTURALANDDECOR all the time, so it’s abbreviated, as are some of the others.

The same thing happens for our programs for teachers:

and so on.  The ED after PROGRAM stands for EDucation, followed by a specific type of teaching such as teaching Chemistry.

Literature is a general heading but also a regionally specific one, as mentioned above, and gets abbreviated:

History was the same, but I stayed with US instead of American, since that same distinction is made in LC subject headings: PROGRAMHISTUS (from Program HISTory United States).

We don’t have a Geology program specifically, but we do have classes in Geology and a course code for them, so I have a listing for that.

I cheated a little on a few items.  For example, I didn’t want a PROGRAMCRIME in any form (we don’t need any jokes about that!), so I used the second words: Justice, Investigation, and so on.  This was also more exact as we expanded the courses.

In a few cases, we needed to divide out specifics: specific diseases and conditions for HEalth (PROGRAMHESPECIFIC), and specific businesses and industries for BUsiness (PROGRAMBUSPECIFIC).  Also, HEalth has materials which are not really for professionals, so those became PROGRAMHEPOPULAR.

We have some odd items, such as the career/employment/testing/scholarships stuff, which go into PROGRAMCAREER.

The two ROTC programs are Air Force PROGRAMAIRFORCE (which also gets anything on flight and flying) and Army, and since some general military works tend show up, Army became PROGRAMMILITARY instead and handles the Army plus catch-all.

Everything that covers multiple disciplines across colleges (general search engines, for example) is interdisciplinary and PROGRAMINTER (well, you type “Interdisciplinary” umpteen times and see how many times you need to retype it…).

Anything left is PROGRAMOTHERS, which covers nonfiction not specifically related to our programs.

GRANTS is not a program, so the prefix is omitted but the 690 tracing is present to group those.

Fiction, juvenile fiction and juvenile nonfiction are not given 690s at this time.  We have the juvenile material for teachers in training to read, but I didn’t want to mix that with the adult nonfiction for their area.

Next, I need to redo the staff wiki a bit to cover the revisions in doing Create Lists.

Now, if nobody reorganizes anything before January 2009, I should be set.

And the Fates smiled….

[update 2013.7.31]

I’ll add an example: Learning disabilities and mental health : a nursing perspective

Now, does that go in the Special Education classification, the Psychology classification, or the Nursing area?  No matter where I put it, 2 out of 3 faculty members will be unhappy.

But the PROGRAMs method lets me add 690s for all of those areas to the same record.  And, I can count it on 3 different lists for accreditation teams, for the same amount of money spent, so the Administration is happy too.

 

Zebra TLP2844 printer manual is up

The manual for our new Zebra TLP2844 thermal transfer printer is up.

We needed a one-up label printer for our serials, that could also print the routing list as part of the process.

The TLP2844 is a thermal transfer printer, which means that instead of using thermally -sensitive labels (which fade over a short time, we’ve found to our dismay), the TLP2844 uses a thermal process to tranfer ink from a ribbon to the plain label. This should last for years.

For books, you can get spine/pocket label combinations, and those can be printed with a more durable resin ribbon.

For the serials, however, I went a little cheaper and got paper labels, and printed on them with a wax ribbon directly from the Innovative Interfaces Millennium Serials module. The setup info for all that is on the manual page. These will work for in-house circulation until we bind the serial.

Unfortunately, MilSer does not recognize the particular size of label (3×2) we use from the Zebra, so I have to tell it that we’re using 4×4 labels instead of 3×2, and the spacing is a bit wonky after the serials label prints if we have a routing list. If there is no routing list, the next label comes out blank. Still, it does the job, quickly and neatly.  We stick on the serial label, and staple the routing list labels (still on the backing) and pull them off later after routing is completed.

We had been using a standard dot matrix printer (remember those?) but had a continuing problem with the label feed. I insisted they “waste” the first label, leaving it blank, and feed it through into the guide bar so the remaining labels would go through properly. Often somebody decided to “save” that label (and avoid the extra task of detaching it) by not feeding it into the guide bar, so when the printed label came out, it jammed in the guide bar.  Then they took the guide bar off the printer to avoid that, and so the labels kept jamming because they didn’t feed properly through the ribbon guide without the guide bar holding them flat against the platen.  On top of that, they had to feed out the printed label, and doing that by using the platen knob on the side stripped the gears (because people forgot to disengage the gears first) and made it even harder for labels to go through properly.

They needed a “black box” kind of printer that didn’t need any adjustments (or have removable parts).  The standard dot matrix printers were designed for batches, not one-at-a-time labels, but that increased the chance of mismatching labels to issues.

I’m hoping that the new customizing of III’s labels in Release 2007 (due out RSN: Real Soon Now) will allow me to print a barcode on the labels. We use a barcode for counting circulation of a serial within the library, but right now, with no barcode on the issues, we have to go to a rolodex full of cards with the barcodes for each serial title.

While I created a barcoded label using our Wasp Barcode Labeler software, which pulled the right title and barcode for it from an Excel file, it’s an extra step and shifting back and forth between softwares, and it was decided not to do it.

Wasp will let me do book labels (I got a roll of spine/pocket labels and tested), and once I see how the new Release 2007 (or the next version) allows me to customize, we might see about getting another Zebra for Tech Services. I’m also looking at the option to print book bands for ILL.

Star SP542 printers and our manual

[updated 4/19/2008 — see below]

I’ve put up a page for our new Star Micronics SP542 printers that have been added to the two circulation workstations. Software settings for Millennium, for the printer software, for Windows printer settings, and so on.
We have finally retired the old Gaylord Model C card chompers, may they rest in well-deserved peace. I’ve trained a lot of people on them (here and at my previous job/library) and they were great in their time, but I’m not sad to see them go now. I’m not nostalgic about no longer hearing that loud noise they make when they jam, either….

With some parameter setting, I’ve gotten the Stars to print out a list of everything each patron checks out on our Innovative Interfaces Inc. ‘Millennium’ system, when the checkout is completed as a date due slip. We elected to do everything on one slip, rather than one item per printout. The Fort Smith Public Library does it the same way, and it saves paper. The function is built into the Millennium software, plus setting up things in the printer software and Windows.

I also experimented with using it to print out receipts for payment of fines, etc. We are required to use something with sequentially numbered receipts, which has restricted us to handwriting in multi-carbon receipt books up to now. I found trial software which will allow us to print out everything we should need, AND sequentially number it automatically, but we still need to get the arrangement approved formally before we license the software and proceed, if that happens. It is possible to do it, however. The software has no connection to our Millennium system (since Millennium doesn’t have the sequential numbering as of Release 2006) but it’s not too hard to type in the info, scan in the barcode of the patron, and print enough copies automatically. One copy for the patron, one for us, one for the accountants. All originals, since it’s cheaper to print multiple copies for the occasional receipt, than to use multi-copy paper all the time for date due slips.

The possibility of using the printers for receipts, which need to last a long time, is why we went with the SP542s rather than a thermal printer. Our experiences with thermal printers is that, without a ribbon, the thermal print fades over time. We can’t have that happen with financial records if we want to get approval for this system. The SP542s are dot matrix printers using ribbons.

[update 4/19/2008]

We’ve had some trouble with both of these printers after several months use.  I think I’ve narrowed down the problem, however.

They have a design flaw regarding how difficult it is to clean them.

The standard paper rolls (same ones used in calculators) used in these always has the possibility of trim fragments coming off, and the cutter action tends to create a lot more.  All these bits and pieces go down inside, and eventually jam or trip a sensor and the printer signals Windows that it’s “busy”.  Windows, of course, refuses to forget that message and won’t print until you fix the printer and reboot the computer.

So, I turned off the bidirectional capability, and opened up the older printer, shook it out, picked out pieces, vacuumed it (carefully!) and put it back in use.  Still not working.

When I open the printer, I can flip up the cutter mechanism, and remove the ribbon.  Under that is a plate, held down by one tiny (about #4) sheet metal screw, and some places where it snaps in.  I finally opened that up (last thing before sending it back to the vendor), carefully removing the little spindle that turns the ribbon, which is held in place by it, and lo — LOTS of fragments still inside.  So, cleaned those out, replaced the spindle, and the plate, and all, and got it back in action.  The older one still slowly blinks red — which seems to indicate it hasn’t reset after replacing the paper roll, according to the manual — but it’s printing again.  I’d about given up on it.  The newer one also needed cleaning, but it’s red light is now off and it’s behaving itself.  So far.

I call this a design flaw because it is not simple to remove this plate — it’s rather awkward, and takes a little maneuvering, but it comes out — and it will need to be done every month or so from now on.  Remember the little drawer in the old Gaylord book chargers, that you just yanked out and dumped?  Well, that’s the single thing about those that should have been copied by Star.  At least, they should have made it easier to get into the areas you need to clean.  Not a fatal flaw, but one that should have been addressed in the design, IMHO (In My Humble Opinion).

So far, I’d still recommend these, but I’d warn buyers that they’ll have to do regular cleaning like this.